World Cup watch: a hat trick of TVs to enjoy the football on
The silky-smooth footwork. The armies of colour-coded fans. The hairstyles that only obscene amounts of money can let you get away with. It’s a beautiful game, football. But if you’re not in the stadium, getting that full World Cup razzle-dazzle experience this summer is going to be all down to the screen you’re tuning in on.
It’s a tradition as old as jumpers for goalposts and oranges at half time that, every four years when World Cup fever kicks in, we start looking longingly at our aging old TVs, wishing for one that was a few inches bigger, a few pixels sharper, and a few decibels louder.
If your TV would be looking unlikely to make the first team if sat in a shop window, and you’re on the hunt for the perfect TV for the footy, leave it to us: Here’s a hat-trick of TVs that’d be just perfect for enjoying this summer’s tournament on.
The star striker: Sony AF8 4K OLED
It’s the class-leading technology if you’re looking for a TV panel worthy of the golden boot, and Sony’s top-of-the-line OLED, the Sony AF8 4K OLED is the TV to yearn for this World Cup tournament.
We’re talking specifically here about the 65-inch KD-65AF8 model from Sony’s range, which impresses particularly for this purpose not just through the quality of its rich imagery, but by the silky smooth and lifelike motion of its Motionflow processing technology. So long as you’re using either the Standard or Clear settings, you’ll have a stutter-free sweep across the many high-speed panning shots that football coverage requires.
It’s one of the few flat screen TVs that sounds good too. Making use of Sony’s Acoustic Surface tech, the panel itself vibrates thanks to two actuators found on its rear. It’s a similar principle to that which we’ve seen in smaller Bluetooth speakers, using the surface area to produce stereo sound back up front. It’s not quite the same as if you’d have a soundbar running alongside the set, but you’ll find a surprising amount of bass depth thanks to two woofers on the rear.
Running Google Assistant thanks to the Android TV platform onboard, the KD-65AF8 can accept voice commands to open smart TV apps such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and YouTube. The set itself looks great with a minimalist design – but what about the image quality itself? Leaving best to last, it’s immaculate – the X1 Extreme image processor supports HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma, leading to rich and colourful shots, with the screen doing a particularly good of bringing Full HD images up to scratch on the 4K panel
An affordable transfer: Hisense U7a (HE55U7A1WTSG)
The Sony OLED may be a great TV – but that price tag is going to feel pretty scary for all but the biggest of wallets. If you want bigscreen, 4K action without paying a premium for every extra inch, turn your attention to Hisense’s star signing.
The U7a line (particularly the 55-inch HE55U7A1WTSG) is a fantastic football-friendly screen if you find yourself on a tight budget. It’s even got a World Cup theme – as one of the tournament’s lead sponsors, its start up screen includes a FIFA logo to get you in the mood pre-match.
Easter eggs like that aside, the screen impresses with a top-notch construction and good connectivity options. Streaming in 4K, you’ve got Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube at your disposal, with the HDR10 and HLG high-dynamic range standards supported.
Thankfully, despite the affordable price tag, you’re not left with sub-par performance, particularly when it comes to sporting action. The Hisense Ultra Smooth Motion processing technology works excellently when using its clear and Standard settings, leading to a very enjoyable kickabout-view from your sofa.
Best TV for when you’ve been sent off (to the back bedroom): LG 32LJ610V
Do you get a bit too excited when it comes to the World Cup? Do you start ranting and raving at the TV when a decision doesn’t go your way, or refuse to let the kids have a game of Fortnite because you’re watching back-to-back matches? You might end up finding yourself banished from the living room then, sent off while you take a breather to cool down.
That doesn’t mean you’d want to miss out on watching all the footballing action however, so if you find yourself sat in the back bedroom, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a great back-up TV so that you can keep up with every shot, challenge and set-piece.
Unless you’re living in a giant mansion, a second TV for your home probably won’t need to be very big, so sticking to a 32-inch size is a sensible move. But that doesn’t mean you need to settle for a shoddy little set, as proved by the LG 32LJ610V.
Perfect for settling down in the den, this 32-inch screen has a Freeview HD tuner and a full HD 1920×1080 resolution.
An LED IPS panel, it performs will in brightly lit rooms even if its contrast levels let it down a bit. And, when the football is over, you’ve got access to a good suite of Smart TV apps thanks to LG’s webOS platform. So, if you’re still off for an early bath, you’re all set up for a Netflix binge.
TechRadar's World Cup coverage is brought to you in association with Honor.