Q: I’m a proud new owner of a Sony A1E OLED TV, and have a few questions for you. First, do OLED screens require a break-in period? Also, I displayed a 5% gray slide and noticed a little bit of vertical banding. Nothing too bad, and I really need to look for it to even notice it. Will this get better or worse over time? Other than that, I love this TV. I have it paired with the Samsung UBD-K8500 UHD Blu-ray player running through a Marantz AV7702mkII preamp/processor.
One more thing: Do you have any tips or suggestions for my setup that I might not be aware of?
– Cameron Carroll
A: Congratulations on your purchase! I agree, the Sony A1E is a fine TV; see my review here. As far as I know, no break-in period is required for OLED TVs. However, most calibrators I know say that any TV should have a few tens of hours on it before calibrating, just to make sure everything is settled down.
When I displayed a 5% gray window on the review unit I have, I saw very minor banding, but I never see it when watching real-world content, even on shots with very low light levels. I’ve read a few accounts of worse banding, but for most owners, it seems to be a non-issue.
I’ve never heard anyone say the banding got worse over time, though I have read a couple of reports that it got better, at least a little. Bottom line: If you can’t see it in normal content, don’t worry about it.
As for tips or suggestions, I’ll give you the basics. First, select the Cinema Pro picture mode, which is the most accurate out of the box. Then, use a setup disc like HD Benchmark, Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics, or Disney’s WoW (World of Wonder) to optimize the five basic picture controls (Brightness, Contrast, Color, Hue, Sharpness). Unlike most TVs, these controls are not in the same menu; Brightness and Contrast are in the Brightness submenu, Color and Hue are in the Color submenu, and Sharpness is in the Clarity submenu.
If you want to eke out every last bit of accuracy, hire a professional calibrator. That will cost several hundred dollars, but I think it’s worth it for such an expensive and high-performance TV.
Be sure to connect the Marantz AV7702mkII’s Monitor1 HDMI output to the Sony’s HDMI 3 input, which are the only connections that support ARC (Audio Return Channel). That way, audio from the TV’s internal apps will be sent back to the pre-pro via the same cable. Speaking of cables, be sure to use HDMI cables that support 18 Gbps and ARC. Also, they should be as short as possible—not over 10 feet, and perhaps not even that long with UHD HDR signals.
Finally, be sure to set the TV’s HDMI Signal Format control to Enhanced in order to watch HDR content from the K8500 UHD Blu-ray player. This control is buried deep in the menu system: Open the Home menu, scroll down to Settings, select External Inputs, select HDMI Signal Format, and select Enhanced.
After all that, you should see a stunning picture that is a real pleasure to watch. Of course, other AVS Forum members might well have other tips and suggestions, which I welcome in the thread connected to this article. To see them, click on the Comments tab at the top or bottom of the article.
If you’ve got an AV question, please send it to AskTheEditors@avsforum.com.