Roku update turns on hated motion-smoothing feature, with no off switch

Movies are filmed at 24 frames per second with motion blur aplenty—an ancient technical and artistic sweet spot, or compromise, that defines the aesthetic of cinema. The folks at TV- and streaming-box-maker Roku know better, and pushed an update that adds the "missing" frames, a technique known as interpolation but more plainly as motion smoothing. It makes everything look like a soap opera shot on videotape and it's widely disliked, but quality is no match for quantity when it comes for marketable numbers. "Dear Roku," writes William Joel, "you ruined my TV."

If you're someone who doesn't notice motion smoothing or doesn't particularly care about it, imagine if, suddenly, your ebook updated so all the fonts were three times as large. Or if your phone decided all video and audio would be played at 2x. Some folks might prefer that, but it should be a choice. Forcing a device to change how a user experiences content that is different than what is expected, with no means to revert or disable the change, is bad. That should be obvious. Not long after the update rolled out, other Roku TV owners (mainly TCL, but Hisense, too) began posting about the issue in Roku's community forum and on Reddit. Since I work at The Verge, I told our team about my issue. We reached out to Roku for comment and got no response. We wrote about the problem. Commenters on that post agreed: it sucks. Still, there was radio silence from Roku. …

This whole experience strikes me as something truly wild. If you're in the business of making a product that plays movies and shows, you should be aware of how divisive a feature like motion smoothing is, as well as how filmmakers feel about it. If your slogan is "happy streaming," making streaming hell is a bad look. 

Motion-smoothing weirds me out, and I'm no cinephile. It'd be interesting to learn what factored into the "no off switch" decision. I feel there are two obvious hypotheses:

1: Roku is operating with such large numbers these days that every decision is a fly-by-wire corporate abstraction far from the bare metal of the user experience. This means upgrades and features gain unstoppable internal force and the only thing that can stop them is the immovable object of financial results months or years later.

2: Roku is basically an appliance company with no internal culture of culture, so it just never came up and now they're dealing with all this stuff they didn't realize had anything to do with what they sold. Explaining shutter angles to the person at Roku responsible for this would be like explaining the unanticipated uses of internet connections to whoever at St. Jude Medical decided your pacemaker needed one.

My dog loves to chew this cheap replacement Roku remote
My dog is on a mission to destroy all Roku remotes