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To watch big NFL games in style, go wide on TV screen

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/16/15/46/eLM2J.Em.138.jpeg|316
    John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
    While in Queen City Audio, Video & Appliances looking for a washer, Lynn Jiang and husband Winston Len talk with sales associate Rahel Alamayo about wide-screen TV options.
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    - Sony
    The Sony 70-inch Class R520A Series LED Internet TV.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/16/17/02/sDhLN.Em.138.jpeg|209
    - Sharp
    The Sharp Aquos 70-inch Class 1080p LED Smart TV.
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    - VIZIO
    The Vizio E701i-A3 offers plenty of Smart TV content and a two-sided remote. VIZIO
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More Information

  • Wide-screen details

    • About 7.5 million people shopped for a new television for last year’s Super Bowl game, reports THX, which certifies home-entertainment-system technology.

    • Screen sizes are recommended to create an “immersive cinematic experience,” according to THX. The farther the seating distance, the bigger the screen should be. So a 35-inch-class TV should be positioned 3.5 to 5 feet away; a 40-inch-class TV at a distance of 4 to 6 feet; a 50-inch-class TV at 5 to 7.5 feet; and a 60-inch-class TV at 6 to 9 feet, THX suggests.

    • To learn how to adjust your TV for better picture quality, visit www.avforums.com/pages/pictureperfect.

    • Get everything set up by 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 2. That’s kickoff time for the Super Bowl.



Giant, high-definition televisions are as American as extended-cab pickup trucks and the big game.

Incidentally, they display the big game really nicely and may require a pickup truck to get them home from the store.

If you’re shopping for a new set that’s big enough for the crowd you’ll invite over to watch this year’s NFL gladiator match on Feb. 2, you’re in luck.

The playoff season happens to be the same time when many retailers are working on clearing out last year’s models as they turn their attention to newer technology, including the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month in Las Vegas.

“The TV is never big enough,” said Ben Puzon, store manager at the Best Buy store at the Metropolitan development on Charlottetowne Avenue. “It’s the playoffs, and it’s the big game. That’s when people start to think bigger is better.”

Today, screen sizes have reached 55, 70 inches and even grander scales. “Two year ago, we didn’t carry them that large,” Puzon said.

If you’re looking for the best TV with a party-size screen that’s 70 or even 75 inches, check out these top picks.

Samsung 75-inch

LED F8000 Series Smart TV

The good: The 75-inch Samsung LED F8000 Series Smart TV delivers excellent picture quality with deep black levels, accurate color, effective video processing and a uniform screen. Minimalist design and low-profile stand. Features list includes touch-pad remote, IR blaster with cable box control, four pairs of 3-D glasses, motion and voice command and the industry’s most capable smart TV platform.

The bad: Expensive; wide stand; cable box control scheme inadequate for heavy DVR users.

The cost: $4,918 to $7,999.99

The bottom line: The excellent yet expensive Samsung LED F8000 Series Smart TV is a tour de force of LED TV design, features and picture quality.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

Sharp Aquos 70-inch

Class 1080p LED Smart TV

The good: The Sharp LE650 series boasts better overall picture quality than most competing LCD TVs. Black levels and shadows are dark and detailed, color is accurate, and the image maintains fidelity well in a bright room.

The bad: Sound quality has been compromised in the pursuit of a smaller cabinet; some slight black uniformity issues; cheaper big-screen TVs are available.

The cost: $1,669 to $2,071.75

The bottom line: The Sharp LE650 series sets the big-screen LCD TV value bar high with very good picture quality for the price.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

Vizio 70-inch

Class Razor LED Smart TV

The good: The Vizio Razor LED Smart TV is the least expensive LED TV of its size that also offers Smart TV-Internet connectivity. Its picture boasts highly accurate color and very good bright-room performance. Plenty of smart TV content is on hand, and the remote has a traditional keyboard layout that makes searches and other actions easier. With its thin profile, the set has a compact, sleek look.

The bad: The Razor LED’s picture can’t match the black-level performance of some competing LED TVs, and it suffers from some uniformity issues. Its smart TV interface design seems a bit dated and cumbersome.

The cost: $1,598 to $2,059.20

The bottom line: At the time of review, the Vizio 70-inch Class Razor LED Smart TV was the best value yet among 70-inch LED TVs.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

Sony 70-inch

Class R520A Series LED Internet TV

The good: The Sony R520/R550 series offers excellent value and very good picture quality among its LED peers. It has relatively deep black levels, a matte screen to improve bright-room performance, and attractive styling with unique stand.

The bad: Better values are available. Colors aren’t entirely accurate, the different smart TV interfaces can be confusing and a little slow, and the screen mirroring didn’t work on our sample.

The cost: $2,198 to $2,268.

The bottom line: The big-screen Sony R520/R550 series offers the best value you’ll see from the company this year.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good).

Karen Sullivan contributed

More SmarterLiving: www.charlotteobserver.com/smarterliving

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