Today marks 3 weeks with my 55" A1E, and just over 200 hours of viewing in my most-of-the-day more brightly lit room.
For a good 6-8 weeks ahead of my A1E delivery, I closely kept up with all the various Sony/A1E threads here and A1E reviews as they have come out, making notes to myself of setting combinations others have tried, as well as comments people made about their observations what some of the settings do well or poorly from their POV. I'm glad I did that, with Sony's horrible lack of useful documentation in this regard.
I have always seemed to be the guy in the family that is asked, and then eyeball tunes everyone's TV, with results that have made us happier than the defaults. Even with my former $8K plasma monitor, I for some reason never went the next step having certified calibration done on any of my TVs, although I oddly have used an X-Rite to calibrate my former PC and now iMac displays for years. It's weird, I know. Don't ask me why.
It took me a while, but I've been pretty happy with the A1E settings I've been living with more recently between Cinema Pro and Custom, although I knew what I saw wasn't quite as punchy as it could be, and while I had finally eliminated too much red in most content, playing with green and blue just had me stumped -- facial tones were always a bit off especially as I switched between source material. With all the back-and-forth on the original owner's thread, and sometimes nasty comments others make about "you have not gotten your panel calibrated", I decided I'd go ahead and spend another 5% of the cost of my A1E to have it calibrated by an ISF Level II certified guy. That happened yesterday afternoon.
The net is, since I run all my components through my AVR to A1E HDMI #3
, he calibrated a single set of picture settings for me based off of Custom. Interestingly, they end-up much like the rtings.com set, with tweaks to Adv Color Temps as I'd expect would be different from panel-to-panel. Also, as I expected, nearly all the Sony Pixie-dust settings are set to off in the calibrated set. ...and yes, the final result watching bright and dark content now in both a darker and brightly lit room is improved. The odd color casts that bothered me somewhere between blue and green are no longer there. HDR content is more punchy (e.g. torches in dark tombs of The Mummy), and the bit of black crush I sometimes noticed is for the most part gone. I do think my whites are slightly clipping, but that's easily remedied backing off of contrast a bit when I've had more time deciding what to do or not.
BERT'S CURRENT A1E NON-GAMING PICTURE SETTINGS - 5/18/2017
- Am I overall happy with the result? Yes.
- Are the changes post-calibration significant? No, but they refine and maximize what the A1E is capable of, and I don't have the equipment or detailed-know how to have done it all myself.
- Would I have a new high-end TV like my A1E calibrated again? Yes. Without question.
(Android TV V7)
With all that being said, I AM NOT A PURIST when it comes to all this calibration/reference set stuff, as I want to just enjoy my TV in my Family Room -- so if a mfgr like Sony offers Magic Pixie Dust Settings I can explore, or if something like whites seem to need to be dialed-back a bit, I'm gonna do it. IMO, both Custom and Cinema Pro can offer similar types of image processing -- maybe not exactly the same, but close enough to my eyes. Again, while Purists may not like this approach, I've decided to leave my Custom settings exactly how they were calibrated so I have a point-of-reference. I have then moved the same key settings across to Cinema Pro and added back the Magic Pixie Dust Settings I enjoy. While they may be tweaked a little bit more as I gain hours with what is mostly new color calibration, following is where I am using pretty much a single setting all the time (I watch my A1E sitting ~8' away, and only rarely use my PS4 Pro where the default Game settings are better, and I'd spend more time looking at what others are doing with settings if it were games I was focused on.)
