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A Few Things to Consider When Buying a TV for the Big Game

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Every year, around the time that people start gearing up for the Big Game, TVs seem to go on sale everywhere. And similarly, every year, I try to caution friends, before you run out and grab the lowest-cost model you can find at your local big-box store, you may want to look beyond price to ensure that your new TV serves you adequately in the short and long run. Is the TV the right size for your space? When the game is over, is the picture quality up to the task of displaying the content you watch beyond sports? 

IPS Displays Provide a Wide Viewing Angle

While TV choices can be downright dizzying these days, here are a few things to consider: First, is this for your own enjoyment or for a party? The more viewers there are, the greater the likelihood of someone viewing from off-axis. Some display technologies lose their color accuracy at wide angles, and since that “sweet spot” can’t be shared by any practical means, you can ensure that those viewing from the sidelines of your living room can tell the difference between a red flag and a yellow flag with an IPS display, such as the VIZIO M60-D1 or the LG 65UH9500. As a bonus, the VIZIO includes an Android tablet remote (as well as a traditional IR remote), which will allow you to browse and play content and stream it to the display, so you can prove on the big screen that you were right about your favorite player’s obscure stat. As a SmartCast display, any device with the SmartCast app can stream directly to the M60-D1; conversely, the LG also supports streaming over Wi-Fi and can be voice-controlled with an optional Magic Remote.

LG UH9500-Series 65"-Class Super UHD Smart IPS LED TV

OLED Panels Offer Better Black Levels for Better Color

While IPS displays are great for off-angle viewing, OLED TVs have better black levels and, therefore, overall better color saturation when viewing from the “sweet spot.” So, if you want the grass to look as vibrant as it does from the 50-yard line, something along the lines of the 55" LG OLED55B6P or the 65" LG OLED65E6P would be a good choice. Both models support Dolby Vision HDR, so if you have a compatible Blu-ray player and disc, you’ll enjoy a wider color gamut than non-HDR OLED displays can provide. They’re also both smart TVs, so you’ll get all the associated benefits, including app downloads and a full web browser.

LG E6P-Series 65"-Class UHD 3D Smart OLED TV

Can You Hear Me Now?

One thing I’ve noticed about viewing parties, sports or otherwise, is that they tend to get loud; between people cheering on their favorite (or wagered-on) team and non-viewers catching up with each other, it can be tough to hear the announcers calling the action. And while LED panels aren’t typically known for their speaker power, due to their slim cabinet designs, the VIZIO M65-D0 has dual 15W speakers built-in and the LG 55UH8500 (along with the aforementioned 65UH9500) sports dual 20W speakers. Short of a soundbar or home theater system, these are among your best options for hearing over the armchair quarterbacks who would otherwise be wearing out their welcome.

VIZIO M-Series 65"-Class 4K SmartCast HDR LED Home Theater Display

Projectors Provide Flexibility and Large Images

Want something bigger? Need a more flexible choice? Looking for an option to entertain your outdoor guests? Then skip the traditional TV and get a projector. Keep in mind that the more ambient light you have, the less viable an option this would be, so if you’re on the West Coast and want to project outside, a projector might not be the best game-day option for you, as sunlight will likely still be around through halftime. That caveat aside, projectors are flexible in several ways: they provide for versatile positioning and a variety of image sizes, typically up to around 300" diagonal. (Also, considering the screen sizes they can provide, they can be noticeably lower-cost per inch.) The BenQ TH670, for example, has 1080p native resolution, a brightness output of 3000 lumens, can provide up to a 120" image, and is equipped with a built-in 10-Watt mono speaker (which would be useful for those near the projector). At only 6.6 lb, you don’t have to worry about mounting it or getting someone to help you set it up, though it can be mounted on a ceiling with a compatible mount if you wish to do so. If you’re looking for an even larger image, like the 300" potential I mentioned earlier, the BenQ BH3002 would be a good choice. It will project 70 to 300" images, but keep in mind that you’ll need some distance from the screen to get an image that large.

BenQ TH670 Full HD DLP Home Theater Projector

Your Projector Might Need a Screen

If you’re going the projector route, but don’t have a good wall to project against (aluminum siding, windows, stucco, etc.), then you’ll need a screen. There is a vast selection available, in a multitude of sizes, with various installation options, including electric and fixed frame screens, typically for permanent installations, and manual pull-down screens, which can be installed either temporarily or permanently. There are also floor screens, tripod screens, and folding screens, all of which are great for temporary setups. There are many factors that go into choosing which screen is right for you, and this article will help you with that choice, but I can tell you a couple of basics: avoid sunlight at all costs, and if you know you’ll always have ambient light when the screen is in use, go with a matte gray finish; this will negate some of the effects of the ambient light, increasing the perceived contrast ratio, though white on-screen objects won’t look quite as vibrant.

Da-Lite 79015 Cosmopolitan Electrol Motorized Projection Screen (78 x 139")

I hope that I’ve provided some useful insight into the factors involved in purchasing a TV (or projector and screen) for the Big Game. If you’re looking for more assistance, feel free come into the B&H SuperStore or contact us by phone at 800-606-6969, chat, or email, and talk to one of our knowledgeable sales associates. They’ll help you kick off your Big Game party right.

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