How the Sony A95K OLED TV's settings can get you the best pictures on the planet (2024)

By John Archer


The settings and tweaks that will make it the best it can be

How the Sony A95K OLED TV's settings can get you the best pictures on the planet (1)

(Image: © Sony)

In our Sony A95K review, we said that this Quantum Dot OLED TV delivers arguably the best picture quality we’ve ever seen from a consumer TV. And mercifully, it's not that hard to enjoy this quality either – unlike some of the best TVs, it's quite forgiving when it comes to how it looks under different picture and sound settings.

The Sony A95K, much more than the other QD-OLED TV on the market today – the Samsung S95B – is a TV that’s hard to make look or sound bad. Which is great, because you shouldn't have to be a calibration expert to get the best quality from the best OLED TVs, or other premium sets.

There are still, though, a number of settings we’d recommend if you really want to get the absolute best out of it – and this is definitely a TV you owe it to yourself to get the best out of!

The basics

We’d start off by deactivating the TV’s ambient light sensor option. The impact of this sensor is reasonably effective at compensating for bright room conditions, but tends to make pictures too dark in dark room settings. Something that seems especially unfortunate when you’re talking about pictures as beautifully rich in contrast, shadow detail and HDR impact as the Sony A95K’s.

For most non Dolby Vision viewing, be it SDR or HDR, we’d recommend that you stick with the A95K’s Standard picture preset. This delivers slightly more dynamic range than the more accurate Cinema preset, adding more brightness and punch to bright highlights as well as slightly increasing the baseline brightness level with full screen bright images.

This might track slightly more aggressively in its impact than exact mastering values, but it gets more out of the screen’s OLED potential, with enough sensitivity to ensure that nothing looks unbalanced, forced, noisy or unnatural in any way. In fact, if anything – as per the brief of Sony’s Cognitive Processor XR image processing system – the Standard mode picture actually looks more rather than less natural.

Note, too, that in Standard picture preset the A95K applies an unbeatable SDR-to-HDR conversion for SDR content – it's amazingly good. Other brands have tried this in the past but ultimately backed away from it due to the difficulties of making such upconversions look convincing, but Sony has absolutely nailed it. Upconverted pictures just look better rather than forced or over-processed. You can deactivate the upconversion by switching to the Custom setting if you wish, but it’s hard to imagine anyone but the most absolutely die-hard purists feeling the need to do this.

While the Standard preset would be our personal choice for pretty much any viewing, the Cinema mode is also a beautiful option for viewers who want to watch films matched more closely in terms of color and, especially, light range to the way they were originally mastered.

We would recommend, though, that you only use this preset in a pretty much fully blacked out room, as it does take a significant pinch of brightness out of both picture highlights and baseline brightness levels.

Given how close the Sony A95K is to matching the picture performance of even professional mastering monitors, there’s a more compelling argument than usual for paying to have it professionally calibrated for accuracy within the context of your living space. Especially as the TV offers full support for the popular Calman calibration system. That said, given that a TV calibration costs hundreds of pounds, we do refer you back to our earlier assertion that the A95K’s pictures look remarkably natural, balanced and believable right out of the box.

As a sign of just how unusually engaging all of the Sony A95K’s presets are, in fact, even its Vivid preset feels more like a very usable and engaging bright room picture option than the usual overblown foulness such extreme modes usually represent. Normally, we tell you to avoid these like the plague, but this is actually viable (though not our first choice) in some situations… so long as you tone down the over-enthusiastic motion smoothing system, at least. We'll come to that shortly.

How the Sony A95K OLED TV's settings can get you the best pictures on the planet (2)

If you’re watching a Dolby Vision source – which we’d recommend you do as often as possible, as it looks amazing on Sony’s QD-OLED set – we’d strongly lean towards the default Dolby Vision Bright option over the Dolby Vision Dark alternative, even if you’re watching in a blacked out room. The Dark setting feels like it’s stripping many of the advantages of QD-OLED screen out of the picture and leaving you with a much less immersive and engaging experience.

In a very dark room, there's nothing wrong with choosing the ostensibly more accurate Dolby Vision Dark setting. But Dolby has itself not only designed the Bright mode, but consented to being provided as the default Dolby Vision option. And if it’s good enough for its creator, especially on a TV as capable of high contrast and vibrant color as the A95Ks, then it’s good enough for us.

The smaller stuff

Looking at some of the A95K’s smaller but still potentially significant picture tweaks, Sony’s Motionflow settings are particularly worth checking out.

We’d advise against sticking with the default Auto mode that the Vivid preset uses, as this causes too much ‘soap opera effect’ (ie over-smoothing) and shimmering around the edges of moving objects. The best setting overall is for us the Custom Motionflow setting, with Smoothness set to level 2 and and Clearness set to Low. The High Clearness setting is interesting in the way its black frame insertion system creates a truly 24fps cinema feel, but it also causes the picture to look distractingly flickery.

