Sony Z9D 75” TV Review







My old plasma gave up the ghost recently, and I had to look for a new TV. I was not interested in a projector, simply because the setup is more difficult for my family and the net size I could achieve in my den will not be more than 80” or so, so that option was not practical or worth it.
Furthermore I did not want to use it in a totally dark room as others will be using the room too.

So some may jump in and ask, why not OLED? Indeed the blacks on a 2018 OLED are very impressive, but the cost of >65” panels is much higher, so it meant that I had to restrict myself to LED/LCD panels to meet my budget of under US$8000.

I actually wanted to wait for HDMI 2.1, but no TV released this year will have it.

Now the Z9D was reaching the end of it’s run, and whilst Sony is not well known for cutting prices, they usually give more discounts when it’s a runout model. So it meant that I could get the flagship model for not much more than the lower end 2017 choices.

I also consider the 85” X9000F, which was about US2500 more. In the end, the higher quality of the Z9D won out, and thankfully I choose it, since it may have been possible for the 85” TV to fit into a standard elevator.

What are the major plus points?

-       FALD – full array local dimming
-       >800 local dimming zones in this FALD TV
-       3D playback (last of it’s kind)
-       HDMI 2.0b
-       4 HDMI inputs with two capable of full HDMI specs (2&3)
-       Sturdy build
-       Potential upgrade to Dolby Vision
-       Peak brightness of up to 1900 nits

What are the major negative points?

-       No 2D to 3D conversion and vice versa
-       Non detachable power cord
-       Not as slim as the latest OLED or edge lit LED TVs


The TV is quite heavy, so make sure your wall can hold a 40kg set. The frame is thick but the general build quality is impressive. Apart from the 100”, which is hand built in Japan, the 65 and 75” versions are made in Malaysia.

The remote control is more traditional and does not have a cursor function. I actually prefer this to the more fiddly ones which rely on a cursor moving around the screen. Call me old fashioned..

Like the TV, the remote is well built and takes two AAA batteries. It has voice control which is pretty nifty. You get either the RMF-TX 201P which has flat buttons, or the RMF-TX 201U which has raised buttons. I preferred the latter.


The Andriod interface has been derided compared to the LG versions, but if you don’t treat the TV as a computer and load too many items, it works well.

To switch off all the apps, when the TV is turned on, point the remote at the TV, then press and hold the power button for more than 5 seconds, and the TV will turn off and reset itself.

You can also do a hard reset, but you lose all your settings. You have to press the power button and the volume (-) button on the TV until the LED light in the front of the TV turns green.

The audio is nothing to shout about, and works alright for listening to the news. There is a headphone out and an optical cable too. The Sony will output DD, DTS and PCM, but no Atmos.

Now how about the picture?



Now even if you have a Kuro or other plasma TVs from a few years back, you will still be very impressed with the Sony. Once you get the settings sorted ( I included some settings below ), you will not feel let down by the picture quality and black levels. In short, it’s very impressive.
I could not get totally black levels in the letterbox areas around my old Samsung plasma, but here in the Sony, it was black. The dark and near black details are very impressive. The OLEDs can give perfect blacks, but here, there is no banding, and the uniformity of the screen is very good. I also did not see any dirty screen effects (DSE).

Now here's a TV that does not force you to pull the blinds and have to view in near darkness to get the best picture. It's a versatile TV, and the main highlight is the HDR and it’s brightness. This is a light canon. Even when you compare it to the latest Samsung TVs, it’s still brighter. So even in a brightly lit room you can enjoy good contrast, and picture quality. Turn the light down more and the quality gets even better, but unlike the OLEDs and projectors, you are not limited to dim conditions. That's impressive. 

And Sony’s motion control is superb. The upscaling of DVDs and BR discs are also really good. Colours are superb. It’s quite easy to follow the settings available on the net as a start and they will get you very nice results.





(see this youtube video – around the 49 min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2846&v=sK9K1iPabdQ )









Technical specs site:

Sony KD-Z9D








Firmware releases thus far:


2016-11-18 - sony_dtvota_2016_1600612100_naa_auth:
"This software update (version PKG6.0612.0004NAA) provides general performance improvements of the TV."
Last Marshmallow release


2017-05-10 - sony_dtvota_2016_1602414100_naa_auth:
Android N
Picture-in-picture while in an app
Task-switching
Samba Interactive TV
Asphalt Nitro
BT audio support (only applicable to E models and not the Z)
Hybrid Log-Gamma (can be used via USB/Home Network and HDMI)
Improved Settings Screen (Shows up as a pane on the right instead of taking the whole screen)
Can use multiple Google accounts on the TV


2017-07-11 - sony_dtvota_2016_1602648100_naa_auth:
This software update (version PKG6.2648.0065NAA) provides the following changes and benefits:
Improvements over version PKG6.2414.0040NAA:


Adds support for the Amazon® Alexa™ app that runs on Amazon Echo™ devices
Resolves an issue where optical digital sound sometimes stops
Resolves an issue where the TV speakers and the sound from the PS4 controller are out of sync
Resolves an issue where frame drops occur and the AV is out of sync when playing 4K HDR 60fps content


2017-10-03 - sony_dtvota_2016_1602669100_naa_auth:
Not sure about what's changed in this release. The notes I have are as follows.


