Getting 24p/5:5 Pulldown from DVD, Netflix, and Cable on your 120Hz or 240Hz TV

One of the nice things about Bluray is that it can output 24p to modern TV’s, resulting in a cinema like playback without the annoying 3:2 “Judder” long associated with playing back movies on standard TV’s.

But, there aren’t many BD discs out there compared to DVD.  Can we get this smooth playback from DVD and other sources like Netflix?

The answer is Yes — and you don’t need to buy any new player hardware to do it – to learn how keep reading!.

We’re all aware of telecine judder — the jerkiness of motion when playing back fim based sources on 60Hz TV’s.

It makes smooth pans look decidedly not smooth, and it negatively affects motion in all movies — since to play back 24 frames per second (movie frame rate) on traditional TV’s (60Hz), traditionally they use a 3:2 pulldown.

Odd frames play back for 1.5x as long as even frames… Meaning that the apparent  motion speeds up and slows down many times per second, making pans look jerky and action sequences seem “juddery”.

Modern TVs can solve this issue.

Since 120Hz is a multiple of 24, as well as 60, 120hz TVs CAN playback film based material at 24 frames per second without the annoying speed up and slow down of traditional 3:2 pulldown.

There are two ways to do this:

One way is to feed it a 24P signal directly, from BD or from the few combo players that can output 24P from DVD (like the Oppo player).

Another way is already built in to your TV, but requires a bit of unconventional thinking.

Ultimately, the way to get your TV to decode the 3:2 pulldown and correctly play it back at 24P is to feed it an Interlaced, and NOT a progressive signal.

For instance, if you set your DVD player to output, say, 1080i, instead of 720p or 1080p or 480P, then, a “Film Mode” will show up on your TV settings that probably doesn’t appear when it’s receiving a progressive signal.  It’s called “Film Mode” on my TV, but it could be called something else on yours.

When Film Mode is set properly (Auto 1 on my TV), the TV *will* decode the 3:2 pulldown back to its normal 24 frames per second, with no telecine judder.

However it will only do this on INTERLACED (not Progressive) signals. This is counterintuitive, but makes sense for various technical reasons which I will ignore for now.

So, if you want smooth film like playback, you must set your device (Xbox, DVD player, etc) to output an Interlaced signal. You can change it back for playing games etc.

But, some of you videophiles might be asking, “if I feed my TV an Interlaced signal, won’t I get jaggies, shark teeth, and other interlaced artifacts on my progressive scan LCD? I thought the whole point was to send it progressive all the time!”

And that is why I said it’s counterintuitive.  Yes, in the old days it was important to feed it a progressive signal, and it still is to a certain extent (eg, on video game consoles when used during gaming), but the reality is that modern HDTV’s built in deinterlacing is usually as good as or better than the deinterlacing done on your DVD player.

It has to be — because most broadcasts that are in HD are in 1080i, which is interlaced.

And, in most modern TVs, the same “circuit” used for deinterlacing is used for recovering the 24P signal from DVD, etc, sources. Therefore if you don’t let the TV do the deinterlacing, and instead send it a progressive signal, it won’t find and sync to the film based frame rate, because it won’t even be looking for it.

Therefore counterintuitively, you MUST send it an interlaced signal, for most TV’s to deal with it properly.

But what if you want Interlaced for DVD and 24P for BD?

No problem there either — on my BD player, a BDP-1600 which is a very common player, if I set the player output to 1080i, and enable “24p output” on the same setup screen, it will output 1080i for DVDs, and 24P for BluRay– making it simply perfect. Just slap in a disk and it will be in 24p for BD, 1080i for DVD, and everything that was film based will appear with no pulldown judder.

Give it a try and let me know your thoughts! Feel free to post setup tips for other hardware (Sony etc)… as well!

With these settings, smooth pans will look like smooth pans, scrolling credits will stop jerking around, and action movies, especially ones with complex camera shots, will look the way they were intended.

