Posted Thu Jan 24, 2019 at 08:50 AM PST by Steven Cohen
With the Super Bowl set to kick off on February 3, sports fans all around the country once again have the perfect excuse to upgrade their home theater systems. After all, how are you supposed to pull off an epic viewing party if you're only rocking a 32-inch display with wimpy TV speakers? I mean, can you really impress your guests if they all need binoculars to see the screen?
The solution: a brand new 77-inch 4K HDR display perfect for upconverting the big game in all its glory, along with an immersive audio setup perfect for surrounding your living room with a roaring stadium full of screaming fans.
And though that all might sound a little pricey, Super Bowl Season also tends to spark super sales, as stores need to start phasing out their 2018 inventory to make room for the industry's recently announced 2019 lineups in the spring. But even with sale prices abound, putting together the right AV system to show off every touchdown and sure-to-go viral commercial is no easy task.
Thankfully, we're here to help with a comprehensive list of AV Gear suggestions ideal for Super Bowl parties at several different budget levels. And since we want to make sure to emphasize the "Big" in "Big Game," all of our recommended displays will come in at sizes 65-inches and above, and all of our sound systems include support for overhead audio tech like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
Please note: prices are subject to change, and do not include taxes or shipping.
For users looking to pull off a killer Super Bowl party on a budget, these AV suggestions all offer very impressive specs for their price, providing fantastic bang-for-your-buck 4K performance and compact immersive audio playback.
VIZIO E-Series 65" 4K Ultra HD TV ($700) - Though it lacks the wide color support and beefier brightness and contrast capabilities of more expensive sets on this list, the 2018 E-Series still packs a very solid punch for its bargain price point, allowing customers to take home a big-screen TV without breaking the bank. The display features a peak brightness of 400 nits along with Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG support. Full array local dimming is implemented as well (12 zones on the 65-inch) for better blacks and contrast over edge-lit sets. The SmartCast OS is used for integrated on-screen streaming apps and the ability to cast even more from a mobile device. And unlike 2017 VIZIO displays, this TV does feature an integrated tuner for OTA broadcasts with a digital antenna. A bigger 70-inch model is also available for just $800.
TCL 6-Series 65R617 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku TV ($900) - Winner of our Best Value TV for 2018 Award, the 6-Series comes packed with several advanced features normally reserved for more expensive sets. The display includes Dolby Vision and HDR10, along with the Roku OS smart TV platform. In addition, the set uses full array local dimming with 120 zones for improved black levels and contrast. Likewise, the panel incorporates NBP Photon technology with LED phosphors to provide Wide Color Gamut support. And for those who want an even more immersive Super Bowl experience, a larger 75-inch 6-Series model with 160 zones is now available for an MSRP of $1,799.99.
(Note: the Best Buy model does not include Voice Remote)
VIZIO SB36512-F6 5.1.2-Channel Dolby Atmos Soundbar System ($400) - This 36" 5.1.2 System features a 36-inch sound bar unit with two upward firing drivers, two rear satellite speakers, and a wireless 6-inch subwoofer. In addition, the device offers support for Dolby Atmos decoding in lossless TrueHD over HDMI from a connected Blu-ray player or in Dolby Digital Plus via a connected set-top box or smart TV. Likewise, the system includes DTS Virtual:X tech for simulated immersive audio if a user does not want to engage the upward firing drivers. With that said, the unit does not support DTS:X decoding.
Stepping things up a notch, this section features a selection of more advanced displays, including an OLED and even a 4K HDR projector for customers who want the biggest screen possible. Likewise, we've expanded our audio suggestions with more robust 5.1.4 and 7.1.2 options.
