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Get Ready for the Big Game

table of football party foods including a bowl of popcorn

After another disappointing season for our home team and an overall weird year for professional football, it’s nearly time for the Big Game. And while this year the party won’t include as many people as in years past, that doesn’t mean you can’t still go big with it. From your TV setup to the perfect spread of snacks, there are some important things to address before you settle into the couch this weekend. This is our guide to everything you’ll need to know before the Big Game.

Watching the Big Game

The game kicks off Sunday, Feb. 7 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 don’t use cable or any streaming services 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’re a cord-cutter without an antenna, you’ll have a few different options for watching the game. First, if you use any sort of TV streaming service (or are about to start subscribing to one), check to see if your package includes CBS. Of all the major TV streaming services, Sling TV (the cheapest, at $35 a month) is the only one that doesn’t carry CBS. The streaming TV services that include CBS in their base package are:

Each of those services costs $55-65 a month, and includes access to a collection of other channels, all watchable on any internet-connected device.

If you’re an a la carte cord-cutter, you may already be subscribed to the next option—CBS’s own streaming service, CBS All Access. This gets you access to that channel’s live broadcast stream, a massive collection of past episodes, as well as a library of exclusive content. CBS All Access will cost you just $9.99 for a month of service (or $5.99 for a version that includes commercials).

The Big Game will also be streaming for free on the network’s dedicated sports app, CBS Sports App.

streaming TV services 2021
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 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 the holidays, 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 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. The big game will not be streaming in 4K this year, so that’s one less thing to worry about when it comes to setting up your TV. 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 this 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, big TVs have never been more affordable. This 75-inch 4K Samsung TV and this 75-inch 4K LG TV are each currently available for just under nine hundred dollars.

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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