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Big game, big screen

It’s time to consider investing in a ‘real’ TV for that Super Bowl party

Posted: January 23, 2009 7:29 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A Pioneer Elite 60-inch plasma television with floor-standing speaker package from Kef, Denon receiver powering the speakers, Sony Blu-Ray player, Monster power center and Bell'o stand. Combined, these components would normally sell for about $17,000, but are on sale, just in time for the Suberbowl, at about $15,000.

Tick-tock brother - as you read this you only have eight days to get your widescreen television installed in time for your Super Bowl party. That's right. You know you're going to buy it.

You can pay it off later with that big fat tax refund you're expecting. (Let's forget, for a moment, the refund might be an IOU.)

Stop stalling, stop studying. We'll answer any questions you have right here with the help of the folks from Pacific Sales. They're the experts on home entertainment systems - and on kitchens and baths - and work out of that big building near where Newhall Ranch Road crosses The Old Road.

There they can show you everything from entry-level to custom design and give you advice to suit your specific needs.

Cameo Bruckner, the store manager, said her store will be celebrating its one-year anniversary at the Valencia location in February - but that the company has been in business for 49 years, will soon have 34 stores and is expanding nationally. Bruckner and Jonathan DeBoer, the home theater manager, laid out the important points of your widescreen purchase.

LCD or plasma?
Now, if you're hosting a large Super Bowl party, you're going to want the guests at the sides and back of your "theater" room to be able to see the television screen as well as those in front.

That means getting the largest high-definition widescreen you can afford - or at least the largest your wife will allow in the house. However, the type of screen may be even more important than the size. "LCD and plasma are the wave of the future, with regard to digital conversion and flat screens," DeBoer said. But there are differences between those technologies.

"Plasma is going to give the best picture quality - it's only available in the larger screens of 42 inches and more. You're going to get the most from what you spend on a plasma," he added.

But LCD has its advantages, too. "LCD will give a brighter picture and is more energy efficient," DeBoer said. And he added that most LCD televisions have a matte finish, non-glare screen, which won't reflect the light coming in from open windows during the day. "They don't make matte finish on plasma," he said.

"Plasma shows all the reflections," Bruckner added. She explained that placement of your television may depend on whether you purchase plasma or LCD. You won't want to place a plasma near a bright artificial or natural light source.

"With plasma you need more of a theater room setting," she said.

The price difference between plasma and LCD isn't dramatic, but DeBoer said that, comparing "apples to apples," with a comparable product, you may pay a little more for LCD. LCD televisions are available from 11-inch screens all the way up to 65-inch screens and larger. DeBoer said you can go from $250 "on up to your imagination - $20,000." Plasma screens can range from 42 inches to 70 inches and the price ranges from $600 up to $14,000.

Screen resolution
DeBoer said that widescreen televisions are available in 720p, 1080i or the up-an-coming 1080p resolution. He said 720p and 1080i are "very similar." These specifications "are the standard for broadcasts right now for high definition, but, eventually, 1080p will be the standard with cable providers and satellite providers." Currently 1080p is only transmitted through Blue-ray players and video games. But, thinking ahead, he said that 1080p resolution "is definitely something to consider if you are getting a TV for your main room."

If you are going to be watching a lot of fast motion on your television - like with a football game - you may need to consider how fast your screen can process motion. DeBoer said the plasma screens can handle the fastest motion, but that some LCD screens may not be able to. For the big game you want to be sure your LCD screen has 120hz speed.

"This speeds up the screen. There's no blur on fast-moving objects," he said.

Sound systems
DeBoer emphasized that, with home theater systems, sound is even more important than picture.

"The audio is more than half of any theater experience," he said. "Audio instills the emotion in the movie." He explained that when you are out there looking for a home theater system, be sure your entire budget isn't planned for just the television.

"Make sure you get an audio system that complements your TV well, for the ultimate experience," he said. "Try to design the sound system so that it reproduces sound as if you are there, experiencing what happens on your TV screen."

One component to consider adding to your theater system is a Blu-ray player. Not only will this provide the highest picture resolution available (1080p), it will also handle up to 7.1 surround sound.

That's seven satellite speakers and a subwoofer. DeBoer said Blu-ray starts at about $197 and goes up to $3,000 "for more of a media station."

Planning and installation
With so much investment involved, you should definitely plan your home theater system carefully. DeBoer said you want to "integrate it into the design of the room." Bruckner added that it should be "a masterpiece versus a TV just hanging there."

But, never fear, even with only one week left before the Super Bowl, Pacific Sales can help you plan your system and get it installed, in time. DeBoer and home theater specialist Mario Salazar can advise you from start to finish.

Pacific Sales works with expert local installers, and DeBoer said installation can run from $100 for a basic on-wall setup to $200 and up. "Wire management" is an important part of the installation.

Aside from the expert advice you'll receive at Pacific Sales, there is another good reason to buy your widescreen there: savings. "Stop paying retail prices. Get it factory direct," said Bruckner. "We have a price guarantee. For 60 days we'll beat any competitor's price. And we offer free delivery."

Pacific Sales is located at 29011 The Old Road, Valencia, CA 91355. Call (661) 294-4400. The Web site is The showroom is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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