Best HDTV for Watching the Super Bowl

By Andrew Eisner

Retrevo recommends the best LCD TVs and Plasma TVs for demanding high definition sports programming.

The price you'd have to pay for one premium seat at the Super Bowl you can buy a big screen HDTV that you can watch all year long. Fast action sports can place extra demands on a TV set. The last thing you want to see is streaks and blurs showing up on the screen.

Several models of the current crop of Plasma TVs and LCD TVs have the best features to handle fast action sports like football or basketball. Retrevo analyzed Plasma and LCD TV user reviews, expert reviews, HDTV features, and the latest prices to come up with a list of recommended features and TVs.

Three important decisions you’re going to need to make from the snap are: 1. the size of the screen, 2. resolution it can handle, and 3. display type, meaning LCD or Plasma. Rear projections still offer the best bang for the buck and front projection TVs come closest to a real movie theater experience but for this year's Super Bowl, we're recommending either an LCD TV or a Plasma TV.

Screen Size

Many reviewers recommend screen sizes based on viewing distance but we feel you should buy the TV that fits on your wall and coexists with the furniture in the room. The best values in TVs are currently in the 37" and 42" According to Bruce Berkoff of the LCD TV Association, "The very best values are in 37" 720p LCD sets. 40" displays typically go to the big brands like Sony and Samsung which you are going to pay a premium for brand." Berkoff adds, "Plasma TVs used to have a price advantage above 50 inches but that is changing. Now you need to go to 72 inches to get that advantage."

Get Full HD or Save Some Money

Full HD or 1080p is the resolution that the HDTV manufacturers like to brag about however, the highest resolution programming except that from Blu-ray players or HD DVD players comes over the air, cable, or from satellite at 1080i or 720p resolutions. In the United States ABC, Fox, and ESPN broadcast their HDTV signal in 720p and CBS, NBC, HBO, and Discovery HD use 1080i.

If you're planning on buying a high definition DVD player, then consider a 1080p set. 1080p still looks better on sets larger than 32 inches. Otherwise a 720p or 1080i set should provide a satisfactory experience for some time to come. The only problem is 120 Hz refresh which helps reduce blurring is more commonly found in 1080p sets.

Best TV Sets for Watching Sports

Plasma TVs have had a slight advantage for viewing sports programming because you can turn plasma on and off faster than a liquid crystal pixel. That gap is narrowing. LCD TVs are coming out with faster (120 Hz) refresh or frame rates, faster pixels response times of 8 ms, and new MEMC (motion estimation motion compensation) chips to help minimize burring. That difference should vanish and even favor LCD TVs when LCD TVs start using LED backlights that can be switched on and off to virtually eliminate blurring.

One of the first LED backlit LCD TVs on the market is the Samsung LN-T4081. The 40" LCD TV costs around $3,000 and received a very favorable review on HDGuru.


Samsung LNT 4071F
Olevia 242T

Sharp AQUOS LC-52D62U
Sony BRAVIA KDL-46XBR4 Samsung LNT 4071F Olevia 242T

If you have the money and are willing to pay a premium for the Sony brand but want one of the highest rated LCD TVs then you should consider the Sony BRAVIA KDL-46XBR4 for around $2500 or the Sony BRAVIA KDL-40XBR4 for around $2200. Both sets run 120 Hz refresh and 8 ms pixel response.

The Samsung LNT 4071F 40 inch LCD TV can be purchased for less than $2000 and offers 120 Hz refresh, 8 ms. pixel response, and 3 HDMI inputs.

Syntax Olevia LCD TVs have a reputation for delivering a quality TV at a reasonable price. The best values can be found in their 720p sets like the 37" Olevia 537H that you can find for under $700 and for $800, you can get a 42" Olevia 242T They both offer 8 ms response times but neither offers 120 Hz refresh.

What about Sharp LCD TVs? If you live in Japan you can buy one of the new AQUOS R series LCD TVs that they claim are optimized for high-speed scenes with 120 Hz refresh. Otherwise you’re going have to wait or buy one of the current AQUOS LCD TVs like the $2,000 52 inch AQUOS LC-52D62U.

Plasma TVs
Plasma TVs continue to provide high quality images with deep blacks and warm natural colors. The large glass screens are still susceptible to glare and they use a lot of power. As this Wall Street Journal article pointed out the larger displays can draw over 500 watts of power and use over $100 worth of electricity a year.

Pioneer PDP-5010
Panasonic TH-50PZ700U
Vizio P50HDTV10A
Pioneer PDP-5010 Panasonic TH-50PZ700U Vizio P50HDTV10A

Pioneer dominates the Plasma TV market. The Pioneer PDP-5010 is part of their new KURO line that features 1080p resolution, 4 HDMI ports, and anti-glare treatment. The Pioneer PDP-5010 will cost you over $4,000 but received high marks from reviewers for great black levels and colors reproduction.

The 50" Panasonic TH-50PZ700U is another highly rated Plasma TV that will cost you around $2500. This is the Plasma TV that Consumer Reports said was the "best flat screen ever tested."

Hard to beat the value of the Vizio P50HDTV10A 50" Plasma TV for $1300. It's a 720p that reviewers say is not perfect but overall, a great deal.

Really Big TVs

Sony Bravia KDL-70XBR3
Panasonic TH-103PF9UK
Sony Bravia KDL-70XBR3 LG 71PY1M Panasonic TH-103PF9UK

If price is no object and you want to have the biggest LCD screen on the block or perhaps the city then check out the 70-inch Bravia KDL-70XBR3. It sells for a mere $30,000. It offers all the latest features including 120 Hz refresh and LED backlighting.

LG makes a 71" Plasma TV, the LG 71PY1M TV, that will only cost you around $12,000, It gets mixed reviews and will most likely bump up your utility bill a notch.

For the ultimate TV you'll want to look at the $69,000 Panasonic TH-103PF9UK. You'll need heavy equipment to get this 500 lb. beast in the door and your own personal power plant to run it but it is big and beautiful.

More Resources
For more information on buying and using HDTV products check out Retrevo’s HDTV Product Advisor. You can also find manuals and reviews for all the latest HDTV sets.

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