Sony “Motionflow Impulse” reduces motion blur without interpolation

Several new Sony HDTV’s can eliminate motion blur using “Motionflow Impulse“, a CRT-style strobe backlight that does not use interpolation! This mode is very video-game friendly, and completely eliminates motion blur during 60 fps @ 60 Hz. Try this setting with consoles, computers, emulators, and sports!

Supported Sony HDTV’s: HX920 Series, HX923 Series, HX925 Series, HX929 Series, XBR-55HX950, XBR-65HX950, KDL-47W802A (Budget), KDL-55w802A (Budget), KDL-55W900A, W905A Series, XBR-55X900A (4K Ultra), XBR-65X900A (4K Ultra)


The good news is that it has excellent motion clarity (similiar to LightBoost), and it retains the Sony color quality, with better-than-plasma video game motion on an LCD. It flickers like a 60Hz CRT, and add a very small amount of input lag (but less than interpolation).

TIP: Make sure you turn OFF the ambient light sensor to obtain a brighter picture during Sony Motionflow Impulse! This will prevent the TV from dimming the picture.

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25 Responses to Sony “Motionflow Impulse” reduces motion blur without interpolation

  1. Pingback: William

    • From William:
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      Thanks very much for the compliment!

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  2. RuudBoek says:

    I have some good news about the impulse mode on the sony 2013 KDL-55W905A.
    The impulse mode is now available in gaming mode and the input lag in that impulse mode is only 30 ms!
    The even better news is that it has been tested with the Leo Bodnar input lag tester, so a highspeed camera input lag test, will probably show 15 ms less.

    So there you go, lightboost quality gaming that does not have the way too heavy 120fps requirement. The flickering is still there though.
    Good chance that the same low input lag will be valid for the much cheaper Sony w805 as well.

    Here is the review, the part about impulse mode is just above the Conclusion:

    • RuudBoek, that’s excellent news. Thanks for reporting on this.

      This is good for people who want LightBoost-style gaming on a Sony HDTV.

      • RuudBoek says:

        It seems the Sony W6 series also have a similar option to impulse mode, but they named it “Led Motion”.

        I think that is very interesting because you can currently get the 32 inch version of the W6 series for about 450 euro’s, so that brings that “impulse mode” a bit closer to prices of 120hz monitors.

  3. xandre434 says:

    i can confirm that impulse mode exists on the much cheaper sony kdl-47w802a and kdl-55w802a models. in game mode, black frame insertion is the only motion setting available. this absolutely does eliminate sample and hold motion blur. the image is much darker, but i found i could crank up the settings to sufficiently for use in a light controlled room. as for the flickering, i can’t even tell in the slightest, but i did grow up on crts.

    despite having none of the pesky sample and hold smudging, there is some slight ghosting in impulse mode. that is to say, in certain high contrast situations (pretty much only with vertical lines moving horizontally), i can see a single, faint trailing ghost image during fast motion. note that this doesn’t produce any visual blurring effect anywhere on the screen. the ghost is subtle enough that unless there is something like a vertical pole moving across a clear sky, or trees, or the edge of a wall, i can’t see any abnormalities. close inspection reveals that even these slight ghosts are perfectly sharp.

    i ended up sending mine back because of some dead pixels, but now i’m trying to see if i can find something for a comparable price that might not exhibit any of this slight ghosting while inserting black frames (i forgot to mention that these artifacts seem limited to impulse mode).

    so i guess i’m wondering if the effect is just because of the poor pixel response time of the set, or if it is just a side effect of black frame insertion. because if it is just an unavoidable side effect, then i must say that it’s by far the least of all the other evils i’ve encountered searching for a 60hz display, and that therefore sony’s bravia kdl led line with impulse is the best bet for anyone that cares about motion blur at 60hz.

    • xandre434 says:

      my observations are confirmed by this review:

      “The last three options increased motion resolution to 1080 lines. The “Impulse” mode uses backlight scanning/ black frame insertion techniques to “reset” our retinal persistence and improve the perceived clarity of moving objects. No interpolation is applied in this mode, so there’s no interpolation artefacts, but we did see some double edge ghosting on selected panning shots.”

      i should also note:

      1) very low input lag in game mode.
      2) i almost gave up on my 47w802a because of the brightness/contrast drop in impulse mode. after fiddling with all the settings forever, it was just still too dim. surfing around all the menus as a last resort, i happened upon the power saving section , which wasn’t really where i’d expect it to be at all, and noticed that the freaking ambient light sensor was on by default. i turned this off and got more brightness/contrast that i need.

    • The faint-ghost effect is well known among LightBoost users, too. The faint-ghost double image is approximately the same intensity as 3D crosstalk. This is simply the remnant pixel transitions of the previous frame, that still aren’t complete, by the next time the backlight is strobed. This will continue to improve as LCD panels become faster. This faint-ghost effect is normal and cannot be avoided; and often is sometimes fainter than the phosphor trails on a CRT anyway.

      A very good test for this type of ghosting is TestUFO’s Eiffel Tower Test (running in a supported web browser).

      • Neo says:

        Shouldn’t this be referred to as a 60 fps @ 120 Hz mode? Similar to how the EIZO FG2421 Turbo240 120 fps @ 240Hz mode works? The black frame insertion would seem to take up some valuable response time. A better technique should just to strobe the backlight at 60 Hz and just repeat the frames, giving the diplay an extra 1/120th sec for lcd transitions.

        • Neo says:

          Ooops forgot something.

