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Get Ready for the Big Game

After a disappointing season-ender for Chicago fans and a conference championship weekend marred by some controversial calls, it’s nearly time for the Big Game. From your watching setup to the perfect spread of snacks, there are some important things to address before your party next weekend. But we’re here to help. This is our guide to everything you’ll need to know before the Big Game.

Watching the Big Game

The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, after what will probably be an entire afternoon of pregame shows. It’s being broadcast on CBS, so even if you’ve cut the cord, watching the Big Game is still possible without cable service. Those who are completely service-free can still tune in with a simple over-the-air (OTA) antenna.

Whether you’re watching via cable TV or OTA broadcast, be sure you’re tuning into the HD version of CBS. In the Chicagoland area, that would be channel 2-1.

If you don’t have an antenna, can’t receive that signal, or use a non-cable streaming platform, you’ll need to make sure your service offers CBS. Of the half-dozen or so different ala carte channel services, Sling TV (the cheapest, at $25 a month) appears to be the only one that doesn’t carry CBS. The other major services all include CBS in their base package. Those are:

Each of those services costs $40-45 a month, and includes access to a collection of other channels, all watchable on any internet-connected device. Another option is to watch directly through CBS’s streaming service, CBS All Access. This gets you access to that channel’s live broadcast stream, a massive collection of past episodes, and will cost you just $9.99 for a month of service (or $5.99 for a version that includes commercials).

You don’t need cable to watch the Big Game

The good news is that if you’re only looking for a way to watch the Big Game and won’t need any of these services after next Sunday, all of them offer free trials that you can sign up for to watch just the game.

The TV

If you’ve just invested in a new TV or soundbar in anticipation of this game, or maybe you’re still figuring out your new gifts from last month, here are a few tips to ensure your setup is optimized for maximum quality. Check out our instructional videos to ensure you’ve connected your soundbar to your TV properly, whether that’s by HDMI cable or optical cable.

Also make sure that you’ve connected to your cable box or streaming device with an HDMI cable, so your TV is receiving a full HD signal. Flip through the picture settings and select a Sports Mode, if available. This mode tweaks colors to make things like the green grass of the field pop a bit more, while adjusting motion settings to keep on-screen action moving smoothly.

Still thinking about upgrading your TV before next weekend? It’s one of the most popular times of the year for buying a new TV, so manufacturers tend to have some unbeatable deals. If you’re looking for sheer TV size at a value, it’s tough to beat the LG 75UK6190. This 75” 4K LED TV is currently on sale for just under a thousand bucks.

The Snacks

Everyone knows that simple chips and dip won’t cut it for the biggest viewing party of the year. It’s going to be a long evening, so your snacks need to be hearty and tasty, but easy to eat with your hands. We’ve collected some of our favorite Big Game recipes from the last few years, and they all fit the bill. They’re easy to make, easy to serve, and taste-tested by your truly. Click on each picture to get the recipe.

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