Perhaps not the youngest, but many of us remember those years when tube televisions were used, when to place a 32-inch screen you needed half a living room due to its large size. At that time Sony was one of the most powerful companies on the market and its televisions provided a picture quality superior to that of many of its competitors. However, over the years, other companies, such as LG or Samsung , began to dominate the television market, relegating the Japanese company to the background. However, this does not mean that Sonyhas stopped making televisions. Far from it, the Japanese are still very present in the market, with several series that incorporate the latest technology and that, for the most part, offer great image quality . One of these series is the Sony ZD9 , which includes three models aimed at the high-end and a public with a considerable budget.
A large TV, with 4K UHD resolution , compatible with HDR , X1 Extreme image processor , Backlight Master Drive lighting system and Android TV system for a very complete experience. All this accompanied by all the image enhancement technology that the Japanese company has. We have been able to test the 65-inch model for a few days. Will Sony manage to captivate us again? Let's check it out.
Sleek front and back design
The Sony ZD9 sports a design very similar to the company's XD93 and XD94 models , a design with straight lines , minimalist but contemporary. We have a flat panel surrounded by a black bezel 1.5 centimeters thick and with an outer frame brushed metal formed by two stripes feature a champagne gold color and are separated by a thin black line. Sony has chosen to leave aside the usual silver color that is used in this type of device and opts for a gold that, although it may like more or less, is very elegant.
That same combination of gold and black has been carried to the base, although in this with the reverse order. That is, we have a brushed metal base in black , surrounded by a thin frame in the same gold color as the screen frame. The base offers a slight inclination, forming a small triangle at the back, and gives all the prominence to the screen, since its size is relatively small if we consider that we are facing a 65-inch panel. If we stick the base to the wall as much as possible, the TV will be separated from it by about 10 centimeters.
Although most users usually put the TV against the wall, several companies have chosen to take care of the design of the device both from the front and from the back, as we have seen in TVs like the Samsung UE65KS9000 . The Sony ZD9 has a very different rear than usual and that has attracted our attention. It incorporates a grid layout that goes beyond mere aesthetics and hides an elaborate system of removable panels . There are four panels in total, which hide the different connections of the television and which incorporate a cable management system so that they are hidden and ordered.
In the central part there is a spectacular cover that covers all the screws that hold the base and that adheres to the television using small but effective magnets. This cover covers from the top of the device to the end of the base, where all the cables will exit. Personally, I can say that it looks great and that it is the first system that I see that really hides 99% of the cables that come out of the TV. We can only put one but, and that is that the entire back is made of plastic , although this is of high quality and does not creak anywhere, not even when we move the TV.
There may be people who do not like the color of the Sony ZD9 , but it is fair to say that a rather dark gold color has been used , which does not clash or divert attention, and is very elegant. In addition, the build quality is excellent and the general feeling is that we are facing a television where every detail has been taken care of to the maximum.
Premium image quality
Sony has packed all the image enhancement technology the company has into the ZD9 . We are facing a VA panel that achieves a resolution of 3,840 x 4K UHD 2,160 pixels and is compatible with HDR images . Starting from this base, we have two elements that are responsible for the great image quality that we already anticipate this television achieves. On the one hand we have Sony's X1 Extreme processor , which is responsible for ensuring that any image, come from the source that comes, is seen with the highest possible quality. According to the company itself, this processor uses advanced algorithms to reduce noise and improve the level of detail, thus obtaining sharp, clear and realistic images .
On the other hand, the Sony ZD9 incorporates a magnificent lighting system that the company has called the Backlight Master Drive . This system groups the LED lights at a single point , reducing light scattering and flare that occurs on other full-range LED TVs. Each LED emits a direct beam to provide a clear image with vivid lights and deep blacks. That is, the LED light does not come out of the edges, as is usual in most televisions, but the entire rear is full of LEDs .
