Football fans around the world could be forgiven for feeling a little more excited about this summer than most. As if long days at the beach, barbecues and summer holidays weren’t enough to look forward to, there will also be a month-long extravaganza of sport as some of the world’s best international football teams lock horns.
Will Brazil be able to avenge the 7-1 loss to the Germans in the semi-final of 2014?
Will Messi finally win the World Cup?
Will England be able to make it out of the group stage?
The good news for English football fans is that now the World Cup has moved to Europe, the kick-off times are a little more sociable, with games kicking off in Russia at 1pm, 3pm, 4pm, 7pm and 8pm. So, with plenty of work leave, an understanding boss and the ability to record the live games, there’s no reason why you need to miss a second of the action.
The best TVs for watching the World Cup
The hosts Russia will kick the tournament off on Thursday 14 June when they play Saudi Arabia. That gives you less than three months to put the perfect TV installation in place. Here, in our view, are three of the best TVs to watch the World Cup on this year…
- Sony Bravia A1 OLED – Top of the range
Not only is this one of the most aesthetically gorgeous televisions we’ve ever seen, but it also delivers everything the serious sports fan needs.
The 4K HDR Processor X Extreme can upscale SDR content to provide an HDR-like experience with increased colour depth and brightness. It’s also excellent with motion, with a native refresh rate of 120Hz when you switch to Motionflow mode that gives even the fastest-paced action a super-smooth look. There’s also an infinite contrast ratio which gives you deeper, truer blacks. However, with prices starting at around £2495.00, it will cost you.
- LG OLED B7 – Mid-range
Looking for an OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) television that won’t break your budget? The entry-level LG OLED B7 with its infinite contrast ratio and self-lighting pixels is the perfect choice for a summer of sport.
Featuring the same panel and processor as LG’s highest-end TV in the same series, the B7 offers excellent value and an image which is smooth and stutter-free. There’s also a 120Hz refresh rate that can be put to use with the TV’s fantastic TruMotion settings, of which, we recommend TruMotion Clear when watching the World Cup this year.
- Sony X720E – Budget
If you’re looking for a more affordable option then the Sony X720E 4K LED TV is as good as it gets when it comes to exceptional sports viewing on a budget. These 43’’, 49’’ and 55’’ TVs handle fast motion excellently which gives them the edge over the competition. The only downside is that it cannot produce the same picture quality as some of its more expensive competitors in a dark room, so if you like watching with the lights off, this is perhaps not the best option for you.
The best settings for watching sport
When you’ve paid hundreds or even thousands of pounds for a new TV, you need to make sure you’re getting the best picture possible. A good place to start is with the preset modes, such as Samsung’s ‘Sports Mode’. Although each manufacturer and model will have its own settings, this is a quick guide to bring your World Cup to life.
If your TV doesn’t have a ‘Sports Mode’ or equivalent, which will change the picture and sound settings to give the impression you’re actually there, then you’re best sticking with the ‘Standard’ or ‘Normal’ settings, as they give you the natural blacks and bright colours you’ll need. Modes like ‘Dynamic’ or ‘Cinema’ are often available, but while Dynamic might look great on the shop floor and Cinema is perfect for films, neither is right for sport.
If you don’t have preset TV settings then you can tweak it manually:
- Contrast ratio – Turn up the contrast until the pitch blurs and then turn it back down slowly until the detail shows again. This will improve the picture if you’re watching in a dark room.
- Brightness – The correct level of brightness will give you detail in the darkest parts of the pitch. Again, turning the brightness down until you can barely make out the picture and then back again will help you find the right level.
What’s on digital/terrestrial television?
Once again, BBC and ITV will be showing every game of the World Cup live, which will be music to the ears of those without a Sky Sports or BT Sports subscription. The FIFA World Cup is the first to be shot in 4K UHD and it’s rumoured the BBC will be launching its 4K UHD service for the start of the tournament, so, if you have a UHD TV then you could be in for a treat.
The England matches will be broadcast as follows:
- England v Tunisia – Mon 18 June, 19:00 – BBC1
- England v Panama – Sun 24 Jun, 13:00 – BBC 1
- England v Belgium – Thu 28 Jun, 19:00 – ITV
If England makes it past the group stage then it will depend on our position in the group as to which channel the next game is on. As always, the World Cup final will be shown live on both BBC and ITV. By that point, you should have decided on your favourite commentary and punditry team.
What’s on Sky?
The World Cup will only be broadcast on free-to-view TV. That means this is the one time of the year when you don’t need a Sky Sports or BT Sports subscription to watch world-class football.
Ready for a feast of football?
20 minutes before the opening game is not the time to realise your TV installation or aerial is not up to the job. At Digital Dimensions, we help you get World Cup ready with TV installations, aerial installations and emergency call outs/repairs. For more information, please get in touch with our team.