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Big Game Setups for Every Budget

There’s no day in the year more dependent on a quality entertainment system than the day that very important football game whose name we cannot legally use is broadcast. That Sunday is the day where you’ll wish your TV was bigger and your speakers were louder and your TV room was just more enticing overall. If you’ve been planning to upgrade your fan cave for the big game, now is a great time. Dropping prices mean that you get more bang for you buck than ever before. Sure, you can still spend a small fortune if you’d like, and that’ll get you better technology, but a nice home theater no longer has to be a pipe dream. Here’s a range of setups for your Fan Cave you can get in time for the game, at price points for every budget. Every product mentioned is available at Abt.

The Dave Abt Theater, inside of Abt Electronics.

The Dave Abt Theater, inside of Abt Electronics.

Our requirements were:

  • A TV at least 49″, capable of 4K HDR picture. Even with the smallest budget, we still want to get an enjoyable picture.
  • Augmented, mutli-channel sound.
  • Some way to keep your extra drinks cool during the game.

Any leftovers in the budget will be used for other accessories to improve the game day experience.

Budget-Friendly Option — Sub $1000

This is going to fulfill all of our needs for well under a thousand bucks, and is an ideal setup for saving not just money, but also space. In fact, if your budget is $1k, this will leave you room to order a half-dozen pizzas and a case of beer.

Our TV: the Sony KD-49X720E. This 49-incher is big enough for most typical family rooms, without being overwhelmingly large. HDR compatibility and Sony’s 4K X-Reality PRO give it a picture that punches above its weight, Motionflow XR smooths things out for fast football action, and smart functionality means you can check in on social media in between commercials. A temporary price drop puts this Sony 4K TV at just $548 through 02/03!

Sound: The sound quality from flat-panel TVs isn’t always bad, but it’s usually one of the first things to be compromised on a budget TV. So you’ll definitely want something to enhance the Sony above. For $200 (thanks to another temporary price drop), the Sony HT-CT290 soundbar will provide audio quality that matches the caliber of the game. The wireless subwoofer makes it easy to set up, and if you want to keep the party going after the game ends, Bluetooth streaming lets you easily send your favorite tunes from your smartphone right to the soundbar.

Taking up minimal space next to the couch, the $119 Avanti SHP1702SS compact fridge is a no-frills way to keep some drinks and snacks chilled while you enjoy the game. The tall bottle rack can fit a 2-liter bottle, while the rest of the fridge gives you ample room for a dozen cans and a tub of guacamole. And the stainless front door panel doesn’t look half bad.

All told, you’ve outfitted your cave with the game day essentials for just $867.

One step Up — Under $2000

Doubling our budget opens up more options to create an experience that’s bigger, louder, and more entertaining.

TV: We’re bumping it up to a 65-inch set, which gives you about 75% more screen real estate. The Samsung UN65MU7000 HDR 4K TV, which has earned a 4.5/5-star rating by our customers, offers a brilliant viewing experience for the price. Samsung’s suite of video processing technologies—4K Color Drive Pro, 4K HDR Pro, and Essential Black Pro—create a vibrant, colorful picture, while Motion Rate 120 makes sure fast-moving action stays clear.  1076

With our extended budget, we can also move to an audio solution that offers true surround sound. We’ll start with the Samsung HW-M550 3.1 channel soundbar, which adds a discrete center channel to the typically-stereo soundbar. But to that, we’ll add Samsung’s wireless rear speaker kit, which links up wirelessly to the HW-M550 soundbar to give you true 5-channel surround sound. One of the additional perks of using a Samsung soundbar with the TV we chose for this package is that the optional Samsung One Remote can be used to control both of the devices—and jsut about any other device you connect to your TV—without the need for any complicated remote programming. The Samsung soundbar and rear speakers together will set you back $386.

We’ll also move up to a larger mini fridge with a freezer space, putting ice cube or post-pizza ice cream readily at hand. The slate finish on GE’s compact double-door refrigerator looks great in any type of decor. This adds $242 to our budget.

With our remaining $314, we’re going to add an Xbox One S Forza bundle into the mix. Not only can you play out your own NFL championship in the off-season, it doubles as a 4K Blu-ray player, so you can get the most out of your HDR TV when watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster. At $299, you’ll have enough dough left over in your budget for an extra large pizza.

Getting Serious — $5000

What used to be the price for just a large, high-end LCD TV can now get us a really tricked-out game day den. Our increased budget lets us move into the wonderful world of OLED TVs. Long the Holy Grail of TV tech, OLED TVs are now offered by two major brands (Sony and LG), with more than a dozen sets available. They combine unbelievable picture quality with a thinness that makes them all but disappear when viewed from the side. We’re allotting exactly half of our budget to a 65-inch LG B7 OLED TV. Sure, that’s the same size as the TV in our previous budget—but that’s okay because 65 inches is already a pretty substantial TV. Plus, the picture benefits of moving to the more expensive-for-the-size OLED technology are worth it.

