What is the Sony XE94?
The rear panel uses a more natural and neutral colour scheme and there are covers for the connections. There's also a grid like effect at the rear which effectively hides where the removable panels are, thus keeping the appearance clean. These panels cover the rear of the stand, along with the back of the panel where the mounts are for a 400 x 300 VESA wall bracket. There are also covers for the downwards and sideways facing connections as well as cable guides for better cable management.
That's because the XE9405 doesn't just use a 75-inch screen, it also has a direct LED backlight, so it's very big and heavy – measuring 1673 x 962 x 62mm (WxHxD) without the stand and 1673 x 1037 x 325mm with the stand, and weighing in at 42.8kg without the stand and 47.6kg with it attached. However despite the size and weight, the Sony remains an attractive and very well made TV.
Connections & Control
However all the buttons you'll need are there, including dedicated keys to take you to Netflix and the Google Play Store. There's also Voice Search on the remote, using a dedicated button and a built-in microphone. The XE94 also comes with an infra-red (IR) blaster that lets you control other devices from the TV remote, so you can use it to control your set-top box for example. Finally there's Sony’s TV SideView remote app, which is available free for both iOS and Android.
Features & Specs
MORE: What is Dolby Vision?The X1 Extreme processor also includes dual databases, superbit mapping for 4K and object-based HDR remastering, along with X-tended Dynamic Range PRO which is designed to lift both HDR and SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content by increasing or reducing the backlight levels for each zone of the screen. Thanks to Sony’s Quantum Dot based TRILUMINOS Display technology the colour gamut is wider and has been enhanced for greater accuracy with HDR as well. There's also Motionflow XR 1200Hz (using a native 100Hz panel) for improved motion handling and a new HDR gaming mode but, like all of Sony's 2017 models, the XE94 doesn't support 3D.
Sony KD-75XE9405 Recommended TV Settings
Picture Settings – Out-of-the-Box
Picture Settings – Calibrated
Picture Settings – High Dynamic Range
We measured the Perceptual Colour Volume of the XE9405, which takes the PQ EOTF out to 10,000nits and the Rec. 2020 colour gamut and measures them against the ICtCp colour graph which takes into account human visual perception. This measurement uses 393 data points and delivers a number expressed in Millions of Distinguishable Colours (MDC). So a theoretical display that could deliver 10,000nits of peak brightness and 100% of Rec. 2020 would be able to deliver 997 million distinguishable colours or an MDC number of 997. By comparison the XE94 produced an MDC number of 401, which is one of the highest measurements we've seen this year.
Black Levels and Contrast RatiosThe XE94 uses a VA panel and as a result it was able to deliver an excellent black level performance for an LCD TV with a measurement of 0.025nits, although that dropped to 0.001nits when the local dimming was engaged, even in Low mode. Using our target nighttime viewing brightness of 120nits, that resulted in a native on/off contrast ratio of 4,800:1 and a native ANSI contrast ratio of 2,568:1. These are excellent numbers for an LCD TV, especially when you consider that this is without even engaging the local dimming.
Screen Uniformity and Viewing AnglesThe screen uniformity was as impressive as the black levels and contrast ratio measurements, especially when you consider the sheer size of the panel. There was no obvious clouding, tinting or dirty screen effect and our only negative observation was that on full field test patterns the edges of the screen were slightly darker. However this really wasn't apparent when viewing actual content but what was occasionally visible was slight banding with camera pans across football pitches. This was very minor and we have yet to see a TV with a full array LED backlight that didn't suffer from slight banding to some degree or another.
Local Dimming and Viewing AnglesThe combination of a direct back light with 256 LEDs behind the panel resulted in an impressive local dimming performance from the XE94. Sony's implementation of local dimming has always been very impressive and as a result the 75XE94 was particularly effective at improving the perceived dynamic range, with deep blacks that didn’t unduly crush shadow detail and bright whites that gave images a real depth and impact. The local dimming algorithm was effective at minimising any haloing or brightness fluctuations in the image, thanks to the larger number of independent dimming zones.
