These are the settings we used to calibrate our Sony 55" XBR-55X900F TV, and we expect them also to be applicable for the 49" version (XBR-49X900F), the 65" version (XBR-65X900F), the 75" version (XBR-75X900F), and the 85" version (XBR-85X900F). The following settings are good for any content, from watching movies to TV shows and gaming. For gaming, some little adjustments need to be done, and they are listed below.
For movies and TV content, we selected the 'Custom' 'Picture Mode', since it was the most accurate picture mode that brought us the closest to our calibration goals and it brings the image quality close to what the content creator intended it be. The 'Auto picture mode' was left turned 'Off' since we did not want the picture settings to change automatically depending on the played content. The 'Light sensor' was also left turned 'Off' since we did not want the TV luminance to change depending on the ambient light level. This can be useful if you have a light level that often changes throughout the day, as you won't have to open the TV setting to change the backlight setting all the time to adjust the TV luminance. The Color setting on the main setting page is the same as in the 'Color' tab, and we will talk about it later.
In the 'Brightness' tab, we left the 'Contrast' to 90 as it gave us a good result in our calibration and also because it is a safe value that does not produce any clipping in the bright white. The 'Gamma' was left to 0, once again because it gave us a good result in our calibration process, but if you notice some black crush while watching a movie (lost of detail in the dark), you can raise it to bring more detail in the shadows. The 'Black level' was left 50 as we found it to be the most accurate and we rarely find it to be beneficial with normal content (a low value will often only crush the shadows). The 'Black adjust' and 'Adv. contrast enhancer' was left turned 'Off' since those are only images processing and won't change the actual contrast of the TV.
For normal home use, you should turn On the 'Auto local dimming' and 'X-tended Dynamic Range' (however, they were turned off during our calibration process). For both the later options ( 'Auto local dimming' and 'X-tended Dynamic Range') there are 3 levels of intensity ('High', 'Medium', and 'Low') that can be selected. The 'High' setting of the 'Auto local dimming' will give you the strongest and most aggressive local dimming but in some case, the local dimming can be too aggressive when on 'High' and can dim too much some parts of the screen, or it can lag a bit behind. In those cases, you can try the 'Medium' or 'Low' setting or even turning it off. The Local Dimming setting, like all picture settings, needs to be set for each input, as well as for the native apps and menus. If you are seeing severe blooming in the menus, adjusting the local dimming feature can help to eliminate this.
The 'X-tended Dynamic Range' feature brightens the highlights and is useful especially for HDR, and should be set to 'high'. In some case, if you find highlights too bright, you can set it to a lower intensity.
In the 'Color' tab, we left at the default value 'Color' (50) and 'Hue' (0), as those setting are the most accurate. We selected 'Expert 1' 'Color temperature' as it was the most accurate color temperature and the closest to the warm temperature of 6500K. Here, if you find the picture quality to be too warm (red or yellowish) or even dull, you can set the color temperature to something colder, and it should make the picture quality a bit more vibrant. 'Live Color' was also left turned 'Off', once again because 'Off' is the most accurate setting. When turned on, 'Live color' will oversaturate the color, making on-screen content more vibrant (color have more pop), but the result picture quality will be less accurate. The 'Adv. color. temperature' is where you adjust the 2 and 10 points white balance. This should only change if you have some calibration tools.
In the 'Clarity' tab, we left 'Sharpness' to 50 (the default value) since we did not want to add any sharpness (high-resolution content usually do not need any added sharpness). 'Reality Creation' was also left turned 'Off', but it could be turned on if you are watching some older content with a lower resolution since it can help to improve the quality of the image. You can adjust with the 'Resolution' slider 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'. It will not be possible to apply this setting if you are not watching a movie through other means than via a Blu-ray player, so in our case, we did not use this feature. 'Random noise reduction', 'Digital noise reduction' and 'Smooth gradation' were all left turned 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 normally with 8-bit content since it will smooth the 8-bit gradation to make it look much better with less banding,
In the 'Motion' tab, we left the 'Motionflow' and 'Cinemotion' turned 'Off', but if you like the motion interpolation (or commonly named the soap opera effect), simply adjust the 'Motionflow' setting to 'Custom' and increase the 'Smoothness' slider. The 'Clearness' slider controls the image flicker control of the TV. If you want to know more about this feature you can click here.
If you are watching a movie via 60p/60i (cable and also via the internal app like NetFlix) and notice some judder, simply set 'Motionflow' to 'True Cinema' and 'CineMotion' to 'High' to have a judder-free experience. This doesn't add any soap opera effect. You can read more about the judder control here.
In the 'Video options' tab, 'HDR mode', HDMI video range', and 'Color space' are all best left to 'Auto', as when set to 'Auto', the TV should select the best setting depending on the content played.
For a dark room, we set the TV 'Brightness' to 1, which gave us a luminosity of about 100 cd/m². This should be good for most dark rooms and home theaters. If the TV is still too bright, you can lower the 'Brightness' to minimum, but beyond that, you will have to go to the 'Motion' tab, set 'Motionflow' to 'Custom', and set the 'Clearness' slider to a higher value to engage the black frame insertion feature, which will lower considerably the TV luminance.
For a room with an average lighting, we set the TV 'Brightness' to 9, which gave us a luminosity of about 200 cd/m². This should be good for most average rooms with some light, during the day. Once again, you can adjust it a bit more to accommodate your room.
For a bright room, with a lot lighting, we set the TV 'Brightness' to 'Max', which gave us the maximum luminosity of the TV could produce. This should be good for a room with a lot of lights. Here, you will be at the maximum luminance the TV can reach.
Before you connect any HDR device via an HDMI input (HDMI ports 2 and 3), you need to set the 'HDMI signal format' to 'Enhanced format' from the 'External input' menu. This will allow the HDMI port 2 and 3 to accept the full HDMI 2.0 bandwidth. Note that only the HDMI ports 2 and three can accept the full HDMI 2.0 bandwidth.
When HDR content is detected the TV should switch automatically to the good settings, but if you want to be sure you can verify that the 'Brightness' is set to 'Max', that ' Auto local dimming' is set to 'High' and that 'X-tended Dynamic Range' is set to 'High'. You don't need to change the picture setting to view HDR content, as the TV will simply change to the HDR mode. To know if you are in HDR, you can simply go in the picture setting, and you will see in the top right corner, a little HDR logo.
For playing games via a video game console or PC, simply choose the 'Game' 'Picture mode' to get the best input lag possible, and you can keep the general settings previously mentioned.
For HDR gaming, the same recommended settings from the HDR are recommended ( 'HDMI signal format' to 'Enhanced format' and with 'Brightness' is set to 'Max', that ' Auto local dimming' is set to 'High' and that 'X-tended Dynamic Range' is set to 'High'), but this time you have to select the 'Game' picture mode, similarly to what is recommended for SDR gaming. And the same HDR logo is going to be in the top right corner if you are in HDR.
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.