Q. I am confused. I have read some articles that say I need to upgrade my TV for the Super Bowl to 4K. Is the Super Bowl in 4K? Do I need a 4K TV to watch it in 4K if it’s in 4K? Or will my current TV be okay? It’s an older model HDTV. — Shelley, East Lansing, Michigan.
Shelley, buying a new 4K TV for the specific purpose of watching Super Bowl 2022 in 4K is not necessary if you already have a good High-Definition TV. The chief reason: The game will not be in 4K. That’s right. NBC revealed first last month to The TV Answer Man that it will not broadcast the world’s biggest sporting event in 4K. (Fox remains the only network that has done the Super Bowl in 4K; the 2020 game was upscaled from 1080p HD to 4K HDR.)
Despite NBC saying it will not produce the Super Bowl in 4K, numerous web sites have published articles saying you should get a ‘Super Bowl 4K TV.’ Sportico, which tracks sports business news, has done an excelling job of compiling some of the more egregious examples.
The stories are very misleading. The Super Bowl will not be in 4K so you don’t need a 4K TV to watch it in that format. It will be regular old HDTV, which will still look very good on a top-quality HDTV. (And don’t fall for the marketing mumbo-jumbo that some 4K TVs can upscale a high-def picture so it will look like it’s 4K. It’s not true. The picture may look slightly better, but it won’t be 4K.)
Am I telling you not to buy a 4K TV before the game? Not at all. Retailers traditionally offer good deals on certain TVs before the Super Bowl. (The lower prices are usually reserved for models that both retailers and TV makers are trying to get rid of because either there is a large inventory and/or they are older sets no longer in demand. But that doesn’t mean they are not top quality; sometimes the difference between a new model and one manufactured a year earlier is minimal.)
So if you were in the market for a new TV, this could be a good time to pull the trigger. Just be sure that the price is truly a discount. Retailers sometimes say they are slashing prices when the prices are actually what they were charging previously. Do your homework and see what the TV’s price was a few weeks or months ago. (You can usually do this by searching for the set at sites such as CNET and Consumer Reports; their set reviews normally say what the price was at the time of the review. You can also read their reviews to determine if the TV is right for you.)
And there’s another reason why you might want to buy a new 4K TV for the Super Bowl. If it’s a top-rated 4K TV, you will get a very good picture for the game. Today’s top-quality 4K TVs feature the best picture you’ll ever see, even better than a quality high-def set. While the game isn’t in 4K, it will look better in high-def on a very good 4K TV than it does on your HDTV.
Let me also note that many big-screen 4K TVs can be had now for under $1,000, If you’ve been watching football on a 55-inch HDTV, watching it on a 75-inch 4K TV will be a lot more fun.
Shelley, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Note: Los Angeles will play Cincinnati in the Super Bowl on February 13 on NBC.
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— Phillip Swann