Opinion: By the time you read this, the 2022 World Cup will be up and running, and if you’re looking to catch the action from your home, you’ll want the best package to do so.
And with Black Friday deals popping up left, right, and center, you may find it easier to create the setup you want without spending a lot on what you need.
So, if you intend to catch a soccer ball, what are the best ways to do it?
Choose an all-in-one TV
If you have pockets for that and don’t want to be surrounded by a set and many speakers, one option is to choose a TV that can do it all. There aren’t many TVs that have gone the all-in-one route, with Sky and Panasonic being the most prominent choices.
Sky Glass is by far the cheaper of the two, but its performance isn’t quite as accomplished. There is an image quality upgrade before the end of the year, but by then the World Cup may be over.
Alternatively, for those who want the ultimate in picture and sound, the Panasonic LZ2000 is the TV to consider. This combines an OLED screen capable of high performance brightness, a feature you’ll want to consider for any football-watching TV as the 2022 World Cup will be presented in 4K HDR (in the HLG version) via the BBC’s iPlayer. The brighter the TV, the more interesting and realistic the pictures will look on the screen. From the point of view of this site, the Panasonic LZ2000 is right around the top of the best TVs available.
Thanks to the built-in Dolby Atmos sound system, it can spread the sound above and on the sides of the TV. The World Cup won’t be presented in Atmos, but if you’re looking to save space on a TV that has its own integrated sound system, the Glass and LZ2000 will suffice.
Choose a bright HDR (or OLED) TV and surround system
Of course, not everyone can afford the likes of the Panasonic LZ2000, so less expensive TVs are clearly an attraction. I wouldn’t need to go down to a budget level – say under £700 or so – as you’re likely to be limited to TVs that aren’t particularly bright which will limit HDR performance. When you’re watching teams on the field, you’ll want the England team’s white shirt to look dazzling white, or the Brazil shorts to look vibrant yellow.
The other factor that plays into this is the time of day. With matches kicking off around 3pm in the afternoon in the UK or 7pm at night, I would say you have two options available. If you’re watching in a room with a lot of ambient light, a TV capable of taking bright HDR images is essential and there are few that are better than Samsung at the moment. I recently tested Samsung QN90B 4K Mini LED TV which can deliver an intense brightness of 2000 nits. You won’t have a problem with glare or reflections with this TV, especially with its anti-reflective screen.
Another avenue is OLED, and OLED is best suited for dark, dimly lit rooms because that helps bring out the massive contrast. Since we’re in Black Friday period, there are plenty of deals for both LCD and OLED TVs, and one of them is the Sony A80J which is just a penny under £1,000 for the 55in model. It’s bright enough for HDR and great for motion, eliminating any annoying stutter with confidence.
You can’t have a great picture without great sound, but instead of using a bulky traditional surround sound system, why not opt for a speaker system? Denon and Sonos both have Atmos setups, Denon with the Home series and Sonos with the Beam and One SL speakers. I’d rate the Sonos as the more measured and detailed of the two, but the Denon Home is a joy to listen to and lively. Right now, the Sonos system is cheaper if you want to splash the better part of £700 on a new system.
Going big by going small
My final recommendation is for those with smaller rooms and don’t have the space to fit 55” and 65”. Sticking to OLED, there are plenty of 42 and 48in for under £1,000, some as high as £750 in the case of the LG A2 OLED.
Smaller screens allow people to sit closer, so if you’re looking to watch football in your bedroom, these are the screen sizes you should go for. Sticking with the compact speakers trend, there’s the Sonos Beam and Denon Home 550 mentioned above, but if you want to harness the power of bass with a compact speaker, I recommend the Polk MagniFi Mini AX. It’s small but delivers big sound and the subwoofer brings powerful sound to your presentation.
Whether you’re watching the World Cup or maybe doing something else during the tournament, these systems will help make your viewing experience more enjoyable, no matter if it’s football, movies, TV or music. And with Black Friday rolling in, you might find a great deal on any of these products.