Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us. The Big Game means the biggest TV-watching day of the year, so as the pregame clock ticks counts down to the face-off between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on February 13, the clock is also running out on making sure your at-home viewing experience is, well, super.
To catch all the action in perfect color and clarity—and the halftime show featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige and Eminem—the right TV is key. But even for those of you for whom terms like “cover three” and “slot receiver” are common lingo, television jargon can be confusing these days, starting with the screen itself.
Acronyms are everywhere. OLED (organic light-emitting diode, LED (light-emitting diode) and LCD (liquid crystal display) are all screen options you’re going to come across in your search for the best TV, but which is actually best for watching the players on the field?
“OLED would definitely be better than the LED screen, in terms of picture quality,” says Nick Tzortzatos, Managing Partner with Home Theater of Long Island in Manhasset. “It’s the better technology between the two. The OLED is lighter, thinner and it uses less energy. It offers the best viewing angle, by far.”
OLED screens can be about 15% to 20% more expensive than LEDs depending on the size, Tzortzatos notes, but they provide “the most realistic, three-dimensional image possible.”
The best way to find the right-sized television for your room? While some people fell the bigger the better, others may opt for a more scientific approach. The folks at Samsung recommend using the basic formula of Viewing Distance from TV Divided by Two. So, if you plan on sitting 12 feet from your screen, or 144 inches, then a 77-inch set would be your size.
In addition, if you are planning to watch with a crowd, Samsung’s experts suggest a screen of at least 40 inches, and that you sit more than 6 feet away. They also note that a wall mount can gain you some extra space versus putting the TV on a stand.
Of course, you could go with no screen at all. Paul Reiners, Project Manager with Syosset-based Sound Dimensions Plus, says one of the hottest at-home theater products right now is the Samsung Ultra Short Throw 4K Laser Projector, which can produce a 120’’ projection of a TV stream, movie and more right at home.
This projector is especially great for smaller rooms with low lighting. Where a traditional projector needs to sit 12 to 13 feet back from a wall, the Samsung device has a short throw, meaning it can simply be placed against a wall to create a viewing screen. “If you don’t have the space, you could potentially turn a bedroom into a theater,” Reiners says.
The sights of the game are essential, to be sure, but creating that experience is about more than just upgrading a TV. Sound is also an important component, says Nick Tzortzatos, Managing Partner with Home Theater of Long Island in Manhasset.
“We like to take it a step further, with Dolby Atmos,” Tzortzatos says. This is a surround-sound system that uses height channels to create a more immersive sound. “There are multiple speakers through the house—it almost feels like you’re in the crowd and you’re part of the experience.”