Sound and Vision: The best systems to enjoy the World Cup at home
OPINION: By the time you read this the World Cup 2022 will be up and running and if you are looking to capture the action from the comfort of your own home, then you’ll want the best kit to do so.
And with Black Friday deals appearing left, right and centre, you may find it easier to build the set-up you want without spending too much on what you need.
So, if you do intend to catch the football, what are the best ways to do so?
Go for the all-in-one TV
If you’ve got the pockets for it and don’t want to be surrounded by kit and lots of speakers, then one option is to go for the TV that can do it all. There aren’t many TVs that have gone down the all-in-one route, with Sky and Panasonic the most notable options.
Sky Glass is the cheaper of the two by far, but its performance is not quite as accomplished. There is a picture quality upgrade coming before the end of the year, but by then the World Cup may be over.
Instead, for those who want the ultimate in picture and sound, then the Panasonic LZ2000 is the TV to consider. This combines an OLED screen capable of high performance brightness, which is a feature you’ll want to consider for any TV to watch the football on as the World Cup 2022 will be presented in 4K HDR (in the HLG version) via BBC’s iPlayer. The brighter the TV is, the more spectacular and lifelike the images will look on the screen. In the view of this site, the Panasonic LZ2000 sits right around the top of the best TVs available.
With its integrated Dolby Atmos sound system it can spread sound above and to 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, then both Glass and the LZ2000 would suffice.
Go for a bright HDR TV (or OLED) and surround system
Of course, not every one can afford the likes of the Panasonic LZ2000 so less expensive TVs are obviously an attraction. I wouldn’t necessary go down to budget level – say less than £700 or so – as you’re likely to be limited by TVs that aren’t particularly bright leading to a restricted HDR performance. When you watch the teams on the pitch, you’d want the England team’s white shirt to look a dazzling white, or the Brazil’s short to be a vibrant yellow.
And another factor that plays into this is the time of day. With matches kicking off at around 3pm in the afternoon UK or 7pm at night, I’d say you’ve got two options available. If you’re watching in a room with lots of ambient light, then a TV capable of bright HDR images is a must and there are few better than Samsung at the moment. I recently tested the Samsung QN90B 4K Mini LED TV and that can deliver a scorching 2000 nits of brightness. You won’t have a problem with glare or reflections with that TV, especially with its anti-reflection screen.
Another route is OLED, and OLEDs are best suited to darker, dimly-lit rooms as that helps bring out their formidable contrast. Given we’re in the Black Friday period, there are plenty of deals for both LCD and OLED TVs, and one such deal is the Sony A80J that’s just a penny under £1000 for the 55-inch model. It’s bright enough for HDR and fantastic for motion, removing any of that annoying stutter with confidence.
You can’t have great picture without great sound, but instead of going for a bulky traditional surround sound system, why not go for a soundbar system? Both Denon and Sonos have Atmos set-ups, Denon with its Home series and Sonos with its 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 fun and energetic listen. Right now the Sonos system is cheaper if you’re willing to splash the best part of £700 on a new system.
Go big by going small
My final recommendation is for those who have smaller rooms and don’t have the space for 55- and 65-inch tellies. Sticking with OLED, there are several 42- and 48-inch all for less than £1000, and some as low as £750 in the case of the LG A2 OLED.
Smaller screens allow people to sit closer so if you’re looking to catch the football in your bedroom then these are the screen sizes to go for. And sticking with the trend of compact soundbars, there’s the aforementioned Sonos Beam and Denon Home 550, but if you want bass power to go with a compact soundbar, then I’d recommend the Polk MagniFi Mini AX. It’s small but delivers a big sound and that subwoofer that brings meaty bass to the presentation.
Whether you’re watching the World Cup or perhaps doing something else while the tournament is on, these systems will help make the viewing experience more enjoyable, regardless of whether it’s football, films, TV or music. And as Black Friday kicks into gear, you may find a great deal on any of these products.