Football players rely on the right gear to win the game. Viewers need the right gear to enjoy the game.
Below you’ll find the five essential A/V products for gameday viewing.
Widescreen Television: Whether you go with a flat panel or a microdisplay, make sure you choose a widescreen television (also known as “16:9”). Old-school televisions with 4:3 aspect ratios only focus on the immediate action (usually the offensive line and the quarterback), but with a widescreen TV you’ll see way back into the defensive secondary. It’s a great way to watch a play develop.
Digital Video Recorder (DVR): Hark back to the days before DVRs (like, say, 10 years ago), and you’ll undoubtedly remember those anxious moments during commercial breaks when you had to cram 28 different activities into a two-minute period. But no longer! With a TiVo or another DVR, you control the game. Need a snack? Hit the pause button, stroll to the kitchen, then return to your seat to resume the game. Want another look at that stunning 50-yard reception? Rewind the feed and watch that play to your heart’s content. Once you use a DVR, you’ll never go back. (Tip: If you typically watch high-definition broadcasts, consider springing for a DVR that can handle HD feeds.)
High-Definition Tuner: Just because you own a high-definition television doesn’t mean you can watch high-definition programming. Some HDTVs have built-in HD tuners, which means they’re ready to accept and display HD programming, but many other televisions are only HD capable. These televisions require an external HD tuner from a cable or satellite provider. If your TV doesn’t have a built-in tuner, make sure you set up an appointment with your cable/satellite company well before the game. You don’t want to endure the hardship of watching a standard-definition broadcast on your high-definition set.
Surround-Sound System: High-definition visuals get all the press, but an ancillary benefit of HD is the surround sound. Most major sporting events feature surround-sound audio, so make sure you’ve got—at minimum—a subwoofer, a center-channel speaker, two front speakers and two rear speakers (this is known as a 5.1 system). If you want to up the ante, invest in a powered subwoofer and consider going to a 6.1 or 7.1 surround system (these are similar to a 5.1 set-up, but they add rear-center sound). Once installed, you’ll be immersed in game commentary, on-field audio and crowd noise. It’s like being in the stands!
PC and High-Speed Internet Connection: The PC/Internet combo comes in handy when you want to peruse those laughable pre-game predictions, look up a player’s stats, or—and this is far more likely—the game turns into a blowout and you need a diversion. Oh sure, you could always change the channel ... but then you’ll miss that once-in-a-lifetime comeback.
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