Sony A8H OLED TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Jul 14, 2020 at 08:29 am
Sony A8H OLED Picture
8.7
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG B9 OLED
9.4
Movies
8.2
TV Shows
8.6
Sports
8.5
Video Games
8.8
HDR Movies
8.3
HDR Gaming
8.2
PC Monitor
Type OLED
Sub-Type
WRGB
Resolution 4k

The Sony A8H is an excellent OLED TV that delivers incredible picture quality for any type of content and is a fairly decent upgrade over its predecessor, the Sony A8G OLED. It produces perfect blacks with its infinite contrast ratio, which is great for those who like to watch in a dark room. It handles reflections exceptionally well, and its decent peak brightness is enough to fight glare in brighter lighting conditions. It has wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate even if you're sitting off to the side. Its response time is almost instantaneous and it has a low input lag; however, gamers might find the lack of variable refresh rate (VRR) support a bit disappointing. As always, there's a risk of permanent burn-in with OLED panels, although it shouldn't be an issue for most. Its Android TV platform is user-friendly, it runs smoothly, and you should have no problems finding what you need from the immense Google Play Store.

Our Verdict

8.7 Mixed Usage

The Sony A8H is an excellent TV for most uses. It delivers excellent picture quality with its infinite contrast ratio and near-instantaneous response time. It upscales lower resolution content well, which is great for watching cable TV or sports. HDR content looks good thanks to its wide color gamut and decent peak brightness. Unfortunately, although its input lag is great, it doesn't support advanced gaming features like VRR. Additionally, like all OLED TVs, there's a risk of permanent burn-in.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
Cons
  • Risk of permanent burn-in.
9.4 Movies

The Sony A8H is an exceptional TV for watching movies. Like all OLED TVs, it can produce perfect blacks, great for dark room viewing. There's no backlight, so you won't get distracted by any blooming around bright objects. It can remove judder from all sources, but there's a bit of stuttering in lower frame rate content.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Can remove judder from all sources.
Cons
  • Stutters in lower frame rate content.
8.2 TV Shows

The Sony A8H is a great TV for watching TV shows. It has outstanding reflection handling and it gets bright enough to overcome glare in most rooms. Its viewing angles are excellent, so you can walk around doing chores while watching and still get a good-looking picture. Lower resolution content from cable TV is upscaled well, without any artifacts. Like all OLEDs, there's a risk of permanent burn-in, but this shouldn't be a problem if you watch varied content.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Decent SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Risk of permanent burn-in.
8.6 Sports

The Sony A8H is an excellent TV for watching sports. Its near-instantaneous response time results in almost no motion blur, and on top of that, it has an optional black frame insertion feature that can further improve motion clarity. Visibility shouldn't be an issue for most lighting conditions, as it gets decently bright and it handles reflections extremely well. Its viewing angles are excellent, which is great for watching a big game with a large group of people.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
  • Decent SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Risk of permanent burn-in.
8.5 Video Games

The Sony A8H is an excellent TV for gaming. It has a low input lag, fast response time, and its infinite contrast ratio makes it the perfect choice for gaming in the dark. However, it doesn't support VRR and it doesn't have an 'Auto Low Latency Mode'. There's a risk of permanent burn-in, but it shouldn't be an issue if you watch a varied content.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Low input lag.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
Cons
  • No VRR suppport.
8.8 HDR Movies

The Sony A8H is an excellent TV for watching movies in HDR. Like all OLEDs, it's able to produce perfect blacks, and it doesn't have any issues with blooming since there's no backlight. It has a good HDR color gamut and it gets bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR content, especially if you're watching in a darker environment. There's a bit of stutter when watching lower frame rate content, which is caused by the TV's near-instantaneous response time.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Decent HDR peak brightness.
  • Can remove judder from all sources.
Cons
  • Stutters in lower frame rate content.
8.3 HDR Gaming

The Sony A8H is a great TV for gaming in HDR. It has low input lag, and its near-instantaneous response time makes fast-action games look crisp. HDR games look amazing, as the TV's infinite contrast ratio allows it to produce perfect blacks. It has a good HDR color gamut and it gets bright enough to make highlights stand out. And since there's no backlight, there's no blooming around bright objects. Sadly, it doesn't support any VRR technologies to reduce screen tearing.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Low input lag.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
  • Decent HDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • No VRR suppport.
8.2 PC Monitor

