Want to build the ideal set-up for watching football at home? Read our tips on the top TVs, soundbars and streaming sticks you should choose as part of your home set-up.
Even though Euro 2020 didn’t go exactly according to plan, there’s every chance the England squad could bring it home (again) in the 2022 World Cup. In the time leading up the tournament, it’s worth assessing whether your current home entertainment set-up is up to the task of doing the beautiful game justice.
If you feel as though what you have is letting you down when it comes to enjoying live matches, then fear not, we’ve put together the essential list of the best tech you can buy to bring football to your home.
Which TV is best for football?
There are several football friendly features to look out for when buying a new TV.
As football is a fast-paced sport, a display with a high refresh rate display can allow you to see the key movements of the ball without it becoming a blur. Last year’s LG CX OLED TV featured a high 120Hz refresh rate, making it ideal for keeping up with action, and it’s a solid TV to enjoy some FIFA gaming during the off-season.
Speed isn’t everything however, and if you want to try and recreate the look of a live football match then colour accuracy is important too. Most TVs come with a ‘Sports Mode’ built-in, but these can lead to some rather garish filters that look like the pitch is made of radioactive grass.
If money isn’t an issue then OLED TVs, which use self-lighting pixels, can produce unbelievable image quality that’ll have your friends feeling jealous. They’ll also maintain those colours and contrast at wide angles, so everyone watching will have a great view.
The new LG G1 can reach high brightness levels of just under 900 nits, so if you’re watching a match in 4K it will make it feel like the players are about to leap out of the screen whenever a goal is scored. If you’re stuck to a budget then older Samsung QLED TVs, which reach even higher brightness levels, are a great option. In this regard, the 2020 Samsung Q60T can now be picked up with a decent a discount attached.
Which soundbar is best for football?
As any football fan knows (particularly after the last year), the display is just one component of the overall set-up. It’s the atmosphere sound brings, from the cheering crowd, to familiar songs and the commentary on top that help to make football the sport that we enjoy watching. It’s also why you can’t second-guess the importance of a proper audio system.
Luckily, the growing popularity of soundbars over the last few years has ensured that there’s plenty of choice, which has also lead to some impressive innovation. When it comes to football, it’s the deeper bass tones that can really make you feel like you’ve got a front row seat at Wembley, which is why it’s important to make sure that a subwoofer is included in the mix to deliver those sounds.
The Samsung HW-Q800T comes with a separate yet powerful subwoofer to bring those stadium roars right into your living room. Of course, if you don’t have the space for a larger audio device like the HW-Q800T then the Sonos Beam is your best option for keeping things robust yet compact – plus it’s not too troubling on the wallet either.
If you’ve completely blown all your cash on a new TV then you can still find an affordable alternative in the Roku Streambar. Typically found around the £99-£129 mark, the Roku Streambar does make some concessions to reach that price point, but it’s still powerful enough to make a difference and it’ll net you access to the Roku interface in the process. When it comes to value, the Streambar is hard to beat.
Which streaming stick is best for football?
It’s all well and good talking about OLED TVs and premium level soundbars, but if you’ve only got a bit of short change left in you’re pocket then those devices just aren’t really an option. There is a way around this however, as affordable streaming sticks will let you enjoy higher quality streaming without breaking the bank.
The Google Chromecast with Google TV is one of the best all-in-one streaming sticks you can buy right now, as it lets you stream content in 4K and there’s dedicated apps for BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and BT Sport. Plus, with Chromecast support, you can beam content directly from your phone straight to your TV.
If even the new Google Chromecast is too expensive then don’t worry, the most affordable way of getting solid 4K streaming can be found in the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. Small and indiscreet, this streaming stick tends to drop below £30 during sales events, so be sure to keep an eye out during Black Friday or Amazon Prime Day.