Roku Update Introduces AI Motion Smoothing

Roku TV owners have faced several recent frustrations due to software updates. First, an arbitration-demanding terms of service update locked TVs until users agreed or mailed a letter. Additionally, Roku plans to introduce ads to the home screen. The latest issue affects TCL HDTVs with Roku OS 13, where “motion smoothing” is being activated without user consent and cannot be turned off.

“Motion smoothing,” also known as “Action Smoothing” by Roku, uses Motion Estimation Motion Compensation (MEMC) to artificially increase the frame rate of video, making fast-moving content appear smoother. While this feature can improve the fluidity of sports and action scenes, it makes films and shows look unnaturally realistic, akin to a soap opera. This effect, often undesirable for traditional content, has historically been difficult to disable, leading to widespread annoyance.

Users report that their TVs either never had this feature before or now lack the option to turn it off in both general and specific settings. This has prompted numerous complaints on Roku’s community forums and Reddit. Roku has yet to respond to the issue, and it remains unclear when a fix will be available. Typically, the motion smoothing setting can be found in the “Expert Settings” or by enabling “Movie” mode in the quick settings when it becomes available again.