Sony Bravia Master Series Z9J 8K TV review: Where’s the onboard 8K?


Sony’s Bravia Master Series Z9J 8K TV delivers very good image quality, great looks, and fantastic audio features and performance. It’s pricey—and them some, at $7,000—but the bigger issue is that it won’t play 8K video files, either from local USB media or via YouTube. And Sony declined to promise us that it will down the road.

Design and features

You’ll likely need a burly friend or two to set up the 75-inch-class model Sony sent for this review—its shipping weight is a whopping 130 pounds. As shown below, Sony illustrates three folks handling the job in Its setup guide.

sony z9j lifting Sony

I recommend having a friend or two help you setting up the rather heavy Z9J.

You might be able to manage setting it up by sliding, leveraging, tilting, leaning, and propping (I did—but it wasn’t easy) but why risk it? The Z9J is also rather thick at just over three inches, but that’s largely due to its audio infrastructure—more on that in a bit. 

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart TVs, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

The Z9J is an 8K UHD (7680 x 4320) display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and it uses Sony’s proprietary technologies for color and brightness. There’s a full-array backlight with somewhere around 400 fully dimmable backlight zones, if the zone counters (videos of small white blocks that travel the edges of the display) are to be believed. 

z9j lifestyle Sony

Sony’s impressive 8K UHD Z9J displays 8K UHD images internally, and 8K UHD video via HDMI. But the latter scenario is possible only with those exceedingly rare devices—PCs, mostly—that are capable of pushing 8K video through HDMI.

Heavy the Z9J may be, but Sony has designed a very clever three-position stand to make sure it remains stable on whatever surface you set it on.

sony z9j stand Sony

Sony’s new and unique three-position stand.

Using different mounting points, you can orient the legs to the sides, so the bottom of the TV rests flush against the supporting surface; place them near the sides, but angled to raise the unit off the supporting surface; or further toward the center of the TV to accommodate narrower platforms. The illustration to the left illustrates your options. The TV can also be mounted to the wall.

There are four HDMI ports, one of which supports eARC audio output, and another that supports high-bandwidth 4K UHD/120Hz and 8K UHD/60Hz signals. Two of the HDMI ports support HDMI-CEC as well. Variable refresh rate and auto low-latency mode are also featured.

Audio is also output via an optical jack on the back and a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the side of the TV. Unique to Sony is a two-wire output for a center speaker.


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