So long as you’ve set a fairly low Smoothness setting in the Motionflow Custom mode, we’d suggest leaving the Film Mode setting on High, as with the other settings judder can take on a slightly billowy look.

How the Sony A95K OLED TV's settings can get you the best pictures on the planet (3)

The HDR Tone Mapping feature under the Brightness menu header is an interesting one too, allowing you to select whether the TV optimizes for brightness, especially in peak bright areas, when mapping HDR sources to the A95K’s screen capabilities, or whether it optimizes for retaining subtle detail in bright areas.

There are arguments in favour of both, though on the A95K we personally preferred the Gradation option, as the Brightness Preferred option felt less necessary than it does on Sony’s regular OLED TVs, and can lead to clipping (loss of subtle shading detail) in the brightest picture areas.

The A95K’s Black Adjust and Advanced Contrast Enhancer features deliver their most balanced results – at least for typical living room conditions – on their Medium setting, exposing a little too much backlight detail in their High settings and crushing a touch of detail out of dark areas in their Low settings. Though the latter isn’t a bad option for dark room viewing.

The Live Color option’s High setting is best avoided in our book, as it tends to overcook skin tones, and we personally preferred to set the Digital Noise Reduction and Random Noise Reduction features under the Sharpness menu to Low rather than sticking with their Auto defaults. You should even turn the noise reduction settings off entirely with inputs that will be receiving pretty much exclusively 4K sources from, say, a 4K Blu-ray player.

Don't forget sound

Sony provides an impressive amount of flexibility over the A95K’s sound, and since the TV sounds so good it’s worth taking the time to use some of them if you're not pairing it with a Dolby Atmos soundbar or AV receiver.

In particular, it’s worth choosing the appropriate sound preset (Music, Cinema etc) for the type of content you’re watching. Try experimenting with the Surround Effect in the Sound Customization menu, too.

Finally, in the unlikely event that you’re struggling to hear dialogue from a particular source, the Voice Zoom feature is very effective, especially as the A95K’s Acoustic Surface sound system projects sound forward so well.

How the Sony A95K OLED TV's settings can get you the best pictures on the planet (4)

John Archer

AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.

See more how-to articles
How the Sony A95K OLED TV's settings can get you the best pictures on the planet (2024)


Is the Sony A95K worth the money? ›


It's been a banner year for TVs, with seemingly every high-profile release being more exciting than the last. The Sony A95K, however, is far and away the best—at least when it comes to picture quality.

What is the peak brightness of Sony A95K? ›

Brightness is slightly up over the best regular OLED TVs, peaking at 1020 nits (though this does drop off quite quickly). This is enough to matter – especially when it comes to the sort of small peak brightness areas that contribute so much to an authentic high dynamic range experience.

What is the best picture mode setting? ›

Start With a Factory Picture Mode Preset

Also stay away from the “vivid” and “dynamic” modes, which tend to overemphasize contrast and sharpness and lower brightness too much. Instead, we've found that modes with names such as “cinema,” “movie,” and “expert” generally provide the best results.

What is the best picture mode to use? ›


The cinema picture mode (sometimes referred to as “movie”) is regarded as the mode with the most “accurate color reproduction” because it's what directors and producers use when filming.

Which aspect of picture quality is always higher with an OLED screen? ›

OLED technology delivers an incredibly high contrast ratio and high resolution. And with no backlight, OLED emits light through each pixel, allowing for a thinner display.

Is Sony A95K better than A90J? ›

Our Verdict. The Sony A95K OLED is an improvement over the Sony A90J OLED, especially with watching HDR content. The A95K uses new QD-OLED technology, which is a type of OLED that allows it to display more vivid colors and brighter highlights than the A90J.

Which OLED is better LG or Sony? ›

The Sony A8H OLED and the LG CX OLED are almost identical in performance. The Sony delivers slightly better picture quality, as it has better gradient handling and a much better color volume.

Is Sony OLED better than Samsung? ›

The Samsung TV gets a bit brighter in general, and colors are significantly brighter thanks to its new QD-OLED display technology. On the other hand, the Samsung TV sacrifices accuracy in HDR for a more vivid, impactful image, so if image fidelity matters to you, the Sony is a better choice.

Why is my Sony OLED so dark? ›

If Picture mode is set to Cinema or Custom, the screen may become dark. If the screen is still dark after you change the picture quality mode, change the setting Backlight, Picture, Brightness and adjust the brightness to your taste.

Does peak brightness matter OLED? ›

Peak brightness determines the maximum light output capacity of an OLED or QD display within a frame or scene, supporting enhanced brightness and contrast ratios across a dynamic image.

