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Crave's guide to World Cup gadgets: Part Three

The World Cup only comes round once every four years so there's no excuse for not having the right equipment in your pad. Check out Crave's guide to bringing the football into your home...

"It is quite difficult to prove that someone is not really sick if they have one day off." So says manufacturing union Amicus, in an article that has come under attack for advocating sickies. "If you have a few days off which happen to be match days, your employer may well notice a pattern to your sickness which might be used as evidence that sickness is not really the issue," warns Amicus, but gives advice on what to do if caught taking a sickie. With the England game starting at 5 p.m. today, Crave predicts a peak in sickie-taking behaviour.

Although Crave is stuck at work today, we'll be rushing home early to catch the action. Unfortunately, our budget has only stretched to buying a 32-inch telly, but for those of you who are on Premiership wages, here's our guide to pimping your home for the World Cup.

Pioneer PDP 436SXE
The World Cup only comes round once every four years so you're more than justified in treating yourself to a high-end TV. One of our favourites is the Pioneer PDP 436SXE, which offers 43 inches of plasma gorgeousness. It's high-definition ready, of course, although you'll also need some form of HD receiver to get any use out of this feature. Costing around two grand it's not cheap, but think how much you've saved by not buying World Cup tickets and paying for flights and a hotel in Germany.

Telewest TVDrive
Unless you're one of the 500 lucky Londoners involved in an HD trial, the only way you can watch all World Cup games in high definition is to get a Telewest TVDrive, as the cable provider has struck an exclusive deal with ITV, leaving Sky high and dry (or rather stuck with just the BBC games).

There's no up-front fee for the TVDrive, but if you get the cheapest Telewest digital TV package you'll end up paying around £350 over the course of the year (the price includes a phone service that you'll have to sign up for). Telewest tells us that it can usually install the box within five to ten days, which means they're doing better than Sky -- a Sky rep told us last week that anyone ordering a Sky HD box now won't get it till after the World Cup. 

InFocus Play Big IN76
If you're planning to hold a World Cup party, a home-cinema projector is a guaranteed way to amaze and amuse your friends. Assuming you've already got your Telewest TVDrive, you'd be crazy to get anything but a high-definition projector. The InFocus Play Big IN76 has a 720p resolution, which is considered better than 1080i resolution for watching sports. The £1,700 price tag may seem expensive, but if you tell your other half that the £13,000 Sim2 C3X was your first choice, then you might just get away with it.

PlayStation 2 and Pro Evolution Soccer 5
Whenever one of the England strikers misses an easy goal over the next few weeks, it will be hard not to feel resentful that your footballing skills were so cruelly overlooked at school. A good way of getting this frustration out of your system is to pit your skills against your friends or colleagues. The Crave team are big fans of armchair sports, so we recommend getting a copy of Pro Evolution Soccer 5 for your PS2. Okay, its Americanised title is a bit irritating, but intuitive gameplay and realistic images of players such as Wayne Rooney make up for it.

Part one of Crave's World Cup guide covered gadgets for your desk and part two covered gadgets for watching football on the go. We're off to Cologne to see the World Cup game against Sweden next week (woohoo!), so keep an eye on Crave for the final part of our gadget guide. -IM