These are the settings we used to calibrate our Sony 55" (XBR55A1E), and we expect them to be valid for the 65" (XBR65A1E) and the 77" (XBR77A1E). The following settings are good for any content, from movies to TV shows and gaming. For Gaming, some minor adjustments need to be made to get the best input lag and they are listed in the gaming section.
Before we start, it is important to know that on Sony TVs each input has it own independent picture setting. This means that settings changed while on HDMI 1 won't be applied to HDMI 2. It is important to change the settings to your liking for each input, as changes in one input won't affect the rest. OTA channels, Apps (Netflix, YouTube, etc.), USB files (videos or picture) and video inputs and so on won't share settings.
For movies and TV shows, we selected the 'Custom' 'Picture Mode', as it is in this picture mode that provides the closest result to our calibration goal. For home use, if you don't intend to calibrate your TV, you could use the 'Cinema Pro' picture mode, as it offers a very good picture quality, especially for watching UHD HDR movies.
To achieve our target luminance of 100cd/m² in our totally dark room we set the 'Brightness' to 14 (with 'X-tended Dynamic Range' set to high). You should set the 'Brightness' to match your room lighting, and it won't affect the picture quality. We turned off the 'Light sensor' as this optimizes the brightness setting to match your room brightness and we did not want the TV to change luminance level. The 'Auto picture mode' was also turned off, as this will change the picture mode based on the input signal and we didn't want the TV to change the picture mode automatically. We also left the 'Color' setting at 50, its default value as this controls the color saturation and we didn't want the TV to alter the saturation level of the displayed content.
In the 'Brightness tab, we set the 'Contrast' to 'Max' to have a better range of contrast and also because it helped us to complete our calibration, but if you find that the whites are clipping, you can set the 'Contrast' to 90. The 'Gamma' to was left to 0, and the 'Black level' to 50, their default values. The 'Black adjust' and 'Adv. contrast enhancer' were left turned off, since we did not want to add any image processing. The 'X-tended Dynamic Range' was set to 'High' to reach a higher peak brightness, but if you can play with this setting to match your desired TV luminance. You can read more on 'X-tended Dynamic Range' here.
In the 'Color' tab, we left at the default value the 'Color' (50) and for 'Hue' (0). We choose 'Expert 1' for the 'Color temperature' as this is the setting was the closest to the warm temperature of 6500K we aim for during calibration. If you find the color temperature to be too warm (reddish or yellowish) you can set it to a colder temperature. 'Live Color' was also left turned off, once again because we do not want to add extra image processing and aim to display the content true to what the content creator intended.
In the 'Clarity' tab, we left 'Sharpness' untouched at 50 (there is no added sharpness at 50). 'Reality Creation' was also left turned off, but it could be turned on if you are watching some older content at low-resolution or TV shows as it can improve the final image quality. You can adjust the 'Resolution' slider depending how much effect you want to be added. The 'Mastered in 4K' option is a feature that will optimize the upscaling of 1080p Blu-rays movies that are listed as being 'Mastered in 4K'. This feature will not be available for movies watch through other means than via a Blu-ray player. 'Random noise reduction', 'Digital noise reduction' and 'Smooth gradation' were all left untouched at off, but those could be useful to ameliorate the quality of older and low-resolution content. 'Smooth gradation' is especially useful if you see a lot of color banding typically seen in 8 bit content (often in skies) since it will smooth out the 8-bit gradation to make it look much better with less visible banding. You can see some example of what 'Smooth gradation' can do once applied here.
In the 'Motion' tab setting, we left the 'Motionflow' and 'Cinemotion' turned off for the calibration process, but if you like the motion interpolation (also named the soap opera effect), you can adjust the 'Motionflow' setting to 'Custom' and increase the 'Smoothness' slider. The 'Clearness' slider controls the black frame insertion feature of this TV and it can help to clear up fast moving objects. This can be particularly good to use while watching sport with fast moving action. To know more about this feature you can click here. If you are watching a movie via 60p/60i sources (cable or satellite feeds) and notice some judder, simply set 'Motionflow' to 'True Cinema' and 'CineMotion' to 'High' to reduce judder (see the '24p Playback' section of motion to know more about this feature). During the time of this review, the Sony A1E cannot always remove judder of 24p movies playing from 60p/60i sources. We will update the review if this change in the future firmware update.
When HDR content is detected, the A1E should change automatically to the right settings, but if you want to be sure you can verify that the 'Brightness' is set to 'Max' and that 'X-tended Dynamic Range' is set to 'High'.
In the 'Video options' tab, just verify that 'HDR mode', 'HDMI video range' and 'Color space' are set to 'Auto', and then the TV will change automatically to the correct settings to match the type of content you are watching.
SDR Gaming and HDR Settings
When gaming with a video game console or PC (in SDR or HDR), first choose the 'Game' 'Picture mode', and copy the settings previously mentioned for the 'General settings. Note that the TV will keep in memory the changes made in each 'Picture mode', so you must set them one time for each, but after you won't have to reset them every time.
If you connect a device that needs to use the full HDMI bandwidth, like a video game console or a PC set to output at 4k@60p 4:2:0 10 bit, 4:4:4 or 4:2:2, you'll need to connect them via the HDMI port 2 or 3 and set the 'HDMI signal format' to 'Enhanced format', via the 'External inputs' setting pages.
The following are the results of the white balance and colorspace calibration on our unit. They are provided for reference, and should not be copied as the calibration values vary per individual unit even for the same model and same size as the TV we reviewed due to manufacturing tolerances. If you want to try them you will need to enter all values shown, as all of them are active at the same time. If you end up with worse picture quality, simply reset them to the default values.