Super Bowl 2013: party tech ideas that cost less than a ticket
30th Jan 2013 | 19:50
Here's what you'll need for the Harbaugh Bowl
Super Bowl 2013 ticket prices have, predictably, gone through the roof of the New Orleans Superdome, costing more than $3,000 on average. That means the next best seat to watch the Baltimore Ravens vs. the San Francisco 49ers game is in your living room with friends and family.
Luckily, there's no better day to show off your latest tech than Super Bowl Sunday. It's the most watched broadcast every year and the second biggest day for Americans to consume food.
Because finding the right sports-essential tech and innovative decor isn't always an easy call, we put together a comprehensive playbook for throwing a successful Super Bowl party. Best of all, it doesn't require a budget the size of most linebackers.
When Samsung isn't busy battling Apple in court and skewering its chief rival in Super Bowl ads, it's making brilliant-looking televisions like the Samsung UN46ES8000, also known as the Samsung UE46E8000 in the U.K.
This 46-inch LED TV has particularly noteworthy sharpness, just in case you want to count the blades of faux grass on the field, yet it remains ultra-slim. In fact, this TV's silver bezel design hardly fits Samsung's name at the bottom. Below its logo that resembles Jay Leno's chin is a unique arch-flow cradle that puts the stand in "stand out."
The Samsung UN46ES8000 comes in three Super Bowl-worthy sizes: 55-inch, 60-inch, and 65-inch, though we had to bring out the chains to be sure that buying one of these monster sets was cheaper than an actual game day ticket.
None of their prices, however, will compare to the real object of our desire, the upcoming 85-inch Samsung S9 Ultra HDTV. That late 2013-bound UHDTV will have to wait until Super Bowl parties to come.
Optoma HD33 1080p 3D Projector
Upgrading to a projector is one way to make every bit of "4th and inches" count. The Optoma HD33 in particular will help you see your team to the goal for just $1,300.
It can project up to 300 party-pleasing inches, meaning that you'll know when a player is out of bounds the same time the referees do. With brightness set at a default 1800 ANSI and a contrast ratio of 4000:1, the Ravens and 49ers will stand out in their mismatched colors.
Super Bowl 47 won't broadcast in 3D, but the Optoma HD33 has that capability, just in case you want to watch a post-game movie in the third dimension.
Projectors are often overlooked, but can offer double the screen size of a television for half the price. You can't go wrong with some of the best HD projectors on the market right now if you have a home theater environment that's dark enough to support one.
- Read more: the best HD projectors
Elite Screen 125-inch Electric Projector Screen
The best way to analyze every inch of the gridiron is to opt for a quality projector screen like the Elite Screens ELECTRIC125H. It's 125-inch MaxWhite screen material achieves up to 1.1 gain and a 160-degree wide view angle so everyone at the party can take in the game.
All of that is great, but the best moment for an owner of this screen is right before kickoff. Greet your guests, let them gather around the guacamole and grow nervous as they notice there's no TV in the room. Eventually they'll ask, "Where are we watching this? It's almost game time!" You may reply with a press of your infrared remote, deploying the motorized drop down screen. It'll take double OT to wow your guests as much as this pre-game stunner.
Toshiba SBX 4250 Sound Bar
Just as important as seeing the Super Bowl clearly on an LED TV is hearing the action in all of its glory. The Toshiba SBX 4250 Sound Bar can pump in the helmet-to-helmet hits, the roar of the crowd, and the booming voices of CBS Super Bowl announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.
It packs twin 75 Watt speakers into the discrete sound bar, and comes with a conveniently wireless 150W subwoofer. Two HDMI inputs are hidden in the back of the bar, while Bluetooth brings even more wire-free functionality to the SBX 4250 and pairs with smartphones, tablets, and computers.
You'll also be pleased to know that because this is a wall-mounted sound bar, you'll be able to do your own end zone dance without tripping and making a complete fool of yourself.
TiVo Premiere XL4 DVR
When controversial calls aren't sent to the review booth right away, you can do your own instant replay with a DVR. That's become standard practice for sports fans over the last decade, and in that time, TiVo has remained the best device for personalized "unofficial booth reviews."
The TiVo Premiere XL4 is the DVR mogul's most sophisticated Series4 model, with four tuners to record four different shows at once, THX Certified audio, a backlit remote, and 300 hours of HD recording. That's enough to fit the entire Super Bowl and the post-game show, and have enough room left over for about a week's worth "Law & Order" reruns.
With apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, YouTube, and now Spotify, there's plenty else to listen to if you're still sore at Beyonce and want to skip out on the halftime show.