The combination of the Backlight Master Drive lighting system and the 4K X1 Extreme image processor , along with a brightness of 1,000 nits , gives the screen an excellent uniformity , without clouding (whitish spots in the form of clouds that can appear anywhere on the screen) or dirty screen effect and, more importantly, no apparent “banding” (vertical lines of a color slightly darker than the rest of the screen), something that has affected almost all panels with LED backlight on the market.
Leaving aside the more technical terms, we can say that the image quality achieved by the Sony ZD9 is excellent , with deep blacks and bright whites that offer a striking image . The local dimming system delivers great results and gets rid of annoying halos, even with HDR content. Of course, whenever we are sitting in front of the television, since, as with any VA panel, when we start to move this effect is more evident. The viewing angle is precisely one of the "buts" that we can put on this panel , since from 30 degrees the performance decreases .
Although it seems like we repeat ourselves, the Sony ZD9 will shine in all its splendor when we feed it with quality content. Images with native 4K resolution will look very detailed and in wonderful quality . To process HDR images, the Japanese company uses a system it calls "Object-based HDR remaster" , which analyzes the color of individual objects on the screen and adjusts the contrast. This causes the objects to be remastered individually, thus achieving greater depth, texture and, ultimately, more realistic images.
If at the moment we do not have a UHD Blu-Ray player we should not worry, the reproduction of a "normal" Blu-Ray with 1080p resolution is also very good . The dynamic range, excellent local attenuation and picture precision achieved by the X1 Extreme processor deliver high-quality images that look impressive on this Sony TV . If we use a Blu-Ray that has good technical quality , we will appreciate in all its splendor what the Sony ZD9 is capable of .
When it comes to standard definition images, such as DVDs or DTT channels, the X1 Extreme processor does a good job . Although there is some graininess in the image , it achieves very acceptable performance with lower resolution content. On a personal level I can say that this television achieves a great image quality in DTT despite its large size, something that I have seen in few televisions. Not surprisingly, it doesn't work miracles, but the X1 Extreme processor does a very good job.
Although it is currently not a highly sought after feature by users, it is worth noting that the Sony ZD9 offers support for active 3D images . The performance isn't perfect, but it's pretty decent and movies like Avatar or Hugo's Invention offer very good depth and natural colors . Two 3D glasses are included with the television , although it is possible to buy more for a price of around 60 euros per glasses.
Finally, note that the Sony ZD9 television includes multiple image modes, being quite well calibrated right out of the box. The Standard mode for daily TV is fine, but for watching movies we recommend the “Home Theater” and “Professional Cinema” modes . Personally, I used the “Home Theater” mode to watch movies by turning off the “Light Sensor” and the images looked impressive.
Sound and connectivity
Sony has chosen to include two speakers of 10W each , located at the bottom of the television. Accompanying these speakers Sony has included Clear Audio + and S-Force Front Surround technologies with the idea of providing a more immersive sound, although these characteristics tend to make the sound have some echo . It also incorporates DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) and Clear Phase , systems that have been designed to get the most out of streaming music. In short, the Sony ZD9achieves well-represented mids, keeping the highest frequencies without fanfare and with a good bass presence. And if we don't have enough with what comes standard, the TV offers the possibility of including a wireless subwoofer to improve the performance of low frequencies.
As for connectivity, we have 4 HDMI HDCP 2.2 ports , optical digital audio output , Ethernet connection , 3 USB ports , headphone output and composite video input . At the wireless level we have an integrated WiFi connection with WiFi Direct and Bluetooth v.4.1 .
Full Android TV system
Sony decided long ago to abandon its own smart platform and include the Android TV system in its televisions . And from what we've seen on the Sony ZD9 , it was right. If you have or have had an external player with Android TV, the interface of this Sony TV will be very familiar to you. The Japanese company has integrated an extra layer with some of its own functions , but it is not too annoying and in a few minutes we will have adapted to its interface. For example we have a recommendation bar that will show us suggestions, but that is integrated with Netflix , YouTube and Plex, thus expanding its functionality compared to other versions.
