FW 8.0 (v6.5830) - initial impressions
Apologies for the long post, but I reckon most users would find the following useful, especially if you're on the fence to perform the manual FW upgrade to 8.0
Got this TV in Dec '18, let it auto-update to the latest FW it found and used if for about 2 months; and in the short time I've had it, it proved an excellent buy and provides spectacular images!
MY "OLD" SETUP:
- primary use are the internal streaming apps (Netflix and Amazon Prime only)
- Cambridge Audio CXUHD 4k player via HDMI 2 (set to enhanced). HDR only, no DV until CA releases one to put it on par with Oppo 203
- TV mode: either Custom or Cinema Pro. General settings
Color ~ 58
Contrast ~ 46/47
Dimming and HDR - high
Neutral/Warm (found Expert 1 has a VERY green tint...very bothering to me coming from a warm Panny Plasma set)
Clearness ~ 3
Smoothness ~ 0
So 2 days ago, decided to manually update the TV via the USB to 8.0 (v6.5830). Reset the TV data BEFORE and AFTER the update
1. Home screen is simpler and easier to use - PLUS
2. Menus are similarly arranged, and won't provide a learning curve - PLUS
I also noticed that now each mode (e.g. Cinema Pro, Custom) has a 'notch' bar for settings (e.g. brightness, contrast). - PLUS
This bar seems to be the recommended setting for each individually mode. Consistently playing with settings, I found that Sony's recommended ones fit quite well and left them as is for most (except for DV on Amazon prime...more on that later).
Each TV mode (Custom, Standard, etc.) has different default settings, so to get it right, minute adjustments need to be made.
3. Color tone, mapping - BETTER out of the box
In the previous version, I found the TV needed more color, so I set it to high 50s. Also, other settings would need special tweaking as well...In this version, I found plentiful of color is provided with the default settings, so I left most as is.
I cannot say it this is due to the fact that the TV 'broke in' after 2 months of usage, or the FW update is much better...
Btw - does this TV have a break in period?
4. In my mind, the main modes most people should end up using with TV:
- Custom: the brightest setting, but because it's so bright, I found that it washes out some of the colors, minimizes the contrast and black definition. I ended up using this mode for Dolby Vision streams only (Jack Ryan on Prime and Altered Carbon on Netflix). This isn't my favorite setting for 'general' 4K or merely 1080p shows.
- Cinema Pro: a great choice for most media. Darker than Custom and Cinema Home. Provides more accurate/natural pictures and contrast ratio.
- Cinema Home: for 4K and 1080P shows, this is the preferred choice (for me). It isn't as bright as custom, nor as dark as Pro. A better middle of the road.
Caveat emptor: coming from a 10 yr old Panny Plasma, I tend to prefer warmer and darker images.
STREAMING & USAGE IMPRESSIONS:
Like I said above, the GUI is nice and smooth, and never experienced a freeze or slow down. I found the experience pleasing and a welcomed upgrade from previous; those using the native apps like I do will like it as well I reckon.
Quick Netflix tests (native app):
- Kingdom (4k UHD Korean show). Mode I ended up settling on: Cinema Home.
Subject matter aside (not into zombies or whatever), this show looks STUNNING. It looked fantastic before the update, looks just as good afterwards...perhaps even better. Highly recommended for a 4K UHD stream test.
- Altered Carbon (Dolby Vision). Best mode for this show: auto detection to DV
Provides superior contrast, vivid colors. Still, like with the previous update, I found this show has a dark light theme. Messing about with the Gamma setting improves things. Also, setting Live Color to HIGH seems to brighten up the screen significantly. I don't remember that 'feature' in the previous version. Medium, Low or Off doesn't seem to do much, but HIGH definitely brightens up the image.
- Narcos Mexico (Dolby Vision). Mode used - auto DV
With the previous FW, this show completely sucked big time. Grainy, dark, washed out. A total mess for DV.
With the latest FW, it was improved. For instance, ep 5, there is a night scene where Escobar meets the main protagonist, the scene isn't as dark as with the previous FW, actually I can now discern the people's faces, see their eyes and some of the background. In previous FW, the DV was so bad, the show became unwatchable - I had to switch to an external streaming device to finish it.
Quick Amazon Prime tests (native app):
- Jack Ryan (Dolby Vision). Mode I used: auto DV
Default DV settings the TV gave me when playing this were HORRIBLE. Extremely dark, washed out colors. I swear DV in the previous FW looked better. I changed some settings: increased Gamma to max, Contrast, Dark adjust, HDR, Dimming to Max, Live Color to max - improved the viewing picture. Again, NOT impressed with DV...
Also, I think Netflix does DV better than Amazon Prime (comparing Altered Carbon vs. Jack Ryan).
- BEAT (HDR 4K German series)
On my Panny 1080p Plasma, this show looked great from the get go. Out of the box settings, they didn't look as good on the Sony 940e. I had to do some serious tweaking: increased Gamma +1 (from default), changed Color Tone to Neutral, MAX dimming and Black Adjust, Auto on most other settings (btw, motion settings always same). The result was extremely nice, very pleasing and a definite increase over my lowly 1080p Plasma.
4K UHD disc playback:
Using the CA CXUHD player for Planet Earth II (HDR discs) is SPECTACULARLY FANTASTIC. Mode I ended up was Cinema Home; this proved to be not as bright as Custom, and not as dark as Pro (default settings for most). This would be my REFERENCE picture test for anyone visiting - yeah, that good!
GENERAL PICTURE SETTINGS: (my preference, not reference)
- For DV streaming
Custom, max Gamma, max Live Color, Max Local Dimming, HDR, Contrast, etc.
- For general 4k and 1080p streaming:
Cinema Home: most settings set as default except:
1. Black level ~ 47
2. Color mode ~ neutral. Additionally, I decreased the G tint by 7-8 notches (applicable on all media by the way)
3. Max: Local Dimming, HDR, Black Adjust.
4. Clearness - 3 and Smoothness - 0
Should you upgrade - YES
P.S. General 4K picture comments:
- My only DV source for me thus far is from Netflix or Amazon from native apps
- 'regular' 4K - looks stunning NO MATTER what. Default settings are that good that you can't mess up the picture quality: sharpness, contrast, colors, vividness/pop, detail - for me, all are 10/10
- HDR > DV by a looooooong mile.
Last edited by no_cure; 02-01-2019 at 11:24 AM.
Reason: DV picture settings; more Prime streaming impressions