The Sony A8H is a great TV for use as a PC monitor. It has a low input lag, fast response time, and excellent viewing angles, so the edges of the screen won't look washed out if you sit up close. It supports most common resolutions, except for 1440p, and it can display chroma 4:4:4 properly. Unfortunately, there's a risk of permanent burn-in, which can happen with static content like a desktop user interface.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Low input lag.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
Cons
  • Risk of permanent burn-in.
  • 8.7 Mixed Usage
  • 9.4 Movies
  • 8.2 TV Shows
  • 8.6 Sports
  • 8.5 Video Games
  • 8.8 HDR Movies
  • 8.3 HDR Gaming
  • 8.2 PC Monitor
  1. Update 7/22/2020: We've retested the black frame insertion feature with 24p content.
  2. Update 7/15/2020: We've retested the TV's smart features and motion interpolation.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Sony A8H OLED replaces the A8G OLED from 2019, and is Sony's entry-level OLED for 2020, sitting below their Master series. It's expected to compete with other OLED TVs, like the LG CX OLED, and the new Vizio OLED TV.

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The Sony A8H has an exceptional design. It's simple, the bezels are extremely thin on all sides, and it comes with Sony's two-way position stand, which allows you to set the TV higher up on its feet to make space for a soundbar. The TV looks and feels premium all-around.

Design
Stand

The Sony A8H comes with Sony's two-way position stand, which has two height settings. The higher setting provides enough room for most soundbars, so the lower portion of the screen doesn't get obstructed. The stand comes in four pieces: two feet and two brackets. The brackets and the feet can be set in different configurations to achieve the desired height.

Footprint of the 55" stand in the elevated position: 41.3" x 12.8".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The back of the screen itself is metal, but the rest is made out of plastic. There's not much in terms of cable management; you can only route the cables through the back of the stand. If you choose to wall-mount it, it's compatible with Sony's SU-WL855 slim wall-mount.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.31" (0.8 cm)

The bezels are extremely thin, even thinner than the A8G's.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.17" (5.5 cm)

The TV is extremely thin and shouldn't stick out when wall-mounted.

9.5
Design
Build Quality

The TV is a mix of metal and plastic. It feels solidly-built and there are no issues with its construction. There's a bit of flex in the back panel, but nothing of concern. The stand supports the TV well and there's almost no wobble.

Picture Quality
10
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
Inf : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

Like all OLED TVs, the A8H has an infinite contrast ratio, as it can turn the pixels off completely. This results in perfect blacks, which is great for dark room viewing.

10
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
No Backlight

The Sony A8H doesn't have a local dimming feature since there's no backlight. OLED panels can turn off pixels individually, so there are no issues with blooming, and subtitles are displayed perfectly.

7.0
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
316 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
429 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
430 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
432 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
314 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
183 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
409 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
415 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
419 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
308 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
182 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.054

Decent SDR peak brightness. The brightness varies depending on the scene. It's better suited for a dark to moderately-lit room, as it may have trouble overcoming glare in a very bright environment. That said, it's a very decent upgrade from the A8G.

During our testing, we observed that the peak brightness ramps up over some time and then drops very quickly once it reaches its peak. This happens during static scenes and can take up to 45 seconds to ramp up to its peak brightness. This isn't noticeable in normal content, though.

We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Custom' Picture Mode, 'Expert 1' Color Temperature, and with Peak Luminance set to 'High'.

7.0
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
654 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
780 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
692 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
486 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
296 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
157 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
707 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
659 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
473 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
294 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
156 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.092

Decent HDR peak brightness. There's a lot of variation in brightness across different content. This is enough to deliver a good HDR experience.

We measured the HDR peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Custom' Picture Mode and 'Expert 2' Color Temperature. Brightness was set to maximum and Contrast was left at '90', which is the default.