Note that these settings are independent of “Auto Motion Plus” and other frame interpolation technologies.  AMP etc smooth out the picture by adding additional (new) frames between the old ones.  However they go well together; if you use the settings suggested above, then AMP will add new frames but keep the proper timing. Without the above settings, AMP will add new frames, but there will still be the old telecine judder, but a smoother version of it.

With the above settings you’ll have accurate timing whether you choose to add new frames with frame interpolation or not (AMP et al).

Note that if you are watching a Video source, such as a Music DVD, or normal TV show (keep in mind that some HD TV shows like “Lost” actually are shot with cinema frame timings!), you may want to disengage the Film Mode on your TV if it adversely affects the picture/timings and re-engage it when watching Film based material.

Finally — smooth pans from DVD — what’s not to love about that?

This is especially great for movies which are not out on BD, such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc, and works great with services like Netflix.

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About Jordan Bortz

C#, WPF, Android, Architect, Developer, Consultant, Project Manager available for remote/telecommute assignments
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6 Responses to Getting 24p/5:5 Pulldown from DVD, Netflix, and Cable on your 120Hz or 240Hz TV

  1. Matt says:

    Just wanted to thank you for posting this! I happened to find this page on a google search because I was trying to figure out how to eliminate judder from netflix streaming on my ps3 and this seems to have fixed the issue!

    • gabby marie says:

      Matt, what did you change in the PS3 settings to accomplish the fix? I have serious eye strain from streaming through Netflix using my PS3.
      Thanks!
      Gabby

  2. Derek Kent says:

    hey there Jordan
    What a fantastic article you wrote. I’m so glad when people share best practices..
    I have a setup consisting of a mac pro driving all my media, and a samsung 55″ LED (UN55C6300 in case you’re interested)

    I switched to this method some time ago because as I’m sure you agree, it’s all about consolidating load to the display.
    Some content is 24, some 25, some 60, etc etc etc (all my media is kept on a raid and varies among NTSC and PAL formats)
    outputting 1080i and letting the TV do it’s thing has worked wonders.
    the things that bother me the most have always been pulldown judder and colour accuracy..
    I used to use a projector but when I recently moved I decided that I didn’t want to deal with the limitations any more and took the plunge on the TV>

    anyway! feel free to email me back, always love chatting about media geekdom.
    take care
    -Derek

    • Jordan says:

      That sounds very cool Derek.

      I haven’t tried playing any 25fps sources on it. I’m guessing the TV switches down to 100hz and plays 25p at 4:4?

      It’s sort of strange now I have this great home theater setup but I rarely watch TV/movies….probably only 2-3 times a month but I love the picture when I do.

      Generally if I have free time I play music (physically play it not just listen…)

      I did recently acoustically treat my home theater and music room areas with Auralex type foam… (actually Auralex clone foam from foambymail.com). Used a couple bass traps and some wedges and it’s improved the home theater sound quite a bit. For movies it’s a little subtle to notice the difference but for music in general it’s definitely a big improvement. If you have a lot of money in your HT then a few hundred $ for foam can really bring it home — I have great speakers but they were in a boomy sounding room so that really helped out.

      Jordan

  3. Geoffrey Smith says:

    Jordan,

    Thanks for the comprehensive article. You mention improving Netflix pictures at the beginning of the article, but I couldn’t then find anymore references to that issue. Can you elaborate, as my Netflix pictures have a distinctively “interlaced” sterile look. (I have a decent Sony 65″ TV, and work in broadcast TV and film).

    Best,

    Geoffrey Smith

    • Jordan says:

      Right what I’m saying is, turn off the progressive (deinterlaced) mode, and just let it be “interlaced” and let your tv handle it…

      I know it’s counterintuitive..

      The reason I don’t mention Netflix specifically is because it’s not solely related to Netflix…

      What I suggest is

      [whatever]===>Your TV should be sent as Interlaced with rare exception.

      Let your TV handle the interlaced to progressive translation, whatever the source format was, be it Netflix or DVD or otherwise.

      Jordan

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