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Watching March Madness in a crowded bar? You need this app

Unmute that TV.

Matt Elliott/CNET

With their cold beer, baskets of french fries, and multitude of TVs that show every game, sports bars are great for March Madness. The one item missing most of the time, however, is game audio. It's missing because TVs in bars are usually muted or, worse, the bar is piping out audio for the biggest game but you can't hear anything the announcers are saying because you are crammed into a crowded bar. With the free Tunity app on your phone, however, you can clearly hear any game in the bar.

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I don't suggest you alienate your friends and barmates and tune out for an entire evening with Tunity and a pair of headphones. For one, it's anti-social. For another, Gus Johnson is no longer calling March Madness games (and, should you need a reminder, Gus Johnson is the best). For the final minute of a close game, however, or any game that features your alma mater or wagering implications, Tunity is great to have in your pocket. 

How Tunity works

After installing the app, you'll need to take a minute and create an account with an email address or Facebook account. It's painless but best done before tip-off. With your account created, you merely need point your phone at a TV so that it's inside the frame provided by Tunity and tap the Scan button. After a few seconds, Tunity will find the channel at which you pointed it and start playing the audio.

Having the audio sync up exactly isn't crucial for a basketball game because the announcers do the majority of their talking off screen, so you're less likely to notice if the audio is off by a half second. If the audio is too far ahead or behind for your liking, however, Tunity offers controls to help you sync it up.

Tunity lists dozens of supported channels, and I can attest that it works with the four networks that will broadcast March Madness games: CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. (For the record, CNET is a division of CBS.)

Lastly, for Tunity to work its magic, the app needs you to let it use location services. If you choose Always, then you can minimize the app, turn off your phone and keep listening. If you choose While Using, then you'll need to keep your phone on and the app open to listen to your Tunity stream.

Read more: March Madness 2018: When the games start, how to stream and more