VIZIO P-Series Quantum 65" 4K Ultra HD TV ($1,500) - VIZIO's new premium display rivals many competing LCD models that cost around $1,000 more, and currently offers some of the brightest HDR performance on the market. The TV features a bezel-less design with 4K Ultra HD resolution and full array local dimming powered by 192 zones. In addition, the set includes support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range formats with UltraBright 2,000 for over 2,000 nits of peak brightness and advanced quantum dot tech for close to 100% P3 wide color gamut coverage and about 82% coverage for the Rec. 2020 gamut. And unlike last year's lineup, VIZIO 2018 displays include integrated TV tuners for OTA broadcasts with a digital antenna. Meanwhile, the SmartCast OS offers on-screen streaming app support along with the ability to cast even more services to the display from a mobile device.
Epson Home Cinema 4010 4K Projector ($1,800) - For users who want to watch the game on a really big screen, the Home Cinema 4010 has got you covered. The projector features 4K PRO-UHD tech with a high-performance optical engine, Epson's 15-element glass projection lens, and advanced pixel-shifting to produce 4K images (each pixel is shifted diagonally to double Full HD resolution). Meanwhile, the device offers 2,400 lumens of color and white brightness, a contrast ratio up to 200,000:1, 12-bit digital processing, and HDR10 playback support at 24fps. Likewise, the unit is capable of covering the entire DCI-P3 wide color space in Digital Cinema Mode. Finally, Full HD 3D projection support is included as well.
LG OLED65B8PUA 65" 4K Ultra HD OLED TV ($2,297) - Though its α (Alpha) 7 processor isn't as robust as the Alpha 9 found on LG's step-up models, this display still features the same OLED panel used on the company's other models, complete with the tech's trademark inky blacks, wide viewing angles, and wide color support. Likewise, the TV also supports onboard Dolby Atmos audio and LG's 4K Cinema HDR suite of high dynamic range formats with wide color gamut capabilities, including Advanced HDR by Technicolor, Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma). Meanwhile, the TV's new ThinQ AI tech allows customers to take advantage of advanced voice assistant features by speaking directly into the remote, enabling users to search for information, images or videos through verbal requests.
Sony Z9F 3.1ch Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos & DTS:X ($798) - While technically a 3.1-channel 400W system, this sound bar uses Sony's new Virtual Surround Engine to simulate up to 7.1.2 "vertical" sound in Dolby Atmos or DTS:X tracks without in-ceiling or up-firing speakers. A wireless subwoofer and Bluetooth capabilities are included as well, and this model also offers built-in Wi-Fi support. Finally, HDMI connectivity (2 in/1 out) with ARC, 4K HDR10, and Dolby Vision video passthrough are integrated too.
VIZIO SB46514-F6 46-Inch 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos Soundbar System ($900) - This Sound Bar System features a 46-inch sound bar unit with two upward firing drivers, two rear satellite speakers with two upward firing drivers of their own, and a very robust wireless 10-inch subwoofer. In addition, the device offers support for Dolby Atmos decoding in lossless TrueHD over HDMI from a connected Blu-ray player or in Dolby Digital Plus via a connected set-top box or smart TV. Likewise, the system includes DTS Virtual:X tech for simulated immersive audio if a user does not want to engage the upward firing drivers. With that said, the unit does not support DTS:X decoding and a current limitation causes the front and rear height channels to play the same audio (though an update to provide true 5.1.4 support with discrete front and back heights is in the works).
With price restrictions thrown out the window, this last section includes recommendations geared toward pulling off the biggest and baddest Super Bowl viewing party possible, including TV screen sizes as large as 82-inches and a full 7.2.4 speaker package.
Samsung QN82Q8F 82" QLED 4K Ultra HD ($4,298) - Brightness and contrast are not as robust as Samsung's flagship Q9 model, but the Q8 includes the option for an extra-large 82-inch screen size. The TV features full array local dimming along with quantum dot technology for wide color gamut capabilities and some of the industry's leading color volume specs. HDR10, HLG, and the new dynamic HDR10+ format are supported as well. Smart TV functions with Bixby Voice control and a new Ambient Mode round out the premium package, cementing this as one of the very best LCD display options available in this screen size.
