Macroblocking and noise on new Sony A8 OLED

inigo85

Standard Member
Hello

Last week I received a new Sony A8 and while I am incredibly happy with the picture in almost every respect, there have been a few issues which are troubling me...mainly lots of noise in some near dark scenes and macroblocking.

I first noticed it when watching a Blu Ray of the TV show The Terror. Daytime scenes looked stunning, and while quite of lot of darker content looked fine, there were some instances where the noise in the blacks really leapt out (for example, in a dimly lit wide shot, a bookcase in the corner of the shot which should have been inky black had lots of shifting noise floating over it - sometimes this noise even caused a halo effect around surrounding areas of the image).

During other dimly lit scenes (especially set at night or at dusk) there were cases of macroblocking in parts of the image - including one scene in the final episode where the macoblocking was so bad it took you right out of the scene.

I have also noticed it during streamed content. Watching the first episode of Lovecraft Country on Now TV, during the dark scenes in the woods, again excessive grain and noise crept into the picture. The simplest way to describe it would be to say that it looked like the TV was really struggling with accurately displaying dark content. Not amount of fiddling with the picture settings seems to help.

I have not, however, noticed this problem when watching UHD or standard Blu rays.

The TV has not been professionally calibrated, but I am watching on the custom (or film) mode and have adjusted the picture settings using various website recommendations.

So, using the advice of the knowledgable members here, I wanted to know whether this a common problem with all OLED TVs (that their picture quality was so good that it revealed flaws in the compression/encode that was hidden on LCD TVs) or whether I might have pulled a short straw and purchased a TV with a bad panel.

I know that LG TVs from 2018 had an issue with near blacks, so could this be the same problem? Have any other A8 or OLED 2020 owners noticed this kind of problem?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as to whether I should think about returning my TV or not!
 

Slugsy01

Distinguished Member
This is one of the key reasons why I continue to persist with Panasonic, not a whiff of this issue.

I have to say, it was few and far between though on my C8 and the CX I believe is a lot better so I wonder whether it’s a setting or streaming issue?

I didn’t have this on my AG9 either so perhaps something to do with the content or streaming?
 

inigo85

Standard Member
I hope it’s due to content and not the TV...but if you have the A9 and haven’t seen any similar issues (as they are basically the same TV) then that would lead me to think it could be a panel problem...
 

Slugsy01

Distinguished Member
I hope it’s due to content and not the TV...but if you have the A9 and haven’t seen any similar issues (as they are basically the same TV) then that would lead me to think it could be a panel problem...
Yep, honestly, the picture was never the issue with AG9, on Sky, Netflix, Amazon were all great. Mild DSE but i never had an issue with the picture, apart from maybe DV being a bit dark.
 

inigo85

Standard Member
If it was just the streaming services I could it accept that it was just an issue with low compression artefacts but if a Blu Ray is exhibiting macroblocking and excessive noise then yeah, I’m starting to think it might be the TV...which is a huge pain if that is the case!
 

derek1999

Active Member
I didn't know the Terror was out on Blu-Ray (well, in the UK that is).... been looking to watch Series 01 for ages ;)

Just wondering if you've tried any other Blu-Rays (or 4K's)? As it could be an issue with the disc and it's encode..

Perhaps pull a few more movies from your collection (that have a similar look) and see if they all exhibit the issue?
 

inigo85

Standard Member
Tried to put the A8 through a torture test so put on a Blu Ray of The Descent...needless to say it didn’t fare well!

No macroblocking issues but there were many occasions where white streaks filled with noise shimmered and flicked across the screen (especially in the last third of the movie). It really didn’t look right, so I’m sending the TV back.

In the meantime I decided to go all in (following Slugsy’s advice and looking at dozens of reviews) and have brought a Panasonic HZ. Have now tested the same discs on the new TV and no problems at all!

BTW, regarding The Terror, I had to import a Region A Blu Ray. A digital copy can be brought for £25 via Amazon Prime. If you don’t have a region A player I highly recommend giving it a go, it’s one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen.
 

inigo85

Standard Member
Thanks, I found that an interesting read! So these issues I guess are always going to be there, it’ll just be that some TVs are better at dealing with them than others.

Just as an example though, here is a photo I took during Lovecraft Country...it was a scene where a pitch black sky was intermittently lit by a few lightning strikes - and this was the grain and noise that appeared on the TV!
 

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Slugsy01

Distinguished Member
Tried to put the A8 through a torture test so put on a Blu Ray of The Descent...needless to say it didn’t fare well!

