Super Bowl TV and Home Theater Setup Tips

Celebrate Super Bowl Sunday in High Definition and Surround Sound

Cheering Loudly During the Game
Cheering Loudly During the Game. Getty Images - Fat Camera - Collection E+ - 504331578

The annual Super Bowl is one of the best excuses to have a viewing party.

For 2018, the Big Game will be held on Sunday, February 4th and broadcast through the NBC Television Network. The game broadcast is scheduled to begin at 3:30 pm PST/6:30 pm EST from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, there will be several hours of pre-game TV programming.

Check your local TV, cable, or satellite provider for access in your area.

For 2018, the Super Bowl will be broadcast in 1080i resolution.

Here is how to get the best home-bound Super Bowl viewing experience.

Receiving the Game

Make sure your antenna, cable, or satellite box is working properly and that you will be able to receive the channel in your area that is broadcasting the Super Bowl. If you will receive the game via an antenna and need to get one, check out our suggestions. For questions regarding cable or satellite, contact your local cable provider or satellite provider.

Watching the Game - The TV Option

To get the best possible picture, you need at least an HDTV. If you already have an HDTV, then you ready to go, provided it has an ATSC tuner, which is required for receiving over-the-air HDTV signals. If you subscribe to HD-Cable or HD-Satellite service, make sure it will provide access to the channel broadcasting the Super Bowl in HD.

If you don't own an HDTV and want to buy one in time for the Super Bowl, LED/LCD flat panel sets are the most affordable option available.

Sorry Plasma TV fans, these sets were discontinued back in 2014, but you may find one available on clearance or used by third parties. If you have the chance to grab one, Plasma TVs do provide better natural motion response than LED/LCD TVs, which is great for sports viewing.

Although the Super Bowl will not be broadcast in 4K (although it will shot using 4K and 8K cameras for future distribution and archiving), your Super Bowl TV viewing experience may still be further enhanced if you opt for a 4K Ultra HD TV.

These sets provide 4K upscaling capability, which adds more perceived detail from the HD broadcast signal, which is good if you spring for one that is 65-inches or larger.

With 1080p TVs, screen sizes larger than 50-inches now very rare, a 4K Ultra HD TV might be the better option if you desire a larger screen.

Another TV option that is available is OLED TV. So far, LG and Sony are your only brand sources for these high-end sets. OLED TVs are offered in screen sizes ranging from 55 to 77-inches, and all support 4K resolution display.

When shopping for your Super Bowl TV, be wary of Curved Screens. Although these sets look fancy, keep in mind that if you have a large group, the people sitting off to the sides may not have a complete view of all the action.

Check out our suggestions for 1080p LED/LCD TVs and 4K Ultra HD TVs (includes LED/LCD and OLED).

Watching The Game - The Video Projector Option

Another way to watch the Super Bowl is by using a video projector. Video projectors can deliver a huge screen size, which is great for a large group, but the setup requirements are different than that of a TV.

  • First, you need a large screen or blank white wall.
  • Next comes the video projector. However, if you are planning to use it in a room with that has some ambient light present (such as daylight viewing with just the drapes, blinds, or curtains drawn), you need a projector that can put out a lot of light. Fortunately, a growing number of projectors can put out enough light for such conditions.

For some projector suggestions, check out our listing of Best Cheap Video Projectors and Best 1080p and 4K Projectors.

In addition to light output, you also have to consider how you are going to get the TV broadcast/cable/satellite signal to the projector. Since projectors don't typically have built-in TV tuners, you need to connect a cable or satellite box to the projector using an HDMI connection.

Hearing the Game

To get the best sound experience for the Super Bowl, there are several ways to go.

  • Option 1: If you are planning to receive the Super Bowl using an over-the-air antenna, which is connected to an HDTV with an ATSC tuner, then check to see if your HDTV has a digital optical Audio Output Connection. Also, if you have a surround sound system, check to see if the receiver in your system also has a corresponding digital optical Audio Input connection. If so, then simply connect the digital audio output of the HDTV to the digital audio input of the home theater system, and you will experience the surround sound feed for the Super Bowl.
  • Option 2: If your HDTV does not have a digital optical audio Output, but has a set of analog stereo outputs, then connect those outputs from your HDTV to your home theater system. If using this connection option, check to see if your home theater system has a Dolby Prologic II or IIx setting option. If so, then you will still be able to extract a surround sound signal from the stereo input signal, although it is not as effective as the surround sound signal accessed by the digital optical audio connection option.
  • Option 3: Another way to access audio that you may be able to take advantage of is Audio Return Channel. The feature utilizes the HDMI connection that you may already have your TV and a home theater receiver (or HDMI-equipped soundbar) and can transfer the audio signal originating from the TV back to the home theater receiver without having to make a separate digital or analog audio connection from the TV to the home theater receiver. However, in order to take advantage of this option, both your TV and Home Theater Receiver/System or Sound Bar have to incorporate this feature.
  • Option 4: If you subscribe to HD-Cable or HD-Satellite, then your box should have a digital optical audio output connection. If this is the case, then connect directly from the box to the digital optical audio input connection of your home theater system. You will now be able to access the surround sound signal from the cable or satellite feed.
  • Option 5: If you have a home theater receiver that has HDMI audio access, and if your Cable or Satellite Box has an HDMI output, then the best option would be to simply connect the HDMI output from your Cable or Satellite box to your home theater receiver and then connect the output of your home theater receiver to your HDTV. This simplifies the number of connections; you will be able to access both audio and video using a single connection from the cable or satellite box to the home theater receiver, and then to the TV.

If you don't have a home theater system to complement your HDTV, consider an all-in-one home theater system. Check out some affordable options that may provide the perfect option for hearing those Super Bowl bumps and grinds.

Also, if you aren't interested in having extra speaker clutter - you can also take advantage of the more modest Sound Bar Option - check our suggestions in this audio product category.

It is also important to point out that if you go the video projector route, most do not have built-in speakers, and the ones that do are not much better than a tabletop radio. For best result, you need to connect either an analog or digital optical/coaxial audio output connection from your cable/satellite box to a home theater system, sound bar, or sound base.

Plan Ahead

If you are starting completely from scratch, and need to purchase and set up a TV (or video projector) and home theater system in time for the Super Bowl,  give your self enough time to plan ahead.

Streaming

For those that will not be home, or are working, on the big game day, you will need to check streaming options. For 2018, the game is being broadcast by NBC. Check for their live streaming options at NBC Sports Super Bowl Page. Also, check out additional options that may be available depending on your location.

Some options may also require that you need to be a cable or satellite subscriber in order get access to the stream - so check the NBC Sports Super Bowl or the Super Bowl 2018s pages shortly before the game day.

Over The Radio

For those that don't have access the game on TV or via the streaming option, it will also be available on affiliated Westwood One radio stations.

More Info

This article is updated for each year's Super Bowl. Come back in early January of each for details pertaining to that year's scheduled Super TV broadcast and TV/Home Theater setup information.