Six big screens for the big game

TVs are getting bigger every year, and our annual American football-focused roundup is keeping up: nothing under 64 inches for 2014!

Now that the teams for that certain super-sized sporting event have been determined, you might want a new TV for the occasion. Or maybe you'd like to take advantage of some of the lowest prices of the year.

Just about every HDTV looks great displaying football and other sports in high def, but there's one key ingredient that separates "great" HDTVs from those that make you say "Boom!" No, we're not talking about motion resolution , 4K , or even black levels this time. We're talking about sheer size.

This year our list of Bowl-worthy big-screens, arranged in descending order of review rating, is bigger than ever. It doesn't include any TVs smaller than 64 inches, and the final three hit 70. Because nothing says "huge fan" like a huge TV. Or because more size is the best way to spend your extra TV dollar. Or just because your buddy down the street just got a wimpy 60-incher.

Of course if you don't want to go quite this big, you can click through the review to see smaller (and cheaper) alternatives. And if none of these choices cuts it, check out our lists of Best TVs arranged by size.


Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 (65-inch plasma, $3,199)
The S60, ST60, and VT60 are nearly sold out in this size, but happily the ZT60's clearance price (Best Buy quoted above) is as low as it's ever been. If you've got the cash and a room that's not super-bright, it's our strongest recommendation on this list. And yes, it's still the very best TV for picture quality we've ever reviewed. Read the full review.


Samsung PN64F8500 (64-inch plasma, $3,099)
Superbright room you say? The 8500 is your almost-as-good ZT60 alternative. This revolutionary TV is still widely available, unlike the Panasonics, and will remain Samsung's flagship plasma -- and likely the company's best non-OLED performer -- throughout the beginning of 2014. At least until the new ones come along . Read the full review.


Samsung UN65F8000 (65-inch LED LCD, $3,099)
Our highest-rated LED LCD of 2013 also comes in a 75-inch version ($6,500), but your more pressing question when considering this TV might be: "should I get the 4K version " ($4,500)? In a word, heckno . Even at this size, the extra pixels are tough to make out, and 4K sporting events are nowhere in sight. Read the full review.


Sharp LC-70LE650U (70-inch LED LCD, $1,748)
Did you notice the massive drop in price right there? And did you also notice the extra five inches of screen size? Welcome to the mainstream, where the picture quality isn't as good as the top three on this list, but the value proposition is superb. This Sharp is the best of the rest in terms of bang for the buck. Read the full review.


Vizio E701i-A3 (70-inch LED LCD, $1,499)
Speaking of price drops, this guy was a doorbuster on Black Friday at $999. Just because it's now $500 more doesn't make it a bad deal -- and as a bonus you can now buy it without fear of being trampled. It doesn't match the others for picture quality, but it's still as cheap as any decent 70-inch TV around. Read the full review.


Sony KDL-70R520A (70-inch LED LCD, $2,199)
The third and final 70-incher on this list is also the most expensive. Tied in picture quality with the Sharp, it seeks to differentiate itself with a more prestigious name and a cooler stand. And if you want 3D, the R550A is $100 more. Read the full review.


Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these TVs head-to-head. Click through to the reviews for additional screen sizes.

About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

 

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