Best Sports TVs for Game Day

LGOLED65G1

The weeks preceding the Super Bowl is the best time to find a bargain TV. New models for 2022 were just announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held earlier this month in Las Vegas, but those sets won’t appear in virtual or physical stores for another couple of months. In the meantime, retailers are anxious to clear out existing inventory of 2021 models, which can translate to rock-bottom prices.

But first, know the winning features to look for so you feel as if you’re right on the field—taking in all the action, color, and bone-crushing hits even if you’re just slouched at home on the sofa.

What's a 'Refresh Rate'?

On TV, a Pat Mahomes spiral, a Jacob deGrom fastball, a Bubba Watson two-iron, an Alex Ovechkin slapshot, a Novak Djokovic serve, even Jimmie Johnson’s #48 race car, can all appear as blurs. That’s because the often 100 MPH-plus speed of these objects is faster than your TV’s ability to accurately display them. Instead of a distinct moving object, you get what TV people call “motion blur.”

Just like movies, TV’s moving picture is made up of succeeding video “frames.” This is the “refresh rate,” which on most TVs is 60Hz, or 60 frames per second. But even at 60Hz, speeding balls, pucks, and cars can appear as fuzzy blobs. To counter motion blur, TV makers have been upgrading their better models to natively refresh at 120Hz to render zooming objects more smoothly and distinctly.

While 120Hz is an answer to arrest motion blur, it’s not the answer. Many TV makers have built in additional aids to reduce motion blur, such as algorithmic schemes that artificially create 120Hz or even 240Hz video. However, these algorithmic refresh schemes often create image flicker or the dreaded “soap opera effect” that makes movement look, well, unreal.

How We Evaluated:

Included here are only TVs with screens 65-inches and larger and those able to natively handle 120Hz. I considered price in terms of value—the best set for the least amount of money, but mostly concentrated on TVs that provide the best Super Bowl viewing experience. As much as I love Al Michaels’ mellifluous tones and hearing the QB play-calling arcanum, audio is less an issue for sports than it is for movies. After all, the loudest sounds in your Super Bowl viewing room are likely to come from you and your buddies screaming at the TV.

Key Specification

Screen Size
Supported internet Service
Connectivity Technology
Brand
Resolution
Display Technology
Model Name
Refresh Rate
Special feature

65 inches
Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube
Bluetooth
LG
4K
OLED
OLED65G1PUA
120 Hz
Flat

Review:

This top-of-the-line LG OLED includes the company’s EVO technology that dramatically brightens its picture compared to other OLEDs from lower-priced LG models and other OLED competitors. With its brighter image, OLED’s natural popping colors, deep black levels, and wider viewing angle, the G1 is arguably the best sports TV available. To complement your interior design, the G1’s Gallery Design enables the TV to be mounted nearly flush to a wall like a picture frame.

Positive
Negative

Key Specification

Screen Size
Supported internet Service
Connectivity Technology
Brand
Resolution
Display Technology
Refresh Rate
Special featur

77 Inches
Google TV, Netflix, Sling, YouTube, Hulu, etc
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Sony
4k
OLED
120Hz
Apple Airplay, Bravia Core, Chromecast Built-In, Dual Database Processing, Dynamic Backlight Control, Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Google Assistant

 

Review:

With better off-angle viewing than most OLEDs, Sony’s XR Motion Clarity technology on this 77-inch set results in nearly blur-free action. You get not only great video but astounding sound with Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+, which turns this TV’s screen into a large surround sound speaker. Since it’s a Sony TV, this Bravia also includes PS5-specific features, and its three-way stand lets you better adjust its positioning.

Positive
Negative

Key Specification

Screen Size
Supported internet Service
Connectivity Technology
Brand
Resolution
Display Technology
Refresh Rate
Special feat

85 Inches
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, etc
Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet, HDMI
TCL
4K
QLED
120 Hz

 

 

 

Review:

This impressively massive 85-inch TCL QLED TV’s 192 full array local dimming zones dramatically boost details in bright and dark areas of an image, such as the often action-obscuring setting-sun shadows. For non-sports viewing, this set includes Roku’s industry-best streaming TV system. For e-sports fans there’s THX Certified Game Mode, which reduces image smear while boosting gaming response time and input lag.

Positive
Negative

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