What are the best picture settings for qn90a? ›

We recommend choosing the 'Movie' picture mode, as it's the most accurate one out of the box, and allows for the most customization. From the Expert Settings menu, we recommend leaving the Contrast at '45,' and Sharpness at '0. ' We also left Color at the default value of '25,' and Tint (G/R) at '0.

What's the best HDR picture mode? ›

HDR TVs have picture settings that control maximum HDR brightness. These settings are often called backlight, OLED light, peak luminance, etc. To utilize the full potential of your HDR TV, we recommend that you set the HDR brightness to the maximum in picture settings.

Should sharpness be high or low? ›

Turning the sharpness all the way down doesn't always yield the best picture quality as I've found that 1-2 notches above or below 20 percent of the sharpness value gives the best balance between clarity and accuracy.

What sharpness should your TV be on? ›

To properly set sharpness, turn the setting down until you can no longer see false white lines and noise around hard edges. With some TVs, the picture will become noticeably soft when the sharpness is set near or at zero; if that happens, bump up the setting a few ticks to make sure you aren't losing actual detail.

Is HDR effect a good picture mode? ›

On a good-quality TV displaying real HDR TV shows, movies and games, you'll see brighter highlights, better contrast and deeper, more realistic colors. The image overall is just more lifelike.

What is a major disadvantage of the OLED display? ›

Limited viewing angles

One of the biggest disadvantages of OLED TVs is that they generally have much narrower viewing angles than LCD and plasma TVs. This means that if you're watching from off to the side, the picture will appear dimmer and less vibrant.

Which display is better for eyes IPS or OLED? ›

To sum it up, OLED displays are better for your eyesight. They have more natural lighting, better color contrast, and a wider color range. However, no matter what type of display you have, you will hurt your eyesight if you don't practice safe TV viewing.

What is calibrated picture mode? ›

The big exception is Vizio who has a Calibrated and a Calibrated Dark mode. The former is for an accurate picture in a brightly lit room, while the latter is great if you watch TV with most of the lights off.

Can I calibrate my TV myself? ›

Can I calibrate my TV myself? The short answer is yes, you can calibrate your new 4K HDR TV yourself. There are generally a number of presets built into new TV's calibration menus. You'll often see these options called Cinema, Sports, or Vivid.

Is it worth paying for TV calibration? ›

Calibration should improve how your TV looks, but exactly how much depends on how accurate its initial settings were beforehand. It usually costs a couple hundred dollars, so is typically only worthwhile for high-end TVs and viewers who demand peak performance.

Should I turn sharpness all the way up? ›

That means when your sharpness is set too high, you could lose some of the crisp detail of that fancy 4K TV. In some cases, the best setting is actually zero, while on most TVs the setting is best in the bottom 20% or so.

Which is the best Sony TV in the world? ›

The best Sony TV we've tested is the Sony A95K OLED. This impressive OLED delivers unrivaled picture quality with deep inky blacks and bright, vibrant colors. Dark scenes look incredible, with no distracting blooming around bright highlights in dark scenes, and those highlights stand out incredibly well.

Is Sony OLED better than Samsung Qled? ›

Our Verdict. The Sony A8H OLED is a bit better than the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED. Since the Sony is an OLED, it has an infinite contrast ratio that the Samsung just can't match. Screen uniformity is much better on the Sony, and so are the viewing angles.

Which OLED screen is best? ›

The Samsung S95B is our favorite OLED TV for 2022 because its QD-OLED design, which combines quantum dots with an OLED panel, makes it the brightest, most flexible OLED TV we've ever tested.

What is the alternative to A95K? ›

The A80K is an excellent alternative to the A95K if you're looking for a large screen size OLED TV. It has many of the same specifications, including the Cognitive Processor XR image and sound tech. And it features a similar vibrating front panel that provides the central channel for your sound.

Is anything better than OLED? ›

We'll start with picture quality. In our side-by-side comparison reviews, OLED beats QLED every time. We compared last year's Editors' Choice OLED TV -- the LG C1 series -- against the best 2022 Samsung 4K QLED TV, the Samsung QN90B series. The Samsung QLED came closer than ever to the LG OLED, but the LG still won.

Is 4K better than OLED? ›

In looking at standard 4K LED TVs vs 4K OLED TVs, both offer great viewing experiences and improvements over 1080p. But LG OLED technology will truly transform your home entertainment experience with superior blacks, cinematic colors and High Dynamic Range with Dolby Vision support.

Are Sony better than LG? ›

Verdict: While the brands offer comparative technology, LG has a slight edge in its offering of QNED and premium sets for those for who money is no object. Still, it's pretty close, with Sony offering a good range of models.