Adds support for the Amazon® Alexa™ app that runs on Amazon Echo™ devices
Resolves an issue where optical digital sound sometimes stops
Resolves an issue where the TV speakers and the sound from the PS4 controller are out of sync
Resolves an issue where frame drops occur and the AV is out of sync when playing 4K HDR 60fps content


2017-11-07 - sony_dtvota_2016_1602676100_naa_auth
"This software update (version PKG6.2676.0070NAA) adds the Google Assistant function."


2018-01-16 - sony_dtvota_2016_1602818100_naa_auth:
This software update (version PKG6.2818.0070NAA) provides the following benefits:


Improves general performance of the TV
Adds support for Dolby Vision™ content


2018-03-20 - sony_dtvota_2016_1602858100_naa_auth:
This software update (version PKG6.2858.00082NAA) provides the following benefits:


Improves general performance of the TV
Improves performance for Amazon Prime® video playback
Resolves a condition where a short beeping sound is heard when changing channels


Settings:

How to check the hours:
1. TV must be in standby mode. (Power off).
2. Press the following buttons on the Remote Control within a second of each other: DISPLAY > Channel 5 > Volume - > POWER. (Make sure to hit Volume- and NOT Volume+.)

The panel hours will be the third number at the bottom left of the.

To exit the self-check diagnostic screen, turn off the power to the TV by pressing the POWER button on the remote or the POWER button on the TV.



There's a settings website:


More settings off AVS:

4K/HDR/SDR Movie watching

Picture Mode Cinema Home

Brightness(15 SDR) Max
Contrast 95
Gamma 0
Black Level 49
Black Adjust Off
Adv. Contrast Enhancer Low
Auto Local Dimming Medium
Xtended Dynamic Range(Low SDR) High

Color
Color 50
Hue 0
Color Temperature Warm
Adv Color Temperature
R,G,B Gain Default
R,G,B Bias Default
Live Color Low
Clarity
Sharpness 50
Reality Creation Auto
Random noise reduction Off
Digital noise reduction Off
Smooth Gradation Low

Motion
Motionflow True Cinema
CineMotion High

Video Options
HDR Mode Auto
HDMI Video Range Auto
Color Space Auto
4K HDR/SDR Game Settings

Picture Mode Game

Brightness(15 SDR) Max
Contrast 88
Gamma 0
Black Level 49
Black Adjust Off
Adv. Contrast Enhancer Low
Auto Local Dimming Medium
Xtended Dynamic Range (Low SDR) High

Color
Color 50
Hue 0
Color Temperature Neutral
Adv Color Temperature
R,G,B Gain Default
R,G,B Bias Default
Live Color Low
Clarity
Sharpness 50
Reality Creation Auto
Random noise reduction Off
Digital noise reduction Off
Smooth Gradation Low

Motion
Motionflow Off
CineMotion Off

Video Options
HDR Mode Auto
HDMI Video Range Auto
Color Space Auto



3D Settings (Glasses and TV depth kept default)

Picture Mode Cinema Pro

Brightness Max
Contrast 95
Gamma 0
Black Level 49
Black Adjust Off
Adv. Contrast Enhancer Low
Auto Local Dimming Medium
Xtended Dynamic Range Low

Color
Color 52
Hue 0
Color Temperature Warm
Adv Color Temperature
R,G,B Gain Default
R,G,B Bias Default
Live Color Low
Clarity
Sharpness 50
Reality Creation Auto
Random noise reduction Off
Digital noise reduction Off
Smooth Gradation Low

Motion
Motionflow Standard
CineMotion High

Video Options
HDR Mode Auto
HDMI Video Range Auto
Color Space Auto


Cable/Sat/OTA Settings
Picture Mode Cinema Home


Brightness 15
Contrast 95
Gamma 0
Black Level 49
Black Adjust Off
Adv. Contrast Enhancer Low
Auto Local Dimming Medium
Xtended Dynamic Range Low

Color
Color 52
Hue 0
Color Temperature Warm
Adv Color Temperature
R,G,B Gain Default
R,G,B Bias Default
Live Color Medium
Clarity
Sharpness 55
Reality Creation Auto
Random noise reduction Off
Digital noise reduction Auto
Smooth Gradation Medium

Motion
Motionflow Off
CineMotion High

Video Options
HDR Mode Auto
HDMI Video Range Auto
Color Space Auto




Sports/Live Events


Picture Mode Custom


Brightness Max
Contrast Max
Gamma 0
Black Level 49
Black Adjust Off
Adv. Contrast Enhancer Low
Auto Local Dimming Medium
Xtended Dynamic Range High

Color
Color 52
Hue 0
Color Temperature Neutral
Adv Color Temperature
R,G,B Gain Default
R,G,B Bias Default
Live Color Low
Clarity
Sharpness 55
Reality Creation Auto
Random noise reduction Off
Digital noise reduction Auto
Smooth Gradation Medium

Motion
Motionflow Custom
Smoothness 3
Clearness 3
CineMotion Off

Video Options
HDR Mode Auto
HDMI Video Range Auto
Color Space Auto

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____________________________________________________________
 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

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