Tech Savvy: Need a TV upgrade for the big game? Sales are here – Brainerd Dispatch

Super Bowl season is considered one of the best times to buy a new TV.

Who doesn’t want to see the Feb. 13 big game on a big screen and in high definition — and for a much cheaper price than putting down $9,500 for the average cost of a Super Bowl ticket.

The picture clarity of large flat-screen TVs can be nothing short of amazing. New technology promises to make images so real it feels like the action is right there in the living room. The ultra high definition of 4K now has substantial content to go with the TVs. Color promises to be richer and more realistic. Mount it on the wall and it creates a great viewing option without taking up the room that used to come with what more seasoned people will remember as large console TVs.

So plan the snacks and get ready for the couch to feel more like a sideline experience for the game and a way to see those commercials with stunning images from that new TV.

For updated TV models it’s all about high definition, smart TVs, and changing acronyms. First it was getting an LCD or liquid crystal display, then came HDTV for high definition, and the newer acronym to remember is OLED for organic light-emitting diode. OLED TVs don’t require backlighting, consume less power, emit their own light with perfect blacks and rich colors.

“What is OLED? Get ready to experience movies that mesmerize, games that put you in the middle of the action, and sports that transport you to the stadium,” TV manufacturer LG reported. LG states OLED TVs are “capable of extreme realism and thin designs.”

To get those TVs no longer means a hefty price. Those prices are designed to fit numerous budgets and still provide for a quality large screen home viewing experience.

Image quality is remarkable, affordable

In a PCMag list of the best TV deals for the big game, prices ranged from nearly $500 for a 65-inch Vizio 4K Smart TV or a 70-inch TCL 4K HDR Smart Android TV all the way up to nearly $3,000 for a 77-inch Sony OLED 4K smart TV. PCMag notes there is also a 55-inch TCl 4K HDR smart TV for those looking for a smaller price, which was noted for a recent deal at $319.

When getting a big TV, plan to get a sound bar. It will seem like an extra piece you may not need, but it really is the best add-on for those large screen models. To get the flat screen and devote resources to the image, something had to give and sound was it. The big TVs are known for poor sound quality and the sound bar allows for better regulation of volume and better sound for the room. Some of the TVs will have built in streaming capabilities, although a streaming device is often the better avenue just for ease of use and PCMag listed current deals running from $30 for a Roku to $160 for Apple TV 4K streaming player.

So what is most important when looking for an upgrade? An informal survey had responses that included a TV that will look good in the room, one with a stunning visual display — the kind that is sort of mesmerizing at the retail store — and one with a good remote.

With the screen being the most important on that short list, there are a few things to look for when picking the model that will best fit personal preferences.

Because if you can’t be at the big game, watching it on a new big-screen 4K TV is the next best thing.

Consumer Reports

“When shopping for a new TV, it’s best to keep an eye out for key features including HDR, local dimming, OLED and Quantum Dot,” PCMag reported. The quantum dot is a technology that Business Insider notes boosts color performance.

“HDR has become increasingly common on entry-level TVs in recent years, but local dimming and Quantum Dot technology are still limited to midrange and high-end TVs as they produce notably superior onscreen images,” PCMag stated. “OLED is slowly beginning to take over and replace LCDs thanks to its bright and vivid colors.”

In a recent report for CNET looking at a full complement of TVs and options for the big game, reviewer David Katzmaier recommended the TCL 6-Series Roku TV as the best for the money. Recent prices put it at $1,100.

Top TV brands repeatedly making the short list for numerous reviews for TVs for the big game include LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL, and Vizio. The big screen and picture quality don’t have to put a big dent in the budget with Hisense TVs also making a few lists and coming with favorable prices — about $460 at a number of retailers.

Consumer Reports noted Super Bowl TV deals “should be plentiful, with the biggest price drops coming on the largest screen sizes.” Consumer Reports also listed the LG OLED TV as a top-performing excelling in picture quality and sound with new all-time low prices. Consumer Reports stated for those looking for a reason to upgrade their TV, Super Bowl LVI provides the opportunity, adding, “Because if you can’t be at the big game, watching it on a new big-screen 4K TV is the next best thing.”

Three men stand in front of a crowd of people at the CES show.

Tom Holland, center, the actor who portrays Spider-Man, is on the stage at 2022 CES show in Las Vegas in January as part of the Sony media day presentation.

Courtesy / Consumer Technology Association

If now isn’t the perfect time for the purchase, NerdWallet notes spring, when new TV models are arriving on the market, and Black Friday are also good sale periods.

No remote? No problem, just use gestures

The 2022 models, some recently unveiled at the CES show in Las Vegas where companies often unveil their latest technology or products, are expected to arrive in stores by spring. Business Insider reported Sony, Samsung, LG, Hisense and TCL all debuted new displays for 2022 with 4K and 8K TVs, although noting there isn’t 8K content at this point.

One notable offering on the Sony A95K QD OLED 4K TV is a Bravia Cam for video chatting and gesture controls, which allow people to change channels and adjust the volume using simple gestures and without the need to search for the remote. The Bravia Cam is designed to perch on top of the TV with a low profile and connects via USB. It also has a camera cover — so no need to put a sticky note over the camera lens. The Bravia Cam was awarded a CES 2022 Best of Innovation Awards.

Sony reports the Bravia Cam detects where the viewer is sitting in the room and automatically adjusts the voice zoom to bring them clear dialogue and the right sound balance. So it should be an answer to constantly adjusting sound with the remote from movies that blast music and special effects sounds, but then make dialogue so quiet as to be unintelligible, which is beyond annoying and what I recently found myself doing while watching “Dune.”

Sony’s offering makes that adjustment for you.

“The volume of TV dialogue increases when you move away from the TV and decreases when you get closer,” Sony stated.

“BRAVIA CAM recognizes where you are in the room and how far you are from the TV, then adjusts sound and picture settings so they’re just right,” Sony stated. “This means audio — including dialogue — is clearer and more immersive with picture brightness tailored to your viewing environment.”

In addition to Sony automatically adjusting the picture and sound for the room environment, a backlit remote has a finder function to locate it should it be misplaced. The Bravia Cam will also replace the need for a parent to say their child is sitting too close to the TV. Does that still happen these days? The TV will take that job over displaying a notification if a child gets too close.

Expect to pay a more premium price for the new Sony but there are multiple Bravia TV series options and current price cuts on those as well. And the Bravia Cam, when available, will work with multiple Sony TVs — Z9K, A95K, X95K, A90K, A80K, X90K, X80K.

So this might be the time to look at what a new TV can bring to the home experience and make the watch party for the big game a big deal.

RENEE RICHARDSON, Brainerd Dispatch managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or

[email protected]

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www.twitter.com/DispatchBizBuzz

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