Sony XBR75Z9F 75" 4K Ultra HD TV ($5,998) - Sony's current flagship LCD remains one of the market's best all-around performers. The display uses the company's Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, and offers new Object-based Super Resolution and Object-based HDR remaster technology, along with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and TRILUMINOS tech with wide color gamut support. In addition, the TV also features full array local dimming and a new Netflix Calibrated Mode.
LG OLED77C8PUA 77" 4K Ultra HD OLED TV ($6,997) - As one of LG's top-of-the-line 2018 OLED TVs, this display offers some of the best overall picture quality available in a 77-inch screen size, including perfect blacks, wide viewing angles, and the company's new α (Alpha) 9 intelligent processor for improved image and color performance over last year's models. In addition, the panel also supports onboard Dolby Atmos audio and LG's 4K Cinema HDR suite of high dynamic range formats with wide color gamut capabilities, including Advanced HDR by Technicolor, Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma). Meanwhile, the TV's new ThinQ AI tech allows customers to take advantage of advanced voice assistant features by speaking directly into the remote, enabling users to search for information, images or videos through verbal requests.
Sony VPLVW695ES 4K HDR Projector ($9,998) - Part of Sony's premium 2018 SXRD projector lineup, the VPL-VW695ES features 4K Motionflow technology, HDR support, and 4K 60P 10bit processing. Likewise, the device is rated for 1,800 lumens of brightness and 350,000:1 high dynamic contrast via Sony's Advanced Iris technology. Finally, the projector is also IMAX Enhanced certified.
Klipsch Reference Premiere Series 7.2.4 System ($5,500) - For users who want the full experience of a genuine multiple speaker system rather than a sound bar package, you really can't go wrong with the second generation Reference Premiere series. The speakers use Tractrix horn technology for better high-frequency response, imaging, and dynamics along with Linear Travel Suspension titanium tweeters, new vented tweeters, and copper Cerametallic woofers with Tractrix ports.
Includes (2) RP-8060FA Dolby Atmos Floorstanding Speaker ($879 each), (1) RP-504C Center Channel Speaker ($649 each), (4) RP-6000F Floorstanding Speaker ($499 each), (2) RP-500SA Dolby Atmos Elevation Speakers ($399 per pair), and (2) R-110SW subwoofers ($349 each). Or go in-ceiling with the Klipsch CDT-5800-C II ($267 each) switching to the RP-8000F Floorstanding Speaker ($599 each).
Denon AVR-X6500H 11.2 Channel AV Receiver ($1,999) - A great fit for powering the speaker system listed above, Denon's 11.2-channel receiver is rated for up to 140W per channel (8 Ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.05% THD). The unit can support up to a 7.2.4 speaker or 9.2.2 Dolby Atmos or DTS:X configuration. Likewise, the receiver offers full 4K HDR/DolbyVision passthrough, and is set to receive HDMI 2.1 features like Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) via a future firmware update. Amazon Alexa Voice Control and whole-house HEOS music compatibility are integrated as well.
In addition to big displays and immersive audio, buyers should also consider building redundancies into their Super Bowl Party system to avoid any unwanted mishaps (and very unhappy guests). If satellite/cable are not an option, a streaming media player with the CBS Sports App or CBS All Access is also a great way to catch the game. Likewise, your internet, cable, or satellite service could go down at any time, so it's a smart idea to add an HDTV antenna and a backup power supply. Further, it's important to remember many projectors do NOT include an internal OTA HDTV tuner. Meaning, you can't just add an antenna to the mix, but instead need an external tuner. The great news is that there are a TON of options for this, including no-feature budget external tuners, to full DVR-equipped boxes.
Winegard FlatWave FL-5000 Indoor HDTV Antenna ($24) - 35 Mile Long Range; extra long coaxial cable (15') included.
