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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What’s Better Than A Big TV For Watching Sports? Answer=Nothing

"Bigger" isn't always better — if given the choice, who wants the cost of gas that a heavy car like a SUV uses up compared to that of a smaller sedan? But there are times when you can't get big enough, and just because March Madness doesn't last forever doesn't mean that there aren't other sports to watch on TV. And to watch on as big a TV as you can get. And now that's no "big" deal. Why? Because once flat-panel TVs started to appear, it was inevitable that the screen size would increase. And that the viewer would want and appreciate that fact.

Flat-panel TVs removed the weight issues that a tube-based TV used to have; the chassis holding the electronics never had to be as large as what the tube that provided the picture needed. The first flat-panels had bezels that were considered amazingly thin for the time — but this only got thinner as time went on, even as the size of the display inside that bezel grew. And as the size of the display grew, so too did the technology that was needed to keep that display looking sharp and detailed. A large display needs a high-resolution picture in order to look good, and so 720p HD TVs rapidly gave way to the bevy of 1080p models we have today (although with many sports presentations being transmitted in 720p, having a big screen 720p TV like the Samsung 51" wouldn't be anything to complain about).
So it's no secret that the first 4K Ultra HD TV that Sony rolled out appeared in such a large size because they knew that the HD picture splashed across that display would look impressive.  This was followed by others showcasing their own large 4K TVs (like Samsung's 85" and LG), with all presenting 55" and 65" models shortly thereafter. Again, keeping the screen size big.
So why is it sports needs a big TV — didn't folks watch basketball and baseball and soccer on small TVs in the past without complaints? Not so sure that there weren't complaints, because that's how sports bar got the attention because it was somewhere a person could go to watch on a (here it is again) big screen that they didn't have at home. But if one were to break down why sports looks so good on a big screen, there'd be 3 reasons as we see it:
1) The Confusion Of All Those Players — with the possible exception of baseball, most sports feature a lot of guys running around really fast while the camera does its best to keep up. That's why a lot of times the camera pulls back to show the entire playing field. Only problem with that was that on a small TV, the players became even smaller and it started to look more like those 3" action figure dolls being jerked from one place to the other. But on a big screen 80" TV like the Sharp Aquos, the players are still large — large enough to be made out as the individuals they are.

2) Detail Disarray — or how high-resolution gives the eye something to latch onto. Just having a big TV doesn't do anything about this but — having a big TV that has a high-resolution image (courtesy of the broadcast sending it to the TV which can receive same) means that instead of the image breaking down, every single aspect stays sharp and clear — from the player's foot on the playing field to the part of the playing field being seen itself. Samsung's new 75" Smart LED TV certainly fulfills that promise.

3) Speed Smudge —or "streaking" or "blurring" or however you'd like to describe what happens when a gaggle of players are all moving at high speed and the picture can't seem to catch up. Again, just having a big TV doesn't do anything about this but — having a big TV that has a the technology to keep the images moving cleanly and smoothly takes a load off the brain and lets the viewer concentrate on what is going on (without the strain that used to result in eye fatigue and headaches). That's pretty much why Sony's Edge LED Backlit HDTVs are scoped out as being good for gamers as well — the MotionFlow XR tech doing its bit here to create realistic motion which is so vital when watching sports.

Now put all of the above together, toss in a big TV and the good times roll for the sports fan. And not just because the fridge is a lot closer and cheaper than buying a drink at the sports bar. The big display is right there, pull up a chair or move the couch closer — doesn't matter because the picture is going to look really, really good. Who wouldn't be a sports fan now once a game starts up and the action gets going

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