In fact it was so good that we actually found counting the dimming zones quite tricky and in order to make out the zones we had to look at the TV from a fairly extreme angle. There are four settings for the Auto Local Dimming in the menu – Off, Low, Medium and High. The Low and Medium settings were best at enhancing the dynamic range of the image without adversely affecting it and Medium worked best for us – we generally found that it delivered excellent results with the majority of material without introducing unwanted artefacts. The viewing angles of the XE9405 also weren't bad for a VA panel but as soon as you move off axis by any significant degree then the local dimming haloing starts to become more obvious.
Motion HandlingAs a general rule Sony LCD TVs are rather good when it comes to motion handling. We measured the motion resolution at around 300 lines which is what we would expect for an LCD TV using sample-and-hold to display an image. If we selected Standard this increased to 600 lines of motion resolution but also results in the 'soap opera effect' and image artefacts. To increase the motion resolution to the full 1080 without the smoothing effects you can try Clear or Custom both of which apply black frame insertion (BFI) to enhance the motion without resorting to frame interpolation. In the case of the Custom setting you can leave the Smoothness control at zero and set the Clearness control to Max to get the full impact. Whether you choose Clear or Custom, the use of black frame insertion will make the picture darker, so you'll need to increase the brightness of the image and some people may experience flicker. For that reason, when it comes to film-based content we prefer using the True Cinema mode. This increases the frame rate without introducing interpolation, thus improving the motion and retaining a film-like quality without darkening the image or creating flicker.
Standard Dynamic Range Performance
The XE94 proved to be an excellent performer when it came to standard dynamic range content (SDR), primarily because it's a solid TV that gets the basics right. First of all there's the decent native black levels and the effective local dimming which, when combined with a good level of screen uniformity, produces images with an excellent inherent dynamic range. Then there's the superb image accuracy in terms of the greyscale, gamma and colour gamut, these form the basis of any image and as a result the 75XE94 looked extremely natural. The video processing is also impressive, particularly the upscaling, which is very important on a screen this size. The X1 Extreme processor can't work miracles, if the source content is heavily compressed there's only so much that can be done, but with a decent quality signal the XE9405 can deliver lovely images on its big 75-inch screen.
As a result, superior standard definition sources like DVDs looked great, especially when compared to broadcast TV and the XE94 handled our DVD test discs extremely well, correctly displaying the various patterns. Moving on to high definition content and things immediately improved, with good quality broadcasts looking excellent with plenty of detail, deep blacks, nice highlights and natural colours. When it came to football, as mentioned earlier, the XE9405 was largely free of banding and the motion handling was also excellent, making this a great TV for sports fans. The Sony was obviously impressive with Blu-rays and Moana looked simply stunning, with its incredibly detailed computer animated images bursting off the screen. The XE94 was equally as impressive with live action and the beautiful photography of The Lost City of Z was rendered with great precision and accuracy, resulting in a genuinely cinematic big screen experience
High Dynamic Range PerformanceThe XE94 performed extremely well in our high dynamic range tests, so we were expecting great things when it came to actual content and it didn't disappoint. The 75XE94 delivered fantastic HDR images, in fact it's one of the best performers we've seen in terms of HDR. The highly effective local dimming delivered deep blacks and very bright peak highlights, whilst the colours appeared natural and the whites looked correct. As a result the Sony produced some lovely images, delivering the specular highlights with precision, whilst retaining plenty of shadow detail and avoiding issues like bright edges or haloing – as long as you're sat central to the screen. The XE9405's tone mapping was particularly impressive and it handled content graded at 4000nits very effectively, correctly displayed the 'Arriving at Neverland' scene on the Ultra HD Blu-ray of Pan.
In fact we were hugely impressed by the HDR performance as we made our way through our current list of favourite 4K test discs. The Revenant simply looking stunning, whilst Life was especially impressive because it not only contains a staggering mount of detail in its photography and effects but also has plenty of scenes where bright white spacesuits are juxtaposed against the pitch blackness of space. Not only did the whites appear accurate but the dynamic range inherent in these scenes was simply breathtaking at times. The XE94 also delivered every tiny detail in the image, whilst accurately reproducing the wider colour gamut and rendering all the tiny highlights in the image. Planet Earth II was equally as impressive and the superb local dimming on the XE94 handled the hyenas at night sequence especially well, resulting in a perfect example of the overall benefits of HDR.