8.9
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
1.434 %
50% DSE
0.116 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.338 %
5% DSE
0.072 %

Outstanding gray uniformity. There's almost no dirty screen effect, which is great for watching sports. Uniformity in dark scenes is better, and we didn't notice any vertical or horizontal lines in near-black scenes on our unit. However, it may happen later on after more extensive use, and it can also vary per unit.

8.5
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
49 °
Color Shift
30 °
Brightness Loss
64 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
57 °

The Sony A8H's viewing angles are excellent, making it suitable for large rooms and wide seating arrangements. However, there's still some color shift at moderate viewing angles.

10
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.290 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

OLED panels can turn the pixels off completely, resulting in perfect black uniformity. The deviation is caused by the camera.

9.2
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.5 %
Indirect Reflections
0.1 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
1.4 %

Outstanding reflection handling. You shouldn't have any issues using this TV in a bright room.

8.0
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
2.58
Color dE
2.28
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6078 K
Picture Mode
Custom
Color Temp Setting
Expert 1
Gamma Setting
0

Out of the box, the Sony A8H has great color accuracy. Except for the color blue, the inaccuracies with most colors shouldn't be noticeable to the naked eye. Gamma is nearly perfect, but white balance is a bit off. The color temperature is on the warm side, which results in a slight reddish tint.

9.4
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.36
Color dE
1.27
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6499 K
White Balance Calibration
10 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
Yes

After calibration, the color accuracy is exceptional. Gamma, color temperature, and white balance are all nearly perfect. Color accuracy has improved a bit, but there are still some issues with the color blue.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of 480p content such as DVDs looks good and there are no upscaling artifacts.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content like cable TV is upscaled well and there are no upscaling issues.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content such as Blu-ray movies looks good.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content is displayed perfectly. We didn't see any signs of the issue that the A8G had with text rendering when using the TV as a PC monitor.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

The A8H can't display an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels

The Sony A8H has a four sub-pixel structure, just like all other OLED TVs. The four sub-pixels are never on at the same time. You can see the green sub-pixel in this photo.

8.6
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
97.13 %
DCI P3 uv
97.20 %
Rec 2020 xy
73.24 %
Rec 2020 uv
77.25 %

The Sony A8H has an excellent HDR color gamut. It has superb coverage of the commonly used DCI P3 color gamut, and its coverage of the wider Rec 2020 is decent. The EOTF follows the PQ curve almost perfectly, with only some brightening in darker scenes to avoid crushing. And like other Sony OLED TVs, it has a very sharp roll-off towards the TV's peak brightness. The 'Game' mode EOTF is nearly identical, which you can see here.

If you find HDR content too dim, you can make it brighter by setting Advanced Contrast Enhancer to 'High', Peak Brightness to 'High', and Brightness to maximum. These settings will result in this EOTF. You can also increase the Gamma slider and the Black Level for an even brighter image, although they weren't used for our EOTF measurement.

7.7
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
88.1 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
41.0 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
65.9 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
35.2 %

Good color volume. It displays dark colors well due to its superb contrast ratio, but it has a bit of trouble displaying very bright colors.

9.3
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.066 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.078 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.060 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.073 dE

Exceptional gradient handling. There's only a little bit of banding in the darker shades of gray, green, and red. Enabling Smooth Gradation removes most of it; however, there's still some banding in the greens. That said, it's more noticeable in our test pattern than in normal content. Do note that using the Smooth Gradation feature can cause a loss of fine details in some scenes.

8.8
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.27 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.21 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.13 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.06 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There's a bit of temporary image retention, but it usually goes away after a few minutes.

This test is only indicative of short term image retention, and not the permanent burn-in that may occur with longer exposure to static images.

2.0
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Yes

Like all OLED TVs, the Sony A8H is susceptible to permanent burn-in. However, we don't expect it to be an issue for most people who watch varied content. Sony has built in two features that can help minimize the risks, which you can read about here.

If you're concerned about the risks of permanent burn-in, then check out the Sony X950H, which is an LED TV.

Motion
9.8
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
0.2 ms
100% Response Time
2.3 ms

Like all OLED TVs, the response time is near-instantaneous, which results in almost no blur trail behind fast-moving objects. There's a tiny amount of overshoot in the 0-20% transition, but it shouldn't be noticeable.

