Grand Final day is fast approaching! Get ready to bring the big game home in a BIG way with a king-size 4K Ultra HD TV or laser projector for that immersive, giant screen experience and stadium-like atmosphere.
It’s hard to believe it’s already September! The daylight hours are getting longer and redolent with the scent of spring, and for footy fans, that means finals time. The countdown to the AFL and NRL Grand Finals and 2021’s premiership teams has begun, and whatever football code you follow, you’ll want prime position on the big day.
But you don’t need to stress about securing a ticket through a ballot or paying exorbitant prices, whether it’s going to rain, or even which state will host this year’s Grand Finals. The premium seats are right at home.
We’ve compiled a guide to the best big screen visual tech – along with some recommended peripherals to complement that one day in September and October – that will transform your living room into footy central.
Let’s start with the showpiece. If you’ve been coveting a new 4K Ultra HD TV, the finals series is a great excuse to finally pull the trigger on that big screen purchase. But before kitting out your living room with a luxurious, humongous TV bursting with a billion vibrant colours, there are some key features to consider when choosing a set that will deliver the ultimate sporting experience for the sofa spectator.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Bigger is better when it comes to watching footy. As anyone who’s been consigned to the nosebleed seats at a stadium will attest, the best view of the on-field action is the TV broadcast – especially now that Foxtel offer selected AFL and NRL matches in full 4K resolution. For total immersion you’ll want a screen size of 80 inches and above – if you have the space to accommodate it, of course. And remember to always assess the size of the room and the distance between couch and screen before you buy.
Where you sit to watch the game is just as important at home as it is at a stadium. With some LED TVs, the further you move to the sides of the screen, the more the picture can decline in quality. So look for a TV that has a wide viewing angle, and every seat will be the best one in the house.
Nope, this doesn’t refer to the number of beverages consumed during the match. Footy is fast, so you’ll need a TV that can keep up with the dynamic on-field play and deliver a smooth image that’s free from motion blur. For optimal smooth motion, look for a model with a native refresh rate of 100Hz and above – which means the screen image refreshes 100 times per second, eliminating motion blur and ghosting.
Why limit yourself to the standard free-to-air TV broadcast? Expand your options and accessibility with dedicated sports streaming apps, statistics, replays, screen-casting and mirroring, and customisable picture-in-picture and split screen modes (where compatible).
Most Smart TVs offer the above options in conjunction with smart device peripherals.
As well as the aforementioned considerations, budget also comes into play when shopping for a whopping 80-inch-plus 4K TV. So, as it’s footy finals time, we’ve ranked our recommendations accordingly, from Qualifying Finalist entry-level sets and Premiership Contender mid-range options, to the top-tier Grand Finalists.
SONY X85J 85” BRAVIA 4K UHD GOOGLE TV
This massive model features all the specs for heavy duty sports viewing, and then some. Not only is it an excellent 85” screen for the price, it also features Motionflow XR 200Hz, which combines the TV’s refresh rate with Image Blur Reduction, LED Backlight Control and frame interpolation to deliver the smoothest and clearest possible picture every time. Moreover, a wide viewing angle means no one is left on the outer, and it performs well in a bright room. Sony’s 4K Processor X1 reduces noise and boosts detail for life-like pictures, and object-based HDR contrast enhancement and HD upscaling make those team colours really pop. Dolby Vision and Atmos are supported, and built-in Chromecast and Google TV gives you access to popular streaming apps.
SAMSUNG QN85A 85” NEO QLED 4K SMART TV
Samsung’s revolutionary Quantum Matrix technology brings a new dimension to the big game with a micro layer of proprietary backlights for precise light control and deep OLED-quality blacks, while Quantum HDR 24x delivers fine detail and a dazzling colour gamut. A wide viewing angle and anti-glare tech keeps the game in focus wherever you’re positioned, while Adaptive Picture technology and Intelligent Mode adapts and adjusts screen brightness levels to suit the room. Samsung’s Motion Rate 200 ensures smooth and fluid play, and the Active Voice Amplifier function will pick up those umpiring decisions loud and clear. There’s smart connectivity, with the Kayo Sports app and more at the ready, and Multiview function for devices supporting mirror casting and Apple Airplay 2 – perfect for sports stats.
SONY A90J 83” BRAVIA XR MASTER SERIES OLED 4K TV
Sony’s flagship OLED model for 2021 is a beautiful behemoth that excels at colour reproduction and is packed with image-enhancing tech for a premium game day experience. The proprietary Cognitive Processor XR takes intuitive AI tech to the next level, simulating the perspective of the viewer to ensure image and sound quality are optimal. Speaking of sound, the 83 inches of screen real estate is also the TV’s speaker, with two actuators positioned behind the screen that precisely match the audio to the moving image. And you won’t need to hook up a soundbar; the TV’s two rear-firing drivers and two bass drivers deliver rich, full audio. Picture quality is top notch with Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support, XR OLED Contrast Pro for greater depth and texture, and the all-important 100Hz refresh rate for smooth play. And with OLED technology, you’re guaranteed the best possible wide viewing angle. Google TV has now replaced Android TV on 2021 Sony models, featuring a more user-friendly interface for aggregating apps. You won’t just be kicking goals with this beauty in the room, you’ll be hoisting the Premiership cup!
LG CI 83” SELF-LIT OLED 4K ULTRA HD SMART TV
OLED TVs use self-lit pixels instead of backlighting to render perfect blacks, contrast levels and a billion vivid colours, so picture quality is nothing short of spectacular when viewed from any angle in the room. Moreover, LG’s HDR10 Pro dynamic range tech constantly adjusts the brightness to punch up the colours. This model is in a league of its own and built for the big game, with ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rate and OLED Motion to further reduce blur and enhance picture clarity, and a Sports Alert function that sends notifications on free-to-air match times, scores and more (on selected sporting codes). It’s also app-ready for Optus Sports and Stan Sports. A winner all round!
Whether you’re outside by the barbie, in the kitchen or taking a bathroom break, you can stay connected to the game and the gang with a Google Nest Hub Max. This voice-controlled assistant features a 10-inch HD touchscreen to keep tabs on the score and weather, and in touch with friends and family via video calls. Moreover, built-in Chromecast for streaming content means you’ll never miss a moment of the match, wherever you are. You can also use it to control other smart devices throughout the home, like surround lighting.