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Fix Input Lag On Sony X950H For Xbox Series X With a Home Theater System (Z9F)

So I’ve had an X950H 85" since the Summer of 2020 and now have it hooked up to my Switch and Xbox Series X. I was atrocious playing my games when I first hooked it up and chocked it up to “eh I haven’t played with joysticks since like 2015” and “I haven’t gamed on TV’s in just as long” assuming I 1. Sucked and 2. TV’s just had heavy lag. But this lag was over the top.

But I started testing and could watch my thumb tap a button, release fully, sit in the air for nearly a half second, and then the screen reacted. So I went through ‘gaming mode’ (and graphics mode), turned off every single post processing feature, stripped to nothing- and zero difference. Like fully enabled Cinema mode is exactly as lagged as fully stripped-down Gaming mode.

My first tip off that this lag was unreasonable was my Switch. Built-in screen i gamed like a champ. Plug into the TV and i’m killed by every goomba, defeated by every platform i have to jump, it’s unbearable. I had only the Switch for a while on it though and thought “ehh there’s the dock, there’s the HDMI cable, I’ve got an mClassic hooked up, there’s a million reasons my TV might lag out playing it” but now with the Xbox enough is enough.

I’d noticed this going through OSD menus with my native remote and always thought “this is just the experience of a modern Android TV, nearly full second delays for every menu option left/right press” but I tested the OSD taps against my Xbox button taps and the TV’s response time is precisely the same (dead slow). So it’s nothing to do with my HDMI sources.

The only big thing I have hooked up is a Sony Z9F home theater hooked up and controlled over the eARC port. I thought maybe that could introduce comms lag, so manually set my game HDMI’s to pipe sound only to the built-in speakers. No change.

And for one last test to see if I was just being a whiny little boy, I hooked my Switch up to a cheapo 1080p projector in my bedroom. Game perfectly, zero noticeable input lag. I remembered playing Halo Reach years ago and loving to drag the joystick to sync my gunner view exactly with the position of warthogs as a driver turned. I just tried that tonight on the X950 and was so embarrassed by the concussed-looking reaction speeds the other guys on multiplayer had to witness.

I then physically disconnected the Z9F and factory reset the TV after that. And that's where I discovered the solution. The sound system may lag out quite a bit if you don't enable eARC mode on the TV, and when it does, your TV by default is set to sync the video with audio, meaning your video's going to be as delayed as the sound. Bad stuff. So here's what to do:


  1. Hit the Settings (gear icon) button on your remote, then navigate over to 'Settings' on the quick menu

  2. Click 'Display and Sound'

  3. Click 'Audio output'

  4. Set A/V Sync to Auto (if it isn't already), eARC mode to Auto, Digital audio out to Auto 1, and Pass through mode to Auto

    1. You should immediately see a difference in your visual input lag if you're testing a game as you change these settings (eARC mode is the most drastic setting to change, but A/V Sync set to 'off' (from 'on) will show you exactly how bad the lag can get and how much better you can make it without the sync. The problem with 'off' though is that your audio can really, really lag out eventually with this configuration.

  5. Go back to settings in the quick menu (just exit the settings menu and hit the gear button on your remote again), go to 'Picture Mode' and select 'Game'. That'll improve things noticeably, but not as drastically as the steps above. Use this option in conjunction with the above steps for the most responsive experience.

  6. If you're still seeing an audio lag after this (the video should be 100% fixed with these settings, but audio could still have a delay), physically disconnect the power from the Z9F and plug it back in for a full reset (software restart really doesn't do much for this problem).

And now you should have a very snappy, very responsive AV experience for playing games!

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