No macroblocking issues but there were many occasions where white streaks filled with noise shimmered and flicked across the screen (especially in the last third of the movie). It really didn’t look right, so I’m sending the TV back.

In the meantime I decided to go all in (following Slugsy’s advice and looking at dozens of reviews) and have brought a Panasonic HZ. Have now tested the same discs on the new TV and no problems at all!

BTW, regarding The Terror, I had to import a Region A Blu Ray. A digital copy can be brought for £25 via Amazon Prime. If you don’t have a region A player I highly recommend giving it a go, it’s one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen.
That’s great news overall, I’m glad you found the new TV past that test, I was sure it would!:thumbsup:
 

derek1999

Active Member
Tried to put the A8 through a torture test so put on a Blu Ray of The Descent...needless to say it didn’t fare well!

No macroblocking issues but there were many occasions where white streaks filled with noise shimmered and flicked across the screen (especially in the last third of the movie). It really didn’t look right, so I’m sending the TV back.

In the meantime I decided to go all in (following Slugsy’s advice and looking at dozens of reviews) and have brought a Panasonic HZ. Have now tested the same discs on the new TV and no problems at all!

BTW, regarding The Terror, I had to import a Region A Blu Ray. A digital copy can be brought for £25 via Amazon Prime. If you don’t have a region A player I highly recommend giving it a go, it’s one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen.

Guess it's a combination of source and target OLED then. The pic of Lovecraft Country looks terrible... surprised the A8 made such a hash of it!

Glad you got something that works - guess the near black issue can be a real problem. Which HZ did you go for?

Been flip-flopping between HZ, A8/AG9 or just to ignore OLED and go for a temp LCD TV (something like an XH95), as my old Panny plasma has developed a problem, so I need a new TV soon.

On The Terror - saw the first 2 episodes when they aired free on BT/Sky (don't have BT). Saw the silly price on on Prime and ignored it (although that will probably be even more prone to near black and streaming quality issues!) - guess I'll grab the US version :)
 

inigo85

Standard Member
Decided to go all in and went for a HZ2000 (had to cancel several things I had on pre-order for Xmas in order to make up the funds!).

Picture quality so far is fantastic. Near blacks are far better than the Sony and the overall picture is sharper and punchier.

Did quite a bit of reading before purchasing and an HZ1000/1500 should provide almost as good a picture (including the same brilliant handing of near black levels) just with less brightness from the custom panel of the 2000.

Despite the amazing picture quality, there does seem to be a few weaknesses with OLED panels but the Panasonic seems to avoid them, so I’d recommend them over the Sony (just based on my experience though!)

And yes, get a US Blu of The Terror - you won’t regret it!!
 

Farhang223

Novice Member
I experience the same issue with a sony oled A85. Its performance is terrible in dark scenes when streaming hd or sd content. It’s a real shame. I had a 2018 model AG8, which didn’t have this problem at all, so despite the A8 better performance in other areas, I regret the upgrade.
 

Slugsy01

Distinguished Member
I experience the same issue with a sony oled A85. Its performance is terrible in dark scenes when streaming hd or sd content. It’s a real shame. I had a 2018 model AG8, which didn’t have this problem at all, so despite the A8 better performance in other areas, I regret the upgrade.
Do you have any examples so I can check on my AG9, at 77”, I’ll be able to easily see it.

What are your settings? Could it be settings specific?

I read on the US forum that they believe macro blocking to be panel specific and a fault. I can’t say I know that for sure myself, but I’m really surprised that you have this issue as I have put my AG9 through rigorous tests, as near black issues are my pet hate and I haven’t had any issues other than minor black crush
 
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Farhang223

Novice Member
Do you have any examples so I can check on my AG9, at 77”, I’ll be able to easily see it.

What are your settings? Could it be settings specific?

I read on the US forum that they believe macro blocking to be panel specific and a fault. I can’t say I know that for sure myself, but I’m really surprised that you have this issue as I have put my AG9 through rigorous tests, as near black issues are my pet hate and I haven’t had any issues other than minor black crush
Are you in the UK? Does a scene from La La Land on Iplayer help?
 

Slugsy01

Distinguished Member
Are you in the UK? Does a scene from La La Land on Iplayer help?
Yep, can do, if you can tell me scene. Mind you iPlayer I have found to be really hit and miss in terms of streaming quality.
 

Grissom1234

Standard Member
Changing to vivid on the a85 removes the issues and you can tweak it's other settings to avoid over blowing stuff as I had the same problem with game of thrones on Blu-ray.
 

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