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 is 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 P55-E1 or the LG 55SJ8000. As a SmartCast display, any device with the SmartCast app can stream directly to the P55-E1; conversely, the LG also supports streaming over Wi-Fi.
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 OLED55C7P or the 65" LG OLED65C7P would be a good choice. Both models support the HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision HDR formats, so if you have a compatible Blu-ray player and disc, or a compatible streaming media player and content, 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.
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 OLED55B7A (along with the aforementioned OLED55C7P and OLED65C7P) 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.
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 Optoma Technology HD142X, for example, has 1080p native resolution, a brightness output of 3000 lumens, can provide up to a 305.3" image, and is equipped with a built-in 10-Watt speaker (which would be useful for those near the projector). At only 5.5 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. Just keep these two things in mind: the larger the image you want, the farther the projector will need to be from your projection surface and, the farther the projector will be from the projection surface, the brighter it will need to be. Which reminds me...
Your Projector Might Need a Screen
If you're going the projector route, but don't have a good wall against which to project (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.
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.
Are you hosting a Big Game party? Have you decided on your display of choice? Let us know in the Comments section, below!