5 questions to ask when buying a TV for watching sport
Find the best TV for football by asking these 5 questions when researching your new telly… from screen size to sound and whether to 4K…?
1. ‘Should I buy a bigger TV?’
Our advice here is yes: buy as big a TV as you comfortably have the space for in your room. You’ll enjoy a ‘more immersive viewing experience’ with a bigger 55 or 60-inch TV, says our large screen TV buyer, Daler Bhaker.
When watching football on TV you can often see large swathes of the pitch, with several players on screen at once. With a larger TV there’s more space, so the players won’t seem as small.
However, you have to also consider the size of your room and how far you will be sitting from the TV – don’t buy a TV that’s too big for your room. Our viewing distance guide should help:
2. ‘Is it worth investing in 4K Ultra HD?’
Yes. The European football this summer may not be shown in proper 4K resolution, but it’ll still look much sharper than it would on a regular HD telly. That’s because 4K UHD TVs upscale regular content to look much better. They do this using a powerful processing engine, and the better TV you purchase the better quality upscaling you will enjoy.
Also, there’s plenty of top-flight football to watch in proper 4K resolution – BT Sport Ultra HD is a dedicated 4K channel, which has recently shown West Ham vs Sunderland. Daler says as well as upscaling, ‘4K content is becoming more widely available, for example Netflix, BT Sport Ultra HD and Ultra HD Blu-ray’.
3. ‘Are blacks deep and colours bright?’
One of the most important elements of TV picture quality is the contrast ratio. This determines how dark and bright your TV picture can go. The best TVs can produce deep, inky blacks and bright colours.
Imagine a scene of a funfair at night. The sky would be a deep black, and the rides colourful and punchy on a TV with a high contrast ratio. TVs with high contrast will create a more realistic experience when watching football too. Make the pitch appear as it would in real life, and see intricate detail.
You can enjoy excellent contrast levels from new 2016 4K UHD TVs from Samsung and Sony thanks to developments like quantum dot displays and High Dynamic Range. What is HDR TV?
LG’s OLED TVs too have superb contrast. They can create deep, true blacks as they do not need a backlight to illuminate their screen.
4. ‘Do processing rates matter?’
Yes. Processing rates are really important when buying a TV for watching sport. Football is fast-paced - balls are crossed, free kicks are struck.
Your TV needs to be fast to keep up with the action. So having blur-free motion is pretty important. And to get that you need decent processing or refresh rates. High processing rates ‘reduce motion blur for a clearer picture,’ says Daler.
In the features section of our product pages, you’ll see it measured in hertz (Hz) – the higher the number, the more times-per-second the image refreshes on your screen. Want to know more? Processing rates explained: how they improve watching TV.
5. ‘Should I beef up my TV’s speakers with a soundbar?’
Modern TVs are very slim. This means they have little room for powerful speakers. Create the big game atmosphere by adding some home cinema tech.
A soundbar is the simplest way of beefing up your TV’s speakers. It’s a single, oblong-shaped box containing several speakers. You can mount it underneath your TV, or pop it on the cabinet. It’s clutter free, easy to set up and sounds great.
Feel as though you’re in the thick of the action, with the roar of the crowd and the thwack of the ball in true stereo sound to the left and right of you and virtual surround sound. It’s a ‘much more immersive experience, much more like being there,’ says Daler.
Picture Perfect Plus
When you first get your new TV, there are a couple of steps you need to take to ensure you get the best possible picture quality. Most TVs arrive set up for the bright fluorescent conditions of a shop, so you’ll need to adjust the settings to see all the fine detail your TV is capable of.
You can learn how to make the most of your TV with the Picture Perfect video guide created by our Knowhow experts.
In simple steps, the guide will show you what to do, talk you through the settings to change and even give you a whole suite of professional quality tools to use if you want to take your viewing to the next level. Picture Perfect Plus includes test patterns for 4K UHD TVs, as well as audio setup tones for optimum speaker placement.