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Super Bowl 2020: check these TV settings before the big game starts

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Sarah Tew / CNET

Are you and your TV ready for the Super Bowl next Sunday, February 2? If you are not one of the lucky fans who can view the game in person at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, then you are probably one of more than 1

00 million people who watch it on TV, or streaming or via cable. And you get a treat because you can stream the game for the first time in 4K HDR, for improved image quality on those large 4K TV & # 39; s .

Many people use the Super Bowl as an excuse for to buy a new TV but most of you will stick to your existing model. In both cases, you want to make sure that your TV is ready for the game, especially if you organize an epic party . This is how.

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Growing up

Football is a complicated visual experience, with many wide-angle images where large parts of the field are visible at the same time, often littered with too small players. More than most TV shows, it is most suitable for larger screens. You get a better experience if you watch as large a TV as possible, especially for a party.

If your TV is smaller, you can get a similar effect by sitting closer. High-def and 4K images often look great even from short distances, so it may be worth moving your seat closer to the TV for the game. That is, if this does not obscure your friends' screen.

Check the configuration: HDMI, high-def, 4K and Wi-Fi

The first thing you want to do is make sure that the TV is set correctly . If you have a high-definition cable or satellite box, make sure it is connected via HDMI . You also want to make sure that you are tuned to the high-def version of the broadcast – available on Fox. Most cable and satellite providers in the US have both HD and standard definition channels and HD looks much better.

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If you are streaming on busy Super Bowl Sundays, your internet connection is crucial.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

This year the Super Bowl is also available to stream live online from more places than ever. If you stream the game, you want to have enough bandwidth. Make sure that other devices in your house outside of your TV – such as the children streaming 4K Netflix upstairs – do not use WiFi at the same time. You can also try to move things around, go with a wired Ethernet connection or, if all else fails, upgrade your internet speed. For more information, see how you can improve TV streaming .

Read more: The best WiFi routers in 2020

Those tips quadruple for the 4K version of the game, available for free via the Fox Sports app . They recommend an internet speed of 25 Mbps, which is no change. If you are not sure how fast your connection is, download a speed test app for your smart TV or media reader and test it, preferably during a busy evening. Super Bowl Sunday is getting busy on the internet and depending on your provider you may experience dropouts or buffering. It pays to have a backup plan in the worst case, for example connecting an antenna to watch Fox broadcast over the air.

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A soundbar is a smart move to improve the audio of the game beyond the bad speakers of your TV. Sarah Tew / CNET

Sound is important

You must certainly also set your audio correctly. If you use the TV speakers for audio, set your box or device to output stereo as opposed to 5.1 surround sound (Dolby Digital). But hopefully you use an external audio system or a soundbar that can deliver not only real or simulated surround sound – perfect for that noise from the crowd in Miami – but also a much better dialogue.

Read more: [19659030] Best soundbar deals for the big game

Perhaps you are the kind of person who would rather listen to the crowd and reject the announcers. If that is the case, try playing with the sound controls. Many TV & # 39; s and external sound systems have a multi-band equalizer that allows you to lower certain frequencies independently of others, dampening the sounds you do not want to hear. If your equipment does not have an equalizer, try experimenting with a sound mode or even with the bass and treble controls.

And if you happen to listen to the surround sound broadcast on a surround system, you can lower the sound to the middle channel to minimize the dialogue of the announcers. Conversely, if you prefer to hear them across the crowd, lower the other speakers (left, right, and surround) and turn the center up.

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If the most accurate picture mode is not clear enough, try some adjustments by the user. Sarah Tew / CNET

Image settings: clear ideas

At CNET, we calibrate the image settings of each TV we judge to get the best image quality. If you happen to own one of the TV & # 39; s that we reviewed, you can try our calibrated settings yourself. Search our TV settings forum for your TV to find out if we, or another reader, have made settings for it.

Our calibrations take place in a dark room, but with a start time of 15:30. PT, West Coast watchers get the game started during the day – and that often requires a better picture. If the image appears too weak, try increasing the backlight control, thereby increasing the illumination (usually LED & # 39; s) behind the LCD screen. If you have an OLED TV, try increasing the OLED Light instead. Also make sure that you switch off room light sensors, automatic brightness controllers or energy saving controllers.

Depending on your TV, you may also have designed an image mode for a bright room. Look for something like "Brighter" or "Calibrated Clear" to get a clarity boost without the terrible color of a vibrant or dynamic mode. If your TV does not have such a & # 39; n mode, you must choose the movie or cinema mode and again, if it seems too dark, increase the brightness as described above.

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Accurate color is worth celebrating. Sarah Tew / CNET

It is not easy to be green

During our calibrations we try to get the most accurate color possible. For football, the most common color you see is the green of the field, and if it's not accurate, it's pretty easy to see. The human eye is sensitive to green and you can usually see if it looks too brown or dull, or too yellowish or vibrant.

If you do not have access to our image settings, one of the best ways to ensure accurate colors, including green, is to enable the Film or Cinema setting. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive, but Movie usually offers a more accurate color of green than Sports or other image modes. They often look worn and oversaturated, with greens that are much more intense than in real life. If you like the spicy appearance, on the other hand, you might prefer one of those modes to a more accurate one.

On some TVs, the movie settings look too dark, even if you turn the backlight higher. If that is the case, choose a different image mode and look for a control called "color space" or something similar. There you want to choose the "HD" or "Auto" or "Rec 709" setting, not the "Native" setting. You can also make the grass appear more natural by reducing color control. See for more information about setting up a TV with the eye .

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Our advice with the soap opera effect and football: it pays to experiment beforehand.

David Katzmaier / CNET

If you have a TV that is equipped with smoothing or dejudder (aka the soap opera effect) you may also want to experiment with those institutions. Look for a setting named Auto Motion Plus on Samsung, TruMotion on LG, Smooth Motion Effect on Vizio and MotionFlow on Sony TV & # 39; s. Football can sometimes benefit from the blurring effects of those settings, but on the other hand you can notice artifacts, such as paths behind fast moving objects such as a ball during a fast pass or goal kick. If you notice these effects, try turning the setting off completely.

Last step: sit back and enjoy

If you don't make the trek to Miami or buy a new TV, at least you have a few ideas to get your TV into play time. Feel free to redesign your home cinema in 49ers or Chiefs glory, invite your friends and shout at the screen.

Originally published last year. Updated for Super Bowl 2020.

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