          What exactly is the input frame rate? If it’s less than 60 fps… 30 fps in console games and downsampled web video, 24 fps with film… shouldn’t that explain any multiple images? A system needs to be smart enough to only flash a frame once. That’s how black frame insertion at the source in game emulators work, right? Avoid sending a duplicate frame if the display can’t identify it as new or not?

          • Correct, yes. Strobing multiple times on the same frame, if you are tracking your eyes, creates multiple images. 30fps at 60hz flicker creates a double image effect during eye tracking of fast motion.

            Theoretically, yes 30hz strobe of 30fps is much clearer. However, a 30hz strobe would be a painfully awful. Also, variable rate strobing would be a huge engineering challenge, and would be extremely difficult to do without annoying side effects. It should theoretically be possible without major flicker effects when combined with G-SYNC, it is already written at but it would not work well when built in only to a display without the GPU help to time the refreshes with arbitrary intervals between them.

        • Impulse on several of the Sonys does not repeat frames, unlike other Motionflow modes. It is actually only 60fps at 60Hz on several of the Sony models. The strobing aims to get closer to Plasma motion quality without repeating refreshes. Strobing always adds about half a frame in input lag on average, since you have to wait for the LCD panel to finish refreshing in the dark, as seen in this high speed video of LightBoost at … Motionflow “Impulse” is doing the same.

          In non-LightBoost mode, the top edge of the screen has less input lag than the bottom edge of the screeen, due to the scan effect. Even on CRTs. CRTs only have zero lag for the top edge. Now, when you strobe, the scan takes place unseen before the flash. The flash is all at once. So the input lag for both top and bottom edges of the screen is the same.

          Impulse adds less than a full frame of input lag over non-Impulse, so that is already pretty good. Even 30ms total lag is less than most plasmas!

          • Neo says:

            Ahhh, ok. All the talk of BFI in online reviews was confusing. It would be nice if the MegaCorps would stop with the Marketing Gimmicks and just contribute to using open specifications so we can all know what they’re doing behind the scenes.

            The mention of BFI, using a 120Hz panel, arose from the idea that the backlight could still be strobing at 120 Hz and the BFI simply hides it, but poorly thus the slight after-image.

            I mentioned 24/30 fps because xandre434 never actually reported what the input source was. If it’s 3:2 pulldown 24 fps, 30 fps console or just a slower-than-60 fps pc source than that could explain a lot of the high-accutance after-images rather than just slowed lcd transition.

            Finding the precise technical specs for these panels could help figure out what’s really going on.

          • The BFI in the online reviews can refer only to certian types of Motionflow.

            Sometimes BFI is used simultaneously with motion interpolation. See existing technology. The problem is while BFI and strobing is okay for games/computers, the interpolation part isn’t. The online reviews that says that both is being done, are correct in this specific respect.

            So we’re always on the hunt for motion-enhancing modes that don’t combine BFI (strobing) and interpolation, and just focuses on BFI (strobing) only. That’s what makes Motionflow Impulse so special — it’s the only Motionflow mode that is low input lag, which is necessary in order to be good for gaming.

  4. FallenServant says:

    Hi, when you say this is better than plasma are you including Panasonic 3D models? I did not see any hint of motion blur on the VT60 but if there is something better maybe I should cancel my order?

    • Not necessarily, there are pros and cons.

      Plasmas are great for movies and television. And they generally still have better color (unless we’re talking about outliers such as the now-discontinued “Elite”). If you were planning to use a plasma as a computer monitor for 90% computer use while sitting only 4 feet in front of it, and you’re worried about input lag, it’s worth considering switching your order to a carefully-chosen LCD. For the use case of computers, LCD usually better.

      The Sony’s (with Motionflow Impulse) also happen to have very low input lag, making them great as “big” computer monitors, and with the bonus of a LightBoost-style strobe backlight which can be used during your 60fps@60Hz games with no motion blur. If you’ve never noticed motion blur (the type you see in motion animations at and ) and can’t tell apart CRT from LCD, and isn’t picky about input lag, the other superior attributes of plasmas may outweigh its other drawbacks. Also, Motionflow Impulse does not benefit 30fps console gaming much (aka most console games), it only shines well during 60fps. Depends on the types of games you play, too!

      What’s different today is that for motion blur, certain LCD recently leapfrogged plasma (for the case of nVidia’s LightBoost, and Sony’s Motionflow Impulse), but that doesn’t affect plasma’s generally superior color to LCD.

  5. FallenServant says:

    Thanks for the detail response. I went on the quest to find the least motion blur panel because I could not stand gaming on my Samsung T220 which was a blurry nightmare even with the overdrive set on maximum, thankfully the screen died(again) so I have the perfect excuse :)

    Are you familiar with the pixperan test? this was the method I used to check motion clarity but those ones you linked are better in my opinion

    • Yes, the PixPerAn test is similiar to the new UFO Motion Tests that Blur Busters created ( — You just select the motion test using the top selector. Using the Motionflow Impulse mode gives you the LCD panel with the least motion blur during gaming without significant input lag. The mode gives you about 4x sharper motion (75% less motion blur) than a typical 60Hz LCD, that said, it will be dimmer and it will flicker like a 60Hz CRT.

  6. On some Sony TV’s, turning on the Motionflow Impulse setting is done using instructions similar to the following:

    1. Press HOME button
    2. Select [Settings] by using up/down buttons
    3. Select [Display] (portrait icon) by using the left/right button
    4. Select [Picture] by using the up/down buttons
    5. Scroll up/down to select “Motionflow” and change to “Impulse”

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