Sony include a number of audio features such as Clear Audio+ and S-Force Front Surround, both of which are intended to provide a more immersive sound experience. We found that these features tended to make the audio sound rather echoey and preferred the Music sound mode for a more neutral experience. There’s also the DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) and Clear Phase which are designed to get more from your streaming music sources. Overall the XE9405 proved a competent audio performer, although we would expect anyone buying a TV with a 75-inch screen size to almost certainly have some form of outboard sound solution of their own.
Input Lag & Energy Consumption
Presumably this is because with a 4K signal the TV doesn't have to upscale the content to match the native Ultra HD resolution of the panel but other manufacturers this year have managed to get input lags in the low 20s for both 1080p and 4K gaming. Whether you're gaming in 1080p or 4K it is important to use the Game mode because the other modes increase the lag to 88ms and you should also avoid using Motionflow because even in Game mode this will increase the input lag.
In terms of the XE94’s energy consumption it proved to be extremely efficient considering the screen size and using a full window 50% white pattern we measured the Standard picture mode at 120W and our calibrated Cinema Pro mode at just 89W. Of course once we moved on to HDR the level of energy consumption increased and the 75XE94 was drawing 270W with our optimal settings.
Sony KD-75XE9405 Video Review
How future-proof is this TV?
|4K Ultra HD Resolution|
|Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best)||66%|
|HDMI 2.0a Inputs|
|HDCP 2.2 Support|
|4K Streaming Services|
|Smart TV Platform|
|Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10)||8|
|What do these mean?|
- Excellent black levels
- Effective local dimming
- Superb HDR performance
- Impressive image accuracy
- Great video processing
- Decent sound quality
- Attractive design and good build quality
- Colour gamut could be wider
- Narrow optimal viewing angles
- Android remains an acquired taste
Sony KD-75XE9405 4K LCD TV Review
Should I buy one?The XE94 is an impressive addition to Sony's 2017 line-up of 4K Ultra HD TVs and the use of full array local dimming certainly pays dividends when it comes to HDR. The 75-inch screen size means that you get plenty of big screen action and yet the design remains minimalist and attractive. There's a decent set of connections and Sony's usual remote control, whilst the update to Android 7 has improved the performance of the smart TV platform. The 75XE94 boasts plenty of features including support for HDR10 and the promise of Dolby Vision and HLG to be added in the near future. The sheer size of the XE9405 means that the sound quality is surprisingly good but the input lag is a bit of a mixed bag, depending on whether you game in 1080p or 4K.
The out-of-the-box image accuracy is good, although we have seen better this year, and near reference after calibration. As a result the performance was very impressive with natural colours and plenty of detail thanks to some excellent video processing. The local dimming was extremely effective, delivering peak highlights and deep blacks that gave all images greater impact but were especially good with HDR content. The motion handling was also excellent, given the limitations of LCD technology, whilst the screen uniformity was equally as good although the optimal viewing angles are limited. However overall the 75XE9405 delivered a very impressive performance and, when it came to HDR, it produced some of the best images we have seen to date.
The Sony KD-75XE9405 represents a great choice for anyone looking for a large screen TV that can deliver a fantastic performance with both SDR and HDR content at a realistic price point and as such it comes highly recommended.
What are my alternatives?If you're looking for big screen entertainment but don't want to take the projector route, then your choices are somewhat limited. The XE94 certainly would make a viable alternative to a projector for anyone who wants a big screen but perhaps doesn't have sufficient space. The 75XE94 would also easily beat any projector when it comes to HDR content, so that's certainly worth considering. In terms of other large screen FALD TVs this year they are fairly thin on the ground and you're basically going to be looking at another Sony. If you've got the budget then the superb ZD9 has to be worth considering but the 75-inch model will set you back £6,599. However as an alternative there's also the XE90 which whilst not quite as good as the XE94 in terms of local dimming, does use a direct LED backlight and can be picked up for a very reasonable £3,599 in a 75-inch screen size.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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