January 26, 2016

Buying the best TV for the Super Bowl — Get a TV that looks great and saves you money

Do I need a 4K TV for the Super Bowl?

Written by
Kyle S.

If you’re a sports fan, buying a television for the big game can get complicated. Televisions that perform well enough for watching a movie or sitcom often fall short when it comes to displaying the fast paced action of an NFL game. Things like refresh rate and motion blur come into play. Or maybe you’re asking “Do I need a 4K TV for the Super Bowl?”

We’ll go over all of this in this buyer’s guide, but there’s one more question you might want to ask yourself: “Is this TV energy efficient?”

Hidden costs to consider

Why consider energy efficiency? Some TVs can use significantly more power, which drives up cost of actually owning the device. You can avoid this by checking for an Energy Star rating, and looking up the model you’re interested in on choose.enervee.com. You can also check there to see if your utility offers a rebate for TVs.

Types of TVs — LCD, PLASMA, LED, OLED

The difference between these types of televisions is the technology used to light them. This is an important consideration as it affects picture quality, viewing angle, and energy use.

Plasma TVs offer good picture quality but have several serious drawbacks. They typically aren’t as bright as LED and LCD screens, and so look best in a darker room. Another disadvantage is they use significantly more energy than other technologies.

LCD and LED TVs are the most common. LCD TVs are lit by cold cathode fluorescent lamps. They are relatively inexpensive and usually have good picture quality. They are more efficient than plasma TVs. but still use slightly more energy than LED TVs.

LED TVs are the most common in the market now — this is due to a couple of advantages. LED TVs are more energy efficient and thinner than than LCD and plasma TVs. They also offer excellent picture quality, even in rooms with normally challenging lighting situations.

OLED TVs are the latest technology to hit the market. They offer an even better picture quality than LED televisions and show almost no motion blur. This makes them one of the best options for watching sports, however as it’s a new technology, the price tag is also rather high.

1080P or 4K (Ultra-HD)

4K TVs, also known as Ultra-HD, has four times the resolution of standard HD (1080P). While it does provide an impressive picture, there is some debate if it’s worth the equally impressive price tag. To start with, chances are the Super Bowl won’t even be available to you in 4K. Broadcast TV is currently only in 1080P, and most cable providers will not be broadcasting live 4K content for some time. Additionally, unless your TV is going to be larger than 60 inches, or you will be sitting closer than 8 feet from the TV, you will see a negligible difference in picture quality. Lastly, 4K TVs use more energy than 1080P options.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate of a TV is measured in hertz (Hz), and tells you how often per second the picture is refreshed. The standard refresh rate for years has been 60Hz, but now more TVs come with 120 Hz or even 240 Hz. For the Super Bowl, 120Hz should look great.

Size

While it’s tempting to want the biggest TV you can afford, there are some considerations you take into account. If your TV will be going into a smaller a room where you will be sitting close to it, a 1080P TV larger than 40” will begin to look pixelated. Which could mean a smaller TV with 4K might make sense.

Inputs

Make sure your new TV has enough inputs to connect all of your devices. Some only have one HDMI cable input, which means if you have a Blu-Ray player and a Chromecast device, you’re going to end up plugging and un-plugging devices.

Motion Blur

One of the most important things to research when purchasing a new TV for the Super Bowl, is motion blur. Motion blur is that annoying effect you see on some TVs when a fast moving object seems to leave a blurry trail behind it. This can make watching sports a sickening experience. While many manufacturers will claim things like “anti-motion blur technology,” these are all marketing terms, and not necessarily accurate. Unfortunately, there’s no standard measurement for this, so the best thing to do is look up reviews for the specific model you are looking at, or go to the store and take a look for yourself.

Smart TV

Many TVs now come with an internet connection, which can be useful for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. While it’s nice to have this built in, there are a lot of inexpensive devices that can allow any TV with an HDMI connection to stream video — Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV being just a few. So it might be better to focus on the other aspects and features of TV, knowing you can always add a device later.

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