10
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The TV doesn't use PWM since there's no backlight, but it isn't flicker-free. The slight dip in brightness is due to the TV's 120Hz refresh rate, which is about every 8ms.

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

Update 07/22/2020: We've retested the BFI and can confirm that when playing 24p content, the flickering frequency is 96Hz with the Clearness slider set to '1' or '2', and setting it to '3' lowers it to 48Hz.

The Sony A8H has an optional black frame insertion feature. It can flicker at 60Hz or 120Hz, regardless of the refresh rate of the content, meaning that you can set it to 60Hz or 120Hz flickering in 60fps content, and the same goes for 120fps content. To get a 60Hz flicker, set Motionflow to 'Custom', then set Clearness to '3'. For a 120Hz flicker, the Clearness slider should be set to '1' or '2'.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

Update 07/15/2020: We've retested the motion interpolation with different content, and noticed a good amount of artifacts in scenes that have a lot of movement. This is likely due to the TV continuing to interpolate during intense scenes, whereas other TVs tend to stop.

The A8H can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps to make motion look smoother. It does a good job in slow-moving scenes, but unfortunately, it introduces a lot of artifacts when the action gets intense. To enable motion interpolation, set Cinemotion to 'Auto' and adjust the Smoothness slider to your preference.

5.0
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
39.4 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
14.4 ms

Due to the TV's near-instantaneous response time, lower frame rate content can appear to stutter. If the stuttering bothers you, enabling motion interpolation can help.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The Sony A8H can remove judder from all sources. Although it doesn't require any change in the settings to remove judder in 24p content, it's recommended to set Cinemotion to 'Auto', as without it, there are still a few frames that are out of place. For 60p, 60i, and content from native apps, set Cinemotion to 'Auto', Motionflow to 'Custom', and leave the Smoothness slider at '0'.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
HDMI Forum VRR
No
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1440p VRR Maximum
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
VRR Supported Connectors
No VRR support

The Sony A8H doesn't support any variable refresh rate technologies.

Inputs
8.2
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
18.7 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
110.2 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz
18.5 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
18.5 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
18.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
93.5 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
85.3 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
10.5 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1440p with VRR
N/A
4k with VRR
N/A
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
No

The Sony A8H has great low input lag, a significant upgrade from the A8G. It's low as long as you're in 'Game' mode, and PC users can be in either 'Game' or 'Graphics' mode, although 'Game' mode is what we used for testing and is the recommended one. The 'Game' mode input lag should be fine for most casual gaming, but not so much for competitive gaming.

To use motion interpolation, set Motionflow to 'Custom', adjust the Smoothness slider to '3', and set Cinemotion to 'Auto'.

8.3
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60 Hz
No
1440p @ 120 Hz
No
4k @ 60 Hz
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
No
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
No
8k @ 60 Hz
No

The Sony A8H supports most common resolutions, but it gets a bit complicated when it comes to 1440p. Native 1440p @ 60Hz doesn't quite work, as it's indicated in the display info panel as a downscaled native 4k image. However, it's possible to force a native 1440p @ 60Hz image, it just displays it with a huge border around. As for 1440p @ 120Hz, it's able to do so, but it skips frames.

The TV can display chroma 4:4:4 properly at all supported resolutions; you only need to be in 'Game' or 'Graphics' Picture mode. For full bandwidth signals like 4k @ 60Hz + 10-bit HDR, the HDMI signal format must be set to 'Enhanced format' for the input is use.

Inputs
Input Photos
Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 3
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 0
Composite In 1 (adapter required, not incl.)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 1
SD/SDHC 0

There's a composite input to connect older devices like DVD players. Unfortunately, it requires an adapter and it isn't included in the box.

Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
HDR10+
No
Dolby Vision
Yes
HLG
Yes
3D
No
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1
No
CEC Yes
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
USB 3.0
Yes (1)
Variable Analog Audio Out Yes
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

The Sony A8H is advertised as HDCP 2.3 compliant, but it isn't something that we test for.

Inputs
Audio Passthrough
ARC
Yes (HDMI 3)
eARC support
Yes
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
Yes
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC
Yes
5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
Yes
5.1 DTS via ARC
Yes
5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical