For sports fans, the middle of the year is always a great time. All the major Australian winter sporting codes are in full flight and there’s action aplenty from overseas – from grand slam tennis to the Formula One World Championship.
And then there’s the event athletes literally wait years for – the Olympic Games, kicking off in Tokyo a year later than scheduled. With Japan’s time zone very close to Australia’s, that means prime time access to the biggest event on the sporting calendar.
If you love your sport, there’s never been a better time to go for that TV upgrade you’ve been aiming for – the big screens on the market today offer stellar picture and performance, and a lot of choice when it comes to price and features.
For sports, there are a few things to look for in a TV. Screen size is obvious – 65” is a good starting point and a perfect balance of cost versus size , but you can head all the way up to 85” if you want a truly immersive experience. A good sports TV will boast a high refresh rate panel, and some level of good motion processing. That lets it take the 50 frames per second of TV and smooth out fast movement so you don’t lose track of the action. And if you’re having friends around to watch the game, you’ll want a TV that delivers a wide viewing angle. With some TVs, the picture loses colour and clarity if you’re watching from an angle, but the best screens these days have that problem solved.
There are a lot of great TVs around at the moment and finding the right one for your sporting needs can be a bit overwhelming. Here are half a dozen winners you should head for in the store. Whether you’re watching 4K footy, streaming swimming or settling in for an Olympics binge, they’ll deliver the action.
Hisense has been big on sports for a long time, and their reputation for high-quality, feature-packed TVs at surprisingly low prices has won them a lot of fans. Their 65” A7G boasts some incredible features at its price point, including a wide colour gamut 4K display for true-to-life colour accuracy (and support for Dolby Vision HDR when you’re winding down with a movie). With a 100Hz refresh rate for smooth sporting action and a nearly 180-degree viewing angle, it’s pretty remarkable value as a sports TV and has the tech smarts to handle anything else you might want to throw at it.
Samsung, meanwhile, says their 75″ AU8000 “Crystal UHD” TV is designed to be “watched, not seen.” With that sort of screen real estate, it’s going to be hard to get your eyes off it – but they’re referring to the TV being only 27mm thin, making it great for wall mounting (a slim-fit wall mount is available separately if you need it). This one also boasts a 100Hz refresh rate, with Samsung’s well-designed Crystal Processor handling motion smoothing, 4K upscaling, colour and contrast to deliver a first-rate picture for sports of all sorts. It has support for the smart things – Alexa and Google Assistant – and all the apps you’ll need to keep the sports coming.
Samsung’s 2021 TV range has been kicking goals in terms of features and quality, and their 75″ QN85A is a major step up from the already brilliant, aforementioned model. The big deal here is quantum dot – a screen technology that makes a massive difference to overall picture quality, colour accuracy and contrast, its tiny LED backlights slowing for deeper blacks and finer details. It also performs especially well in brightly lit rooms – and that’s helped by the anti-glare coating on the screen, so you see the action without annoying reflections getting in the way. The big deal when it comes to sports, though, is the TV’s 200Hz refresh rate, allowing for super-smooth action powered by the Neo Quantum Processor 4K – especially great for sports with fast camera movement.
Big-screen TV champion LG is also worthy of this category, with their 75” NANO86 taking on board most of the tech from the company’s flagship TVs, then merging it with a proprietary NanoCell display, which boasts full-array dimming (for deeper blacks) and incredibly wide viewing angles – alongside similar advances in colour, contrast and realism seen on quantum dot displays. LG’s picture processing has always been stellar, and the impressively named α7 Gen4 AI Processor 4K uses AI to deliver a picture that’s constantly being optimised for quality, with the 200Hz refresh perfect for sports.
At the top of the ladder are a couple of the best TVs from two brands that keep on innovating at the top end of TV quality. First up, LG’s 2021 OLED range – and the 65″ C1 continues the stellar quality and innovation that’s made LG the go-to brand for OLED TVs for years (they still make the screens for other brands’ OLED TVs). The advantage of OLED for sport is instantly apparent when you see it in action – this tech is the most responsive type of TV display you can buy, with a response time of 1/1000th of a second. Combined with LG’s newest α9 Gen 4 processor and a native 120Hz refresh rate, that means you won’t see any motion blur during fast action moments. The self-lit pixels mean perfect blacks always, too. Another win for OLED is its incredibly wide viewing angles – you can literally be watching almost parallel to the screen and still see the same vibrant colour and detail, with none of the “fade-out” of LCD.
For those who want to go truly big, though, LED-lit LCD screens still represent the best value-versus-size equation, and Samsung’s QN800A rules the room before you even turn it on. At a panoramic 85 inches, it’s a room-dominating monster that truly brings immersion to a whole new level. But it’s not just about the size with this one, because Samsung’s got some serious tech going on here that’s ahead of its time. The main attraction is, of course, the screen, which is a full native 8K quantum dot display. That means four times the potential detail of even the best 4K TV – except, of course, there’s very little actual 8K content to watch just yet (the Olympics are being broadcast in 8K, but only in Japan). That’s okay, though, because Samsung’s excellent AI upscaling has even more pixels to play with, and the results are spectacular. Boasting a 200Hz refresh rate, super-wide viewing angles, Adaptive Picture and the most powerful smarts of any Samsung TV, this one’s ready for sporting action now – and an 8K future.