This will also be our first foray into true multi-channel surround, with a dedicated A/V receiver and separate speakers. The foundation of our surround sound system is going to be the Yamaha Aventage RX-A770, a 7.2 channel AVR with 4K and 3D pass-through, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X capabilities, and built-in networking. When not watching the game, stream music directly from any device connected to your home network—your smartphone, your laptop, even your network-attached storage. 80 watts per channel will make every bone-crunching hit sound like it’s happening right in the room with you.

Hooked to that Denon will be the Klipsch Reference Theater Pack. This 5.1 surround sound speaker package ticks all the necessary marks: it’s budget-friendly, easy to set up and can be placed rather inconspicuously, and it still offers the great sound that has made Klipsch one of the best-known names in the audio industry. You’ll get the quality of their renowned Reference speakers in compact satellites, with powerful LFE provided by the powered (and wireless!) subwoofer.

Off-season gaming sessions and UHD content delivery will be handled by the Playstation 4 Pro.

We’re also going to class up the refrigeration situation, selecting a Danby Stainless Steel Beverage Center. Cool blue LED lights illuminate the interior, giving you a view of its contents through the tempered glass door. With room for 124 beverage cans, this compact cooler will keep plenty of drinks cold for even the biggest game day parties.

Our shopping cart total—including nationwide shipping—is $4993.65, leaving with just enough to grab a foot-long sub before the game.

The I’m Going To Disneyland — $???

We’re talking the ultimate in, well, everything. This is what you buy when you win the Super Bowl. It’s everything you need to create the most amazing, awe-inspiring home entertainment room conceivable.

The picture? This was a tricky one. If OLED displays were available in sizes as large as the largest LED (think 85-90 inches), we would have chosen one. But right now the industry tops out at 77 inches. So, we’re going with a projector, because when outfitting the greatest home theater imaginable, you go big or go home. So we’re going BIG, and sparing no expense. Our picture will be provided by the Sony VPL-VW5000ES 4K SXRD Home Cinema Projector. Built specifically for home users, the VW5000ES projects a picture that rivals what you’ll find in your favorite multiplex. It is, quite literally, the best video projector one can buy for personal use, throwing a 4K HDR picture up to 300″ on the diagonal on a surface of your choice. That’s a picture over twelve feet tall! Hope you’ve got tall ceilings.

Piecing together a high-end audio system can be a nearly-endless task, because you can always keep adding components. It also approaches the point where you need an engineering degree to get your system running. We’re going to try to keep it simple, creating a dream system that anyone can set up in an afternoon, while still ticking all the boxes to make even the most discerning audiophiles happy. For our receiver, we’re going with the Denon AVR-X6400H, an 11.2 channel amp that features…basically everything you’d ever want in an AVR: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatibility, support for all existing HDR formats (including the nascent Dolby Vision), 4K video upscaling, High Resolution Audio playback, eight HDMI inputs, and the list goes on. 140 watts per channel will push demanding speakers without an additional amp. What Hi-Fi picked the Denon AVR-X6400H as a 2017 Award Winner, and says of the model: “A terrific performer, this Denon AVR-X6400H would be a worthy addition to virtually anyone’s home cinema room.”

If someone says “dream home theater speakers,” we don’t even half to think twice to answer. Bowers & Wilkins, all the way. The legendary 800 Series Diamond series are speakers that offer both supreme power and unmatched accuracy, and are trusted by the worlds most discerning pros. Up front we’ve got the 800 Series Diamond floorstanding speakers, accompanied by the matching 800 Series Diamond center channel. A quartet of 800 Series Diamond bookshelf speakers will handle rear and side surrounds, and another four to cover the surround presence or height channels. For the really deep stuff, we’ve got a pair of SVS PB-16 Ultra subwoofers, giving this system enough LFE power to stop—or start—a your heart.

We’ll add in the world’s most powerful gaming console—the Xbox One X—for extra entertainment. If you’re more of an analog gamer, how about a Brunswick Woodbury pool table in classic chestnut and green. With Palliser’s modular home theater seating, you can build the perfect custom arrangement of plush leather recliners. Or opt for something more personalized and relaxing, like the Cozzia Qi massage chair. The Qi is so comfy that you’ll never want to leave, even to grab brew poured fresh from your Perlick Signature stainless steel beer dispenser or a glass of vino from the adjacent Dacor WineStation. But, then again, that’s what butlers are for.

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