Winegard FlatWave Amped FL5500A Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna ($49) - 50 Mile Long Range; embedded ultra low noise amplifier with Clear Circuit Technology; energy saving USB power supply with LED power indicator.
ViewTV AT-263 ATSC Digital TV Converter Box and HDMI Cable ($37) - Watch OTA HDTV with separate antenna; USB Multimedia Player plays Divx, AVI, MKV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC, VOB, MOV, FLV, and VC-1; USB recording.
Tablo 4-Tuner DVR for Over-The-Air HDTV with Wi-Fi ($195) - Watch, Record, Pause, and Stream Free Broadcast [OTA] HDTV Channels with separate antenna; four Tuners allow you to record and watch four different programs on up to (6) devices in your home.
TiVo Bolt OTA 1 TB DVR & Streaming ($240) - Compatible only with HDTV Antennas; TiVo subscription required; record four shows at once and up to 150 hours of HD programming; pause, rewind and record free HD programming; access to streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, and more with 4K support when available; voice remote.
TiVo BOLT VOX 500 GB DVR & Streaming ($200) - Compatible with HDTV Antennas and cable; TiVo service subscription is required; record four shows at once and up to 75 hours of HD programming; voice remote; access to streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, and more with 4K support when available; voice remote.
Fire TV Stick 4K ($50) - Marked by industry-leading format support, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers Ultra HD playback with HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG high dynamic range, along with Dolby Atmos audio capabilities. The compact streaming stick is designed to connect directly to a TV's HDMI port, and is powered by a new quad core 1.7GHz processor and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, offering access to tens of thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills. In addition, the package includes Amazon's latest Alexa Voice Remote with Bluetooth and multidirectional infrared technology. Likewise, users can also opt for hands-free voice control via a separate Echo device.
Apple TV 4K ($179) - Powered by the A10X Fusion chip and 32GB of storage, Apple's flagship media player offers 4K playback capabilities at up to 60 frames per second with support for HDR10 (but not HDR10+), Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. In addition, the device includes 4K scaling for HD sources, Siri voice search, iCloud support for media sharing, standard AirPlay capabilities, and the ability to serve as a smart home hub for HomeKit accessories with remote access and automated control. Likewise, bolstered by Apple's iTunes service, the unit includes access to one of the strongest HDR and Dolby Atmos app lineups available. A 64GB version is also on sale for $199.
Belkin BE112234-10 12-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector ($22) - 12-outlet surge protector with 10-foot cord, 4120 joule energy rating.
Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug Power Strip Surge Protector with 8-Foot Power Cord ($27) - 8 rotating and 4 stationary surge-protected outlets, 1-in, 2-out RJ11 telephone/fax surge protection and coaxial protection, 4320 joule energy rating, 8' cord.
Tripp Lite Isobar 10 Outlet HT10DBS A/V Surge Protector ($85) - 10 Outlet Audio/Video Surge Protector, Tel/Modem/Coax/Network, 8ft Cord.
APC UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector with USB Charger ($57) - 600VA / 330W Battery Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS); 5 Outlets provide Battery Backup and Surge Protection; 2 Outlets offer Power Surge Protection Only; 1 USB Charger Port.
APC J25B 8-Outlet J-Type Power Conditioner with Battery Backup ($277) - Surge & Spike Protection, Telephone & Coaxial Surge Protection, 8 outlets: 6 UPS, 2 surge, 894 Joules, 1500VA outlet capacity.
Panamax MX5102 Home Theater Power Management with Battery Backup ($450) - 10 Outlets; 4 Switched, 2 Battery Backup, 2 Switched High Current, 2 Always On, 600VA UPS 2 Outlets.
So, there you have it. Those are our top home theater gear suggestions for the big game. We hope this guide helps out in your Super Bowl shopping endeavors. For now, though, what do you think about our choices? Do you have any other gear suggestions? Let us know in the forums! And be sure to check out High-Def Digest for more Super Bowl deals!
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