Football fans and spectacle-seekers alike should circle Sunday, Feb. 5 on their calendar — that’s the date of Super Bowl LI. Party planners, take note: you have less than a month to gear up for the game (and the halftime show, starring Lady Gaga).
But before you go stocking up on chips, dips, and drinks, you may want to add a new television to your shopping list. After all, it won’t feel like the biggest game of the year if you’re watching it on a dinky old screen.
The post-holiday period is also a prime time to improve your living room’s game. Though FOX will not be broadcasting the Super Bowl in 4K, you should still buy an ultra high-definition display. 4K resolution TVs are getting cheap enough, and the content is getting popular enough, that it’s worth going 4K if you’re upgrading anyway. And with all the new models revealed at CES last week, retailers need to make room on their shelves by punting last year’s models, meaning there are great deals to be had.
But just like every NFL team has to stay under their salary cap, you need to pick a set that works with your finances. One of these six 4K TVs could be your MVP come game day. (Note that prices listed below may fluctuate due to discounts, deals, etc.)
When you’re looking for a good television for sports, pay close attention to the refresh rate. That’s the frequency that the screen’s image updates, and the higher the number, the better the set for fast-paced action. Most cut-rate 4K TVs try to impress buyers with big screens, but their refresh rates aren’t great.
The Vizio M50-C1 is a great combination of both, offering a 50-inch 4K display with a 120Mz refresh rate for just $499. It’s also got all the modern smart, Wi-Fi-enabled TV bells and whistles to keep you happy in the offseason.
Some football fans say the only thing better than going to the Super Bowl is watching it from the comfort of your own Barcalounger. But unless your television has HDR, real-world viewing is a lot more vivid than a broadcast. Standing for High Dynamic Range, HDR makes colors pop better than ever — and the feature is now coming down in price.
The $899 Sony XBR55X700D offers HDR on its 4K screen, great for bringing the game into your living room in living color. HDR can also make video games and movies look lush and amazing, so this is a good television for your marathon Madden sessions, too. The trade-off on this 55-inch screen, however, is that to get HDR for under $1,000, you’ll have to settle for a 60Hz refresh rate. However, if you’re willing to inch over your budget to $1,200, the 65-inch version has a 120Hz rate, HDR, and more viewing area for those out-of-bounds plays.
Kickoff for the big game is 6:30 p.m. ET, which means, if you’re on the west coast, you might be watching at least part of the game in daylight hours. Not all televisions handle daytime viewing well, but the Samsung UN55KS8000 shines in both the sunlight and the spotlight.
The 55-inch screen uses quantum dot technology to emit a bright image that battles glare and reflections, and with HDR and a 240Hz refresh rate, it provides a vivid, fast-moving picture. And when you’re watching a Hail Mary toss hurtle through the night sky, Samsung’s “Triple Black” technology helps this set play like a winner, allowing detail to come through in low-light scenes. This TV’s other great trick play is making your high-definition cable television signals look better than ever before, thanks to its built-in upscaling capabilities.
Quarterbacks aren’t the only ones making passes during Super Bowl parties. Anyone hosting a TV-based bash has to contend with a bunch of people looking to receive the remote to head over to Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. In addition to boasting HDR, a 240Hz refresh rate, and an excellent picture on its LCD screen, the Vizio P65-C1 comes with a 6-inch Android tablet as a remote, letting people sling their favorite streaming content to the screen via the television’s embedded Google Chromecast technology.
So, in case of a blowout — or if you’d rather watch something other than the halftime show — you can hand off the tablet and let someone else run the plays for a while. But there is one drawback to Vizio’s displays: They don’t have a digital tuner. That means you’ll need to have cable (or a streaming service) to watch the game (or any live programming).
Just when it seems like 4K televisions couldn’t add any more features, the LG E6 gives us less — in a good way. Using OLED technology to deliver bright imagery, vibrant HDR color, and ultra-dark blacks, this $4,500 set has everything going for it except a bezel. That’s right—the three millimeter-thick, 65-inch screen pours its picture right onto the glass (which bleeds edge-to-edge) eliminating the TV’s need for a frame. Forget your amazing seven layer taco dip. The E6 is what’s going to make everyone’s jaws drop come kickoff time.
Win at All Costs
Why go long when you can go short? The answer, in this case, is $50,000 — that’s the price of the Sony LSPX-W1S 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector. But if money is no object, then this all-in-one entertainment system should be your Lombardi Trophy, proudly taking up residence in your home and wowing your guests with its glow. Plop the cabinet down next to a wall and its embedded laser projector can throw an incredible 147-inch image across your wall. And this 12-foot display is not only in 4K, but it also upscales lower definition video and can display signals in 3D as well.