Currently, no TV brand has a more diverse lineup of TVs than Sony. Whether you’re an LED, Mini LED, OLED type person, or even the new Quantum Dot OLED type of person, Sony has a TV for you. No matter which direction you’re heading for your Sony TV, and as happy as you are with it, there’s a good chance you’re really not getting the best out of it.
After all, research has shown time and time again that most of us turn into couch potatoes as soon as our new TV is installed that we almost never revisit any of its configuration options. However, all TVs – even the best TVs in the world – ship with out-of-the-box settings that can significantly slow down your performance.
With that in mind, we’ve identified five common setup mistakes Sony TV owners make – and explained how you can fix each one with just a few moments of work.
1. Use the correct image presets
The essentially passive experience of watching TVs can make us very relaxed when it comes to taking advantage of the many features that current television sets offer. This applies to even the simplest setting that all TVs carry: picture presets.
Sony really works harder than most brands to provide a wide selection of picture presets to suit different tastes and content types. However, many people will never think of stepping out of the Sony TV’s default picture presets even once, never mind revisiting the preset list regularly to select the most appropriate preset for whatever content they are watching. Even if they really should.
Particularly important, we would say, are Sony’s Cinema Home and Cinema Pro presets. They have been carefully calibrated to get the best out of 24 frames per second film, combining the motion reproduction settings most appropriate for that material with other imaging settings designed to unlock the maximum subtlety and naturalism of these carefully mastered and often high-quality sources. quality.
You might find, however, that you’d rather go back to Sony’s more aggressive default preset for watching regular TV, and you should definitely remember to switch to Sony’s gaming preset for gaming if you want to get the kind of quick response times. of the screen, you need to optimize your gaming skills (although with newer TVs it should change automatically).
Unusually, Sony still provides Animation and Sports modes which, again, offer subtle tweaks that really enhance the experience of watching these different types of content. In fact, such is the variety of sources they cover and the quality of the results that changing your picture presets regularly is even more worthwhile with Sony TVs than any other brand.
2. Avoid the ‘light sensor’ eco feature
These days, it’s common for TVs to carry built-in light sensors that can be used to adjust picture settings to suit different ambient light conditions. They can be quite useful if used in conjunction with the new Dolby Vision IQ feature that many Sony TVs currently support, where sensor information is typically used to inject more brightness, color and contrast into HDR images in a bright room. . they stand out better.
Where a light sensor isn’t useful is if it’s used as part of a Sony TV’s Eco features. Using ambient light monitoring from an ecological perspective makes images routinely appear darker than they should. This is especially true if you’re watching TV in a very dark room, where the light sensor thinks it can remove really significant amounts of light from the picture, all to save very little power in the end. In short, if you want a consistently satisfying picture, especially with HDR, make sure the ambient light eco mode features are turned off.
3. Do not use noise reduction features
Removing digital noise from photos sounds like a great idea. Who wouldn’t want cleaner photos with those compression imperfections, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
The issue is that the processing required to remove things like excessive grain, MPEG compression artifacts, and color noise from fonts needs to be seriously smart to ensure it only hits the actual noise rather than also ‘smoothing’ the natural grain, details extraordinarily thin and so on. It’s so complex, in fact, that even the most premium TVs from the most respected brands typically struggle to do it well enough to avoid unwanted side effects like loss of sharpness, removal of fine details, smudges, the screen-door effect ( where the natural grain turns into what appears to be a thin gauze over the image) and the delay of the image.
Sony, to be fair, has handled noise reduction better than most brands since the arrival of its X1 processor a few years ago, and that processing feat continues with the Bravia XR processor in its 2021 and 2022 TVs. However, for most sources – pretty much all 4K content, as well as decent quality HD content – we strongly recommend having noise reduction of all types turned off on your Sony TV if you want the cleanest, sharpest, andest images. natural.
4. Choose the correct motion processing option
Motion processing in TVs has become something of a hot potato. The film industry has engaged in a high-profile campaign to try to get TV owners to always turn it off, while most TV manufacturers seem to want you to leave it on.
As you might expect, there are problems with both sides of the argument. Excessive or low-quality motion processing can actually look quite awful, turning movies into daytime TV or causing a lot of ugly, unintentional processing side effects. On the other hand, many TVs – which are simply not built to the same standards as professional monitors – can experience disturbing levels of judder or blur when showing moving objects. Especially with 24fps movies.
Unfortunately, engineers often get what they want with the TV’s default motion settings, with many picture presets running at more aggressive levels of motion processing than we’re comfortable with. However, turning off motion processing completely isn’t always the best solution – especially if you have a Sony TV, as the brand has a well-deserved reputation for having the best motion processing in town.
Basically, the only way to pick your way through the motion processing battleground is to spend a few minutes experimenting with your Sony TV’s impressive myriad of motion settings – including trying different settings with different types of content. What works for a movie source is unlikely to be as effective for a 60Hz sporting event.
To get started, we suggest you look at Sony’s True Cinema setting when watching movies and the Clear option for streaming sources. Or, if they still don’t feel right to you when you start focusing on what they’re doing, you can try a custom mode with the judder and blur elements kept to about a third of their full power. You can try a more aggressive preset like MotionFlow’s ‘Default’ setting for sports.
The exact settings that provide the best results for different sources can vary from Sony TV to Sony TV, thanks to the different properties of all the panel types that Sony uses. But if you haven’t tried the MotionFlow options before, you’ll probably be surprised at what a difference a few moments of experimentation can make.
5. Don’t fall for the vivid image preset
Most TVs carry a picture preset expressly designed to take the screen’s capabilities to the extreme. On Sony TVs, this mode is labeled ‘Vivid’, and the ultra-vibrant colors, extreme contrast, and enhanced sharpness it offers no doubt look appealing at first glance. So much so that many homes will likely have fallen for its charms.
The truth, however, is that the Vivid preset is not as good as it seems at first glance. Forcing colors too hard can make them look cartoonish and unbalanced – and nothing like the way they were designed to look. Heavy color saturations can also cause subtle details to be washed out, making the image flatter and less realistic.
Too much sharpening can cause images to become rough and noisy too (although, in fact, Sony’s Vivid mode suffers less from this than the Vivid mode equivalents of many rival brands). And while expanded contrast can certainly be impactful, it can also draw a lot of attention to itself.
This brings us to the main reason not to stick with Sony’s Vivid preset: inconsistency. The best experiences with any TV, at least when you’re watching high-quality movies or TV dramas, are those where nothing in the TV’s picture performance distracts you from what you’re watching. However, Vivid mode’s desire to showcase different elements of TVs’ picture quality is almost designed to provide the exact opposite of the consistency that true immersion depends on.