The system moves, in general, fluid, although from time to time it suffers a certain delay when responding to the remote control and small freezes , something that the company will have to refine over time. The good thing about Android TV is that it includes some very interesting applications, such as the aforementioned Plex , the Opera browser , the VLC player or even the Kodi application , well known among those of us who usually use a PC as a media player. We will also have a large number of Android games adapted to the television, which we can play using the remote control or using the PS4 controller, which can be connected to the TV. It is fair to say that the most powerful games, such as Asphalt 8 or Modern Combat 5 are playable, but they work excessively forced. We can even find some emulators for PlayStation and PSP , something that we will not find on any other platform. The Sony ZD9 also includes some Sony applications , such as PlayStation Video or the typical brand store in which some specific applications are offered.
Regarding the remote control, Sony has preferred to include only the classic remote, so there is not much to say about this. The only remarkable thing is that the entire button panel is covered with a kind of rubber to protect the buttons from dirt or possible liquid spillage. Also, if we have a PlayStation 4 , as we said, we can use the Dualshock 4 to control the television and play .
After testing several high-end models from different brands, we can safely say that the Sony ZD9 is one of the best televisions on the market . On a personal level I must say that I have tested many televisions from many brands and this one has a sublime image quality, only surpassed by the OLED models . The rear lighting system and Sony's great image processor manage to make us forget the defects of the LED panels, showing one of the deepest blacks that we have seen in a panel of this type . Picture quality is excellent with 1080p Blu-Ray sources and even does a good job with 720p sources, and sublime when we feed the TV with 4K and HDR content. The only"Bad" that we have found in this TV is that the viewing angle is somewhat lower than other models .
Although the color gold may not appeal to everyone, the design of the Sony ZD9 is minimalist and elegant at the same time , giving all the prominence to the screen. We loved the cable routing and connection system at the rear , which leaves the rear completely clean and tidy. The sound provided by the Sony ZD9 is enough to watch television, but if we want to enjoy a good movie it is logical that we opt for an external sound system.
We also really liked the Android TV system , which offers some applications that are not seen on other systems. Of course, there are still certain aspects to be polished, since, as we mentioned, the system has been "hooked" on a couple of occasions. However, the general operation is good and fast .
The Sony ZD9 can be found on the market in three diagonals: 65, 75 and 100 inches . The official price starts from 5,000 euros for the 65-inch model , although if we look well we can get it around 4,200 euros.
|Size||65, 75 and 100 inches|
|Resolution||4K UHD 3,840 x 2,160 pixels|
|Frequency||1,200 Hz Motionflow (100 Hz native)|
|Technologies||4K HDR X1 Extreme Processor|
Backlight Master Drive (FULL RANGE LED Backlight)
4K X-Reality PRO
Advanced contrast enhancement (ACE)
X-tended Dynamic Range PRO
24p true Cinema
|Dimensions (with base)||65 inches: 146.2 x 92 x 26.8 centimeters|
75 inches: 168.4 x 104.7 x 27.8 centimeters
100 inches: 225.8 x 139.3 x 50.4 centimeters
|Weight (with stand)||65 inch: 35.7 kg|
75 inch: 45.1 kg
100 inch: 144.8 kg
|Colors||Black and gold|
|Apps||YouTube, Wuaki, Netflix, RTVE, Clan, Opera Browser, Plex, Kodi, Google Apps|
|Controls||Standard controller (PS4 Dualshock 4 controller can be used)|
|Power||20W (10W + 10W)|
|System||S-Force Front Surround|
Clear Audio +
DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine)
|Others||Optional wireless subwoofer|
|HDMI||4 x HDMI|
|Tuner||DVB-T / T2 / DVB-S2 / DVB-C|
|USB||3 x USB|
|Connectors||1 x Component Input, 1 x Optical Digital Audio|
|Others||Scart, headphones, Bluetooth 4.1|