After a long season, it's finally time for Super Bowl XLVII, and just as the players and coaches get ready for the big event in New Orleans, we're set on making sure you have everything you need to experience the event at home. While handy apps like Google Maps can help out ticket-holders with indoor maps of the Superdome, we've got the directions to follow in your own living room. In the modern age, game-day viewing is a mess of remotes, controllers, laptops, phones and now tablets -- make sure you're not showing down for the big event and follow us after the break.
Before 2013's best and brightest HDTVs hit the shelves, retailers need to clear room by shaking off 2012's lineup, often at a discount. That means if you're still waiting to jump on one or are just looking to upgrade, there are great values to be had with models that can arrive before game day. Panasonic's impressive mid-range GT series is available in a 55-inch size for $1,349 from several retailers, although finding it still in stock may be tricky. More budget-conscious buyers could opt for a 40-inch 1080p Samsung LCD that's currently available for $497. However if you'd like size (and are willing to sacrifice resolution), it also has a PN51E450 51-inch 720p plasma for $579. If you need more sale prices, our friends at SlickDeals can certainly help you out, although, as always, our advice is to double-check that return policy before buying.
The well-heeled buyer will, of course, have some other options, but few can compete with Sharp's Elite series of LCDs, assuming one can swallow its $5K-plus price. Although our old friend DLP is no longer with us, there are still super-sized options available with the Sharp 90-inch 1080p (although that pushes the price to around $9,000), and Samsung's 75-inch HDTV goes for about the same. Really feel the need to impress? While CBS' broadcast is limited to 1080i res, Sony and LG both have 84-inch 4K TVs available at a few retailers, and if you're willing to shell out $17,000 or more for the privilege of watching the game upscaled, we're more than willing to stop by for a visit -- we'll bring the dip.
Signal / stream / second screen
Hopefully you make sure to have a properly set-up and calibrated HDTV every year, but we've got some suggestions on how to go about it if you need them. Heading elsewhere for a party? A pre-game trip to confirm an HD signal (you'd think it's a given in 2013, but never assume), cables and a decently set-up home theater are not only permissible, they're recommended. NBC was the first broadcaster to stream the Super Bowl online last year, and for the 2013 game, CBS is keeping up the trend. One key difference is that it's using only a web portal, designed for access on both computers and tablets.
CBS should have plenty of experience at this after its online presentation for events like March Madness, and it's planning a slew of new features. Those include in-game access to the All-22 "eye in the sky" video so you can do your own Madden-style telestration, and a fixed fan-chosen camera, sideline or cable skycam view for those that need to feel like they're playing a video game. There's also support for pause and rewind so you can check out big plays over and over without disrupting viewing on the main screen.
If you're one of the viewers that's more interested in the ads than the game, CBS' site will have an interactive gallery updated with them as they air, along with the broadcast of Beyonce's halftime show. Of course, other second-screen apps like IntoNow will also bring Super Bowl-ready flair, Hulu's prepped a special minisite for Super Bowl ads and the usual assortment of sports apps should be loaded up and ready to go so you can keep track of all stats as necessary.
The pre-game game and the payback
In past years, we've moved from console games to mobiles for the traditional game-day beatdown and those options are, of course, still available. One released in the last year is Gameloft's freemium NFL Pro 2013 game. Available for iOS and Android, it costs nothing up front, but things like extra plays cost real money, so while it's good for a quick way to determine which one of you is Mama Harbaugh's favorite, it probably won't outlast its welcome beyond the big game.
Of course, one other possibility that straddles the line between mobile and console is provided by Nintendo's new hardware. Madden 2013 for the Wii U lacks the advanced physics of its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts, but the GamePad controller means you can keep playing even once the real game is up on the TV screen. Assuming you're one of the 3 million or so early adopters that have picked one up, maybe Super Bowl Sunday is the day its value starts to become apparent.
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!
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