I trust people in this real owner's thread are not quite as harsh as some continually are in "that other thread", so I'm putting myself out there for critique I suppose. My intent is not to say what I have is reference material or perfect for everyone, but I thought since we're getting more new A1E owners, and many likely don't want to spend the days it can take to catch-up on all the threads and reviews, I would offer my latest settings as a starting point for their consideration beyond what Sony provides as defaults. It's easily discarded and the A1E put back to defaults if someone does not like any of this. I also provided some additional thoughts for several of the settings in the notes for several of the settings choices I've made. Again, I'm not an expert, just a guy that tries to research and keep learning, enjoy his gear, and share with others if it can maybe help them out some way. YMWV (Your Mileage WILL Vary )
Home/Settings/External/Inputs/HDMI Signal Format/Enhanced Format - The first and primary setting to enable 4K HDR
...then, from Picture Adjustments while watching no or non-HDR content:
- Picture Mode
-- Picture Mode: Cinema Pro
-- Auto Picture Mode, Brightness, Color are below
-- Light Sensor: Off
-- (1) Brightness: 14
-- (2) Contrast: Max
-- Gamma: 0
-- Black Level: 50
-- Black Adjust: Off
-- (3) Adv Contrast Enhance: Off
-- (4) Xtended Dynamic Range: High
-- Color: 50
-- Hue: 0
-- Color Temperature: Expert 1
-- (5) Adv Color Temperature <- Your panel Settings will likely vary
---- R-Gain: -2
---- G-Gain: -1
---- B-Gain: -4
---- R-Bias: 0
---- G-Bias: 0
---- B-Bias: -1
--- Multipoint (10p)
---- Color Gamma Adjustment Points: 1
---- R-Offset: 0
---- R-Offset: 0
---- R-Offset: 0
-- (6) Live Color: Low
-- (7) Sharpness: 50
-- (8) Reality Creation: Manual
--- Resolution: 40
-- Mastered in 4K: On
-- (9) Random Noise Reduction: Off
-- (9) Digital Noise Reduction: Off
-- (10) Smooth Gradation: Low
-- (11) Motionflow: Custom
--- Smoothness: 3
--- (12) Clearness: Low
-- (13) Cinemotion: Low
- (14) Video Options
-- HDR Mode: Auto
-- HDR Video Range: Auto
-- Color Space: Auto
(1) You can move brightness up further if need be during the day; the A1E will correctly move this to Max for all HDR content because of video options belowENJOY THAT A1E! I do every day.
(2) If whites are clipping, try moving this down perhaps to 95 (or even 90)
(3) You could try ACE at Low, but watch for black crush even then -- it's much more apparent at Med and High
(4) I'm really OK with XDR at Med for most content, as the A1E will correctly move this to Max for all HDR content because of video options below. My calibration tech wanted this at Max to get the greatest brightness out of the display he could.
(5) Adv Color Temperature: Leave the settings at your panel's default or to what is best TO YOU, as these will vary panel-to-panel. I have included my present settings just so those that also have a fully calibrated A1E can see what is perhaps different panel-to-panel should you be interested in such detail. If you do fool around with these settings with only your eyes and you don't know what you're doing, my suggestion is only play with Basic R/G/B-Gain -- the bias settings can do odd things, including to black if they are incorrect, and Multi-point is only for people with the calibration gear that want to get into superfine adjustment.
(6) I currently like Live Color on Low. Others will probably prefer this Off if you have the rest of your settings correct. For me, on some content like DirecTV I watch a lot of, Low provides just a little more color punch without being garish. This is one of those pixie dust settings the purists will surely hate, but others may want to try in various settings to see what you enjoy most. Tomorrow I may have this Off. IDK. It's just a setting.
(7) Simply of note that my panel was dead-on perfect sharpness-wise and the setting remains at the 50 default. Don't change this unless you are using the right calibration slide and get right up to the panel to decide.
(8) I use Manual and have increased the resolution a bit from 20 to 40. Play with this looking at fine 4K detail say in the hair of animals, people, and such. Some have said 50 is good -- while I can't explain exactly why, I've backed down from that each time I've gone there
(9) Thanks to the horribly lacking Sony documentation and online help, I have no clue what this does after trying it on/off/auto with different sources, so I keep it off
(10) I like Low a lot better than Off to reduce color banding in some content. Just a little bit helps clean things up. Medium may be OK, but High for me makes the image too soft, or almost like watching it through a light fog most of the time.
(11) I don't really know what True Cinema is doing that is in some of the A1E defaults, so I use Custom 3 which some others started using.
(12) I have not found a reason to increase Clearness higher than Low, which to me is better than Off with some types of faster moving content
(13) Off may be OK for many. Medium and High to my eyes add too much of the "Soap Opera Effect", so I find Low does a better job with some sports (golf) I occasionally watch
(14) Leave all the Video Options at Auto. Unless you have a specific purpose, no reason to change these.