With Super Bowl XLVI finally upon us all the pretenders have been shaken loose, leaving only the New England Patriots and New York Giants to compete for the NFL championship this weekend. While we're sure Indianapolis is lovely in February, we prefer to enjoy the game from the comfort of home where there's conveniences like affordable refreshments, central heating and of course our full loadout of equipment including HDTVs, computers, tablets and phones. Whether you're already set with equipment or are scouring the shelves looking for a new television in time for game day, we're back again in time for the 2012 game with a few suggestions to make sure you're getting the most out of what you've got -- feel free to drop in your own tips, chili recipes and the like in the comments below.
Update: We've added a few more HDTV deals from Samsung, Sears and Westinghouse, you'll find links after the break.
Even though we just got home from viewing the future HDTVs of 2012 at CES, for now your selections on the shelf are the remnants of the 2011 lineup. At the top of the line in quality you'll find Panasonic's VT30 series plasmas, joined by the new Sharp Elite LED LCDs. Of course, while membership has its privileges it also has its costs -- the TC-P65VT30 is slightly more expensive on Amazon ($3,099), than when we last namechecked it before Christmas, and the Sharp Elite runs around $7k and up for the 70-inch version, while a 60-inch PRO-60X5FD is available for $4,694.If bigger is better however, Sharp's non-Elite 80-inch LCD is the biggest flat panel you'll find and the price has actually dipped since the holidays, to just $4,200 or so at last check. Of course, that same $4k can also buy an even bigger screen in a slightly thicker frame, if you opt for a DLP set like Mitsubishi's 92-inch WD-92840.
Of course, while dreaming about the high end is nice, more reasonable budgets may require some scaling back. A peek at some of the more reasonably priced selections from our most recent back to school guide reveals their prices haven't shifted greatly and neither has their value, although at this point we may also suggest Panasonic's ST30 line -- you can find the 46-inch model the sports last year's panel technology for under $900. Walmart is pushing the company's TC-P60S30 for $898 in stores this week as well, however for the extra size you'll have to settle for a lower quality panel. In the lower price ranges, there's plenty of competition from the big name brands and lesser known manufacturers, since rebranding abounds we'd recommend making the stores return policy something to check along with the spec sheet when trying to be thrifty. After scanning for 1080p (assuming you'll be sitting close), and features like 120Hz motion, 3D or connected features if those interest you, make sure you've got enough connections to support all your current boxes with one or two left over for expansion, everything works and you're able to adjust the picture as desired, or else pack that thing up and take it back to where it came from. If you see any deals that jump off the page this week, drop a note in the comments below.
Update: Westinghouse has posted a link to one of its 60-inch HDTVs on sale at Walmart for $899, while Samsung has posted up an array of its HDTV models from its D7000 and D8000 series for your perusal at lowered prices. Sears is also running a few specials, including a Sharp 70-inch LED LCD for $1899, and an Onkyo HTIB for $499 -- take a peek below for the full list
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GO BIG AND GO HOME WITH SUPER DEALS ON TVs FROM SEARS IN PREPARATION FOR THE ULTIMATE FOOTBALL GAME
- Save $900 on a Sharp 70" class 1080p Smart LED TV – only $1899.88. While quantities last. In store only (057-71310/LC70LE632U). - Save $1400 on a Sony 55" class 1080p 3D Smart LED TV – only $1499.88. Comes with a 3D Starter kit that includes 2 pairs of 3D glasses and a 3D Blu-ray movie ($149.99 value) While quantities last. (057-71693/KDL55NX720). - Add a Sony Wi-Fi Ready Blu-Ray Player for only $79.99 (057-57251/BDPS380) - Save $150 on a Zenith 50" class 1080p Plasma TV for only $549.88 – (057-75861/Z50PV220) - Save $50 on a Samsung 32" class LCD TV – only $299.99. (057-71072/LN32D403) - Save 10% on a Bose CineMate Series II System when purchased with any HDTV. Add theatre-quality sound to your home, effortlessly. Reg $599.99. (057-90919). Available in select Sears stores and on sears.com - Save $50 on a Sharp 2.1 Channel Soundbar – Only $249.99 (057-98311/HT-SL70) - $499.99 Onkyo 800 watt Home Theatre System delivers high quality surround sound with speakers, receiver, active powered subwoofer, 4 HDMI inputs. (057-80611/HT-S5400)
The signal / stream / second screen
As we mentioned in the TV section, getting your HDTV properly set up and calibrated is key -- if you haven't done it yet take a peek at our tips on the subject and take care of it ASAP, we'll wait -- however we'd hope that as an educated Engadget reader, you're not one of the many who think they're watching an HD signal but actually aren't. By 2012 you should have your setup pretty much figured out whether you get your TV by antenna, satellite or cable and be ready to go. Of course, if you're heading somewhere else to watch the game we still advise getting there early and checking things out -- in our yet-to-be-published book of etiquette this is just being a considerate guest. One new wrinkle this year is NBC's plan to make the game available for streaming online. Like its Sunday Night Football Extra streams, a Silverlight powered HD video stream will be open to US residents complete with DVR-style controls, additional camera angles, in-game highlights, stats and interactive feedback. Whether you're stuck in the office away from a TV or just need an extra way to keep an eye on the action, NBCSports.com and NFL.com will be the places to go to watch from PCs.
On tablets and phones, assuming there's not a Slingbox somewhere you can tie into, the video stream is just for Verizon customers via the NFL Mobile app. Speaking of apps, once again the NFL has unleashed a suite of apps for smartphones and tablets to go along with the game, that should enhance the experience for those attending or tuning in at home. On both iOS and Android, there's an official guide that covers all the local attractions and events in Indianapolis, as well as pulling in various tweets about the action.
The Pre-Game Game and the payback
The last few years we've moved the annual test of virtual football skills to downloadable games and tablets, this year however has been marked by the return of NFL Blitz to consoles, so to get hyped up for what appears likely to be a high scoring affair we're thinking this download on Xbox 360 or PS3 is the way to go -- check out a review from our friends at Joystiq if you still need convincing. with the quick pace of the games, a pregame tournament shouldn't be too difficult to sort out, and for the payback, we're thinking unfettered access to the social streams of the defeated for a quarter or a half sounds about right. Don't want your @TomBrady4Ever stream polluted by pro-Eli(te) Manning tweets? Better get busy on those sticks.
Obviously, we wouldn't be shocked to find that your favorite wares weren't listed here, so be our guest and shout out your recommendations in comments below!