Big Screens for the Big Game
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., holds approximately 82,500 people and is the third-largest Super Bowl venue in Super Bowl history—only the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Super Bowls I and VII) and the Rose Bowl (Super Bowls XI, XIV, XVII, XXI, and XXVII) have accommodated more fans. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of people without a ticket to the big game.
Fortunately, a handful of technologically advanced TVs are ready to transcend the typical Super-Bowl-from-home experience. Whether through ultrahigh-definition 4K, organic-light-emitting-diode (OLED), or improved 1080p plasma technologies, the following televisions are certain to have you seeing the big game in a brand new way.
Following up on the debut its 4K TV—the $25,000 84-inch XBR-84X900— in the fall of 2012, Sony began shipping 4K TV models with 55- and 65-inch screens in May. Priced at $4,000 and $5,500, respectively, these models deliver the same high-quality 4K picture as their 84-inch forebear. Also like the debut model, the new TVs offer the ability to upgrade lower-quality content. What’s more, the two more recent versions can be controlled via smartphones or tablets, but we’re willing to bet you won’t use that function much on Sunday. Really, who changes the channel during the Super Bowl?
Like Sony, LG Electronics entered the 4K TV market with an 84-inch model during the final quarter of 2012and has since followed it up with 55- and 65-inch models (from $3,500 to $6,500). But where LG is really driving innovation is with its curved-screen OLED TV, the 55EA9800, which debuted in July. Priced at $10,000, the 55-inch model is equipped with a screen that’s only 4 mm thick and delivers perhaps the most vivid colors on the market today.
In April, Samsung began shipping the world’s largest commercially available 4K TV, the 85-inch UN85S9 ($40,000). The Korean electronics giant followed that up in August with the debut of the $9,000 KN55S9C, a 55-inch OLED TV with a curved screen. Samsung distinguishes its OLED model with a feature called MultiView, which allows two viewers wearing Samsung’s active eyewear to watch different content from the same TV at the same time. It’s a great feature, but let’s be honest: If one of your party guests wants to watch something other than Richard Sherman spying Peyton Manning down the sidelines, you need to reevaluate your Super Bowl party guest list.
The most noteworthy new Panasonic offering is the brand’s flagship 1080p ZT60 plasma model, available in 60- and 65-inch screen sizes ($3,000 and $3,800, respectively). The tech-review website CNet gave the ZT60 its highest rating ever, and the model indeed offers colors so bright, blacks so deep, and a picture so crisp that buyers might forget all about the buzz surrounding 4K TVs.