Interactive Toy Concepts RC Cooler
Saying "beer me" during the Super Bowl elicits an entirely different response when owning Interactive Toy Concepts' RC Cooler. This remote-controlled bucket of brews was designed with wheels on the bottom so that no one has to get up off of the couch.
The RC Cooler holds at least 12 cold adult beverages, works indoors and outdoors, collapses for easy storage, and even has a bottle cap-shaped controller. More than a novelty cooler, it enables you to be a good host without forcing you to get off the couch between every whistle.
NewAir AI-100BK 28-Pound Portable Icemaker
One of the most overlooked items when preparing for a Super Bowl party - and any party for that matter - is ice. There's some in your freezer right now, but there's never enough. Remember, buying bottles of water once seemed ridiculous but is now commonplace. The same applies to frozen water, aka ice. You just plain need it.
The NewAir AI-100BK Portable Icemaker solves this age-old dilemma with its ability to make 28 pounds of ice per day. The first batch can be ready in 15 minutes and the entire setup fits on the countertop. If more people owned a portable icemaker, no one would have to go out and buy bags of ice again, and warm beer would finally be a thing of the past.
RCA ANT751R Antenna
Looking for the best HD picture for Super Bowl 2013? The $80 RCA ANT751R Antenna delivers just that via an over-the-air signal that's completely free. That's right, you don't have to pay out the nose for local channels like NBC, ABC, Fox, and home of this year's Super Bowl, CBS.
This rather large VHF or UHF antenna is able to capture high-definition signals from up to 40 miles away, and some owners have reported luck from even greater distances. It's supposed to be installed either outside or out of sight in an attic.
Once installed, you'll notice that the signal is even better than the compressed quality that cable and satellite companies put out there. There's no better or cheaper way to watch the game.
RCA TVPRAMP1R Outdoor Antenna Preamplifier
Outdoor antennas are powerful, but being out of range of broadcast towers or having obstructed lines of sight for a perfect signal can interfere with certain channels. There'd be no bigger Super Bowl party foul that having CBS break up on you when guests are expecting to watch the game from kickoff to the final whistle.
Fortunately, the RCA TVPRAMP1R was designed to improve upon the performance of outdoor antennas in remote and low signal areas. With a VHF gain of 16 dB and a UHF gain of 22dB, this coaxial pass-through device is an affordable $40 solution to an all-too-common problem.
Bad Call Brick by HuskerMax
Another common problem that has a quick fix involves controlling unruly guests who are diehard fans and can't take their team losing any portion of the Super Bowl. Nothing spoils a good party faster than a broken expensive piece of technology due to a sports fanatic with anger management issues.
Set up all Ravens and 49ers fans with a Bad Call Brick by Husker Max. This foam rubber brick is the simplest tech suggestion, but it's one that might save the rest of your entertainment center from unnecessary roughness as the clock winds down.
The Go Plate
Lots of football viewers have a losing record when it comes to simultaneously eating, drinking, and cheering on their team in the Super Bowl. The appropriately named Go Plate aims to give these butterfingered folks a winning streak thanks to its innovative design.
Sold online for $17 in packs of ten, Go Plates have a hole in the middle that fits most beverages. Be it a glass bottle, aluminum can, or Solo cup, these plastic plates turn your beverage into a plate handle and are reusable for future Super Bowls parties to come.
Super Bowl companion apps
Tuning into just one screen to follow the Super Bowl isn't very likely in the year 2013. To put it another way, there's a better chance Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o had a real girlfriend the entire time than for you to go all four quarters without looking up information on the game.
The best place use of your data plan is the official NFL Mobile app by Verizon, if that's your carrier. This iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 app is accessible by every carrier, but video content and the live stream is restricted to Verizon customers this year.
Non-Verizon customers who are looking to find a Super Bowl 2013 live stream should point their computer browsers to the CBS Sports homepage. It's going to stream Super Bowl 47 for free in its entirety, including Beyonce's halftime show.
Meanwhile, Super Bowl ticket holders should download either the NFL '12 or the more streamlined SB XLVII Guide app for information about going to the game and great places surrounding the New Orleans venue.
Finally, everyone at home should keep the Shazam app handy. More advertisers are looking to use the name-that-tune app to offer promotions and extra information during their commercials.
Super Bowl 2013 kickoff time
The official Super Bowl start time is 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, so you may have to dodge, juke, and dive to the store to find these clutch technology items. After that little bit of effort, however, the gadgets will take over; the RC Cooler will deliver you and your guests beer, the ice maker will keep the drinks cold, and the TV or projector will make the game look great no matter who ends up winning the Super Bowl.