What is the lifespan of OLED TV? ›

Ever since OLED was a research project, the lifespan of the organic material has been debated. There is no reason to worry, says LG. The latest generation of OLED TVs now has a lifespan of 100,000 hours, according to a report by Korea Times.

What is the input lag on Sony A95K? ›

Testing input lag with an HDFury Diva HDMI matrix(Opens in a new window), the A95K showed a latency of 9.8 milliseconds in Game mode, squeaking just under the 10ms threshold we use to consider a TV among the best for gaming.

How do I stop Sony OLED burn? ›

Avoid displaying static images with bright colors (including white), clocks or logos on any portion of the screen. Set the picture settings based on the ambient conditions. Standard is recommended for home use and when viewing content that often displays the station logos, etc.

How do I calibrate the color on my OLED TV? ›

This is done using the 'Direct Display Control' (DDC) menu in the top right. The tab should turn green and confirm you are connected to the TV (here it shows as LG 2020 OLED). In this menu you can select the picture mode you want to calibrate in the 'Display Mode Selection' drop down.

Is dark mode better for OLED screen? ›

The answer is yes.

According to a study from Purdue University, using dark mode can be more energy efficient, especially for OLED screens.

Is the difference between LED and OLED noticeable? ›

As mentioned above, there are many display panel types that use LED backlighting. If you compare an OLED monitor or TV with a basic LED-lit model using an inexpensive VA panel, the difference will, quite literally, be like night and day. This is because the most striking upgrade provided by OLEDs is their black levels.

Which is easier on the eyes LED or OLED? ›

In some cases, the reduction in blue light can result in half as much blue light being emitted when compared to LED/LCD panels. In short, this means OLED monitors are better for your eyes. It's important to reduce blue light as much as possible, as it's high energy visual light with the potential to be harmful.

How do I get the best picture on my Sony OLED? ›

Adjust the settings to find the image you find is best. We set the HDR Tone Mapping setting to 'Gradation Preferred' but set it to 'Brightness Preferred' if you want a brighter image. There are also 'IMAX Enhanced' and 'Cinema' Picture Modes, but they're less accurate than 'Custom'.

What are the best a90j picture settings? ›

We recommend leaving the Contrast at '90', Gamma at '0', Black Level at '50', and Peak Luminance at 'High'. For our calibration, Black Adjust and Advanced Contrast Enhancer were disabled, but you should adjust these to your liking. You should also adjust the Brightness to your specific viewing conditions.

Which is better Dolby Vision bright or dark? ›

When watching Dolby Vision content, you choose between 'Dolby Vision Bright', 'Dolby Vision Dark', and 'Vivid'. 'Dolby Vision Dark' is the most accurate, but 'Dolby Vision Bright' also produces a brighter image and it's still accurate.

How can I improve the quality of 4K photos? ›

How do I convert a JPEG to 4K? Step 1: Upload jpeg by choosing from your device or PC, Dropbox, Google Drive, URL, or drag and drop. Step 2: Wait for AI to upscale your picture to 4k resolution. Step 3: Download your 4K picture.

Should I put HDR on or off? ›

Since HDR works to give you the best of light and dark, it's great to have the setting on when capturing landscape photos. If you want to capture something in motion, turn off HDR to prevent dark or washed-out areas.

What HDR setting should I use? ›

For most times, using the default HDR/SDR brightness balance setting or one close to it should work well. You could set the HDR/SDR brightness balance setting higher to help improve the overall contrast between the brightest and darkest parts of the content.

Whats better vivid or HDR? ›

Compared with traditional technologies, HDR Vivid features greater contrasts, while also offering 3D display capabilities, enabling users to view lifelike images in more brilliant hues, with greater detail in dark regions, and more accuracy in bright regions.

What picture mode is best for Dolby Vision? ›

Dolby Vision

We recommend the 'Cinema (User)' Picture Mode, but there's also the 'Filmmaker Mode' that optimizes the content as the filmmaker intended. It's slightly more accurate, but it also locks most settings, so you can't adjust it to your viewing preferences.

What is the best Dolby Vision setting? ›

There are two additional Picture Modes for Dolby Vision: 'Dolby Vision Bright,' and 'Dolby Vision Dark. ' We recommend 'Dolby Vision Dark,' but the 'Bright' setting might be better if you aren't watching in a completely dark room.

Should I use HDR or Dolby Vision? ›

If you are looking for a HDR-compatible TV, one that supports HDR 10 or HDR10+ is perfectly fine. If you want to get the absolute best in picture quality, Dolby Vision as a technology is what you should consider. It has better specs and looks better than HDR10+, but it isn't cheap.

What is Sony auto Picture mode? ›

Auto Picture Mode

Automatically selects the picture mode based on the content being viewed. Setting Values: Off or On. The Auto Picture Mode function can only be used with HDMI input.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated:

Views: 6009

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.