Tips on buying a big TV for the big game
FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, file photo TV sets, are on sale in the Pembroke Pines, Fla. Best Buy store. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)

Tips on buying a big TV for the big game

You want to watch the big game on a new big screen TV. Okay, how big?

Jim Wilcox, senior editor for electronics at Consumer Reports, says make sure the set is appropriate for the size of that room.

"So if you're sitting six to eight feet back, a 58 to 60 inch TV is fine. If you're going to be closer, then you need to go a little bit smaller than that,” he explained.

You can find 60-inch sets for $800, so you won't pay a huge premium for size if you stay 60 inches or under.

Consumer Reports still likes plasma TVs, but most people now go with LCD sets. If you go that route, make sure you check the viewing angle.

"A lot of LCD TVs have narrow viewing angles, so if you have a crowd over it means the people on the sides are aren't getting the same great picture as the people in the middle,” Wilcox said.

And don't forget the sound. One of the consequences of slimmer TVs is that the sound quality really suffers in a lot of instances.

“There are only a handful of models in our ratings of about 300 TVs that actually have very good sound,” Wilcox told me. “So, if buy one of these sets, make sure you budget for a sound bar or external sound system."

In many cases, TVs come tweaked to produce the best display in the store, so you may need to adjust the set to get the best picture at home.

"Typically, we find that the best all-around setting is either the movie or cinema mode, which gives it the most natural colors and the appropriate brightness. It's not too bright and the colors aren't over-saturated," Wilcox told  me. "In general, if you're not going to tweak the set further than that, put it into the movie or cinema mode for the best picture."

A lot of TVs now have a sports mode that boosts the colors and/or the brightness of the picture. You might want to check for that as you get ready to watch the big game. But Wilcox says you don't want to watch everything in this mode, because it can be cause eye fatigue.

By the way, if you don't need a new TV but want to get the best price – wait a bit. Consumer Reports says the lowest prices of the year are typically around the end of February and the beginning of March.

More Info: Consumer Reports TV Buying Guide

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