Basketball audiences keep getting bigger. Last year’s NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers drew an average 19.94 million viewers and a 13.9 Nielsen overnight rating, the highest since ABC started broadcasting the series in 2002 and a 31 percent increase from 2014, ESPN reports. The Warriors and Cavaliers are off to a hot start once again, and this year’s Finals promise to be as exciting as the last. If you’re planning on tuning into this season’s excitement, these tech tips will help you get the most out of your viewing experience.
Know Your Viewing Options
For optimal viewing, your best choices today are a 4K TV or a home theater projector. 4K TVs are the best TVs to buy in 2016, with 50-inch screens now available for less than $600 and 55-inch screens for less than $1,000. To get the most value for your money and the most flexibility in regards to seating angles, go with an LCD flat screen rather than an OLED or a curved screen.
A few other points to keep in mind:
- You’ll need HDMI cables, which can be purchased for about $10 online (high-priced 4K cables aren’t necessary, so don’t let a local salesperson talk you into them).
- For optimal picture quality, switch your TV from Store Demonstration Mode to Home Mode.
- After choosing a language and selecting if you’re using an over-the-air antenna or cable/satellite, you should then connect your TV to the Internet if it has this option, using either an ethernet or a Wi-Fi connection. Once connected, update your firmware.
Following these steps, adjust your picture mode to your screen’s most accurate setting, usually designated as movie or cinematic mode. You can then adjust other picture qualities such as contrast, brightness, color/tint and sharpness. You should also adjust the settings for your cable/satellite box and your DVD/Blu-ray player. Select 1080i resolution for your box output, and adjust both your box and player to 16×9 aspect ratio (or if you have an older player, 4×3).
If you’re a DISH subscriber with the new HOPPER 3™, you have the option of viewing four games at once on the same screen — simply choose MultiView Mode. This feature is useful during the playoffs, when you’re trying to follow multiple scores.
Another viewing option: set up a home theater projector. Projectors allow for bigger screen sizes than 4K TVs, averaging 120 inches. To display games with a projector, you can connect your projector to your cable or satellite box, to a digital television tuner with an antenna, or to a media extender linked to a computer or mobile device serving as a video source.
Set up for Sound
4K TVs sound better with an external sound source, and projectors require external audio support. Your best audio options are to go with either surround-sound speakers or a sound bar. Both options can be connected to your TV or projector either directly or through an AV receiver.
The most basic surround-sound setup is a 5.1 system, which uses a central channel speaker, a pair of left and right front speakers, a pair of left and right surround speakers for 3D effect, and a subwoofer for bass. Other setups add subwoofers or speakers behind or above the listening position.
Sound bars place speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers either inside a bar or inside a cabinet, projecting sound from the bar or cabinet’s location. Some sound bars mimic surround effects by including additional speakers within the bar or external speakers. Cabinet-style sound bars can serve as TV stands.
Sound bars are less expensive than surround-sound systems and work best in smaller rooms that are 13×12 feet or smaller. Surround-sound systems deliver better quality audio and do a better job of handling bigger rooms 15×20 feet or larger.
Some surround sound and sound bar systems can be used to deliver sound to multiple rooms at once. Depending on your setup, you can control all sound in the house from a central location or you can set up different broadcasts for different rooms. You can even deliver sound outside the house to a backyard, deck or patio.
Follow the Action With Your Mobile Device
Enhance your basketball viewing experience using your mobile device:
- Subscribe to NBA League Pass which lets you view live games on your mobile device.
- Follow live tweets from the NBA’s Twitter feed and relevant accounts during games.
- If you have a DISH HopperGO, you can store up to 100 hours of action for viewing on your smartphone or tablet.
If you want to play fantasy basketball, check out the ESPN Fantasy Basketball App.