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Super Bowl 53: How to get your TV ready to watch



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Sarah Tew / CNET

Are you and your TV ready for Super Bowl 53 on Sunday, February 3?

If you're not among the lucky fans to see the game personally at the Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, yes, the Super Bowl is a big excuse to buy a new TV ̵

1; and we have some suggestions, both regularly – and supersized . But maybe your current set is just fine, just in need of a big game. Or maybe you just have the new set at home and want to make sure it is ready for the game. Like this.

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Go Big

Football is a complicated visual experience with lots of wide-angle views where big turns of the field are visible at once, often adorned with too small players. More than most TV shows, it is best suited for larger screens. You get a better experience watching as big a TV as you have, especially for a party.

If your TV is smaller, you can get a similar effect by sitting closer. High-performance images often look great even from close range, so it may be worth moving your location closer to the TV for the game. This means that if you do that will not hide the screen for your friends.

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The bigger your TV (or closer to you sit) the better.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Check the setting: HDMI, high-def and Wi-Fi

The first thing you want to do is make sure the TV is set correctly . If you have an HD cable or a satellite box, make sure it is connected via HDMI . You also want to make sure you are set to the highest version of the broadcast – available at CBS (note that CNET is owned by CBS). Most cable and satellite providers in the US have both HD and standard definition channels, and HD will look much better.

This year, the Super Bowl is also available live online from more places than ever: for free via CBSSports.com or with a subscription via the CBS All Access, NFL app or a live TV streaming service who carries CBS.

If you play the game, you want a lot of bandwidth. If you experience breakups or buffering, make sure other devices in your house do not use Wi-Fi at the same time. You can also try to move things around, go with a wired Ethernet connection or, if all else fails, upgrade your internet speed. For more, check out how to improve TV streaming .

Super Bowl 2019: How to watch Patriots vs Rams online, start time and more

Audio issues

You should definitely get your sound set correctly. If you use the TV speakers for audio, set your box or device to output stereo as opposed to 5.1 surround sound (Dolby Digital). But hopefully you use an external sound system or sound field that can not only deliver real or simulated surround sound – perfect for that Atlanta audience sound – but also much better dialogue.

Maybe you are the type of person who prefers to listen to the audience and turn off the advertisers. If so, try playing with the audio controls. Many TVs and external audio systems have a multi-band equalizer that lets you reduce certain frequencies regardless of others, silencing the sounds you don't want to hear. If your equipment does not have an equalizer, try experimenting with an audio mode or even the basic bass and treble controls.

And if you happen to listen to the surround sound broadcast on a surround system, you can shut down the middle channel to minimize the advertiser's dialogue. Conversely, if you would rather hear them over the audience, turn down the other speakers (left, right and surround) and turn up the middle.

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If the most accurate picture mode is not bright enough, try a few user settings.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Image Settings: Bright Ideas

At CNET, we calibrate the picture settings for each TV we review to get the best picture quality. If you happen to own one of the TVs that we have reviewed, you can actually try our calibrated settings yourself. Search our picture setup forum for your TV to find out if we, or another reader, have posted settings for it.

Our calibrations take place in a dark room, but with a start time of 3:30 pm. PT, west coast viewer will get the start of the game during the day – and it often requires a brighter picture. If the image appears too dark, try increasing the backlight, increasing the brightness (typically LEDs) behind the LCD screen. If you have an OLED TV, try increasing OLED Light instead. Also, be sure to disable room lighting sensors, automatic light control controls or power saving features.

Depending on your TV, you can also have a picture mode designed for a bright room. Look for something like "lighter" or "calibrated light" to get a brightness without the terrible color in a vibrant or dynamic mode. Talking about color …

Not easy to be green

During our calibrations we try to get the most accurate color possible. For football, the most common color you see is green of the field, and if it's not correct, it's pretty easy to see. The human eye is very sensitive to green, and you can usually tell if it looks too brown or boring, or too yellowish or pulsating. Like most NFL fields, Mercedez-Benz Stadium uses an artificial surface called FieldTurf, which has the same color as fresh grass.

If you do not have access to our picture settings, it is one of the best ways to ensure correct colors, including green, is to connect the movie or movie maker setting. Yes, it sounds contra-intuitive, but Film usually gives a more accurate color green than sports or other image modes. They are often punched and supersaturated, with greens that are much more intense than in real life. If you like the nice look, you might prefer one of these modes to a more precise one.

Unfortunately, on some televisions, Film will turn dark even if you turn on the backlight all the way. If so, choose another image mode and look for a control called "color space" or something similar. There you want to select the setting "HD" or "Auto" or "Rec 709", not the "Native" setting. You can also make the grass look more natural by reducing the color control. For more advice, check out how to set up a TV with the eye .

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Careful color is worth celebrating.


Sarah Tew / CNET

If you have a TV equipped with smoothing or muffler (aka two-stroke effect) you may want to experiment with these settings. Look for a setting called Auto Motion Plus on Samsung, TruMotion on LG, Smooth Motion Effect on Vizio and MotionFlow on Sony TV. Soccer can sometimes take advantage of the blur reduction effects of these settings, but on the other hand, you can mark artifacts, such as track behind fast objects such as a ball during a fast or goal kick. If you notice these effects, try turning off the setting completely.

Final steps: Kick back and enjoy

If you don't make the trip to Atlanta or buy a new TV, you have at least some ideas for getting your TV and home theater in game form. Now it's time to redecorate your mangrotta in Patriots or Ram's glory, invite your friends and scream on the screen.

Super Bowl 53 : Our entire coverage of 2019's largest television event.

Best TV for 2019: Handpicked by the experts here at CNET.


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