If you’re throwing a party for the most-watched and visually engaging shows on the planet like the Super Bowl, you need a television that’s up to the task. But that doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a new 64-inch plasma screen — for this event, it’s better to just rent. Here’s how to score a great television.
Where to Rent
Most national rental chains don’t have one-day rentals, so you might be forced to pay for at least a week’s worth of screen time. We found a 55-inch LG 4K LED for $40 per week with a minimum two-week rental at a New York chain. Retailers such as Best Buy don’t rent units and try to discourage the buy-and-return crowd by imposing restocking fees. The independent electronics renters tend to have less stock but won’t require the long rental commitment. We were quoted $300 for a 50-inch 1080p unit and $275 for an HD projector and screen in New York a week before the game. Delivery charges typically apply, though you might be able to pick up a smaller TV from a chain store.
Check with your homeowners insurance and credit card to see if the rental is covered before signing any waivers.
What to Rent
Choices this close to kickoff are limited in size, so get the biggest screen even if it’s a little too much for the space. While you probably won’t nab a curved 80-incher, whatever you get should be 1080p, with a decent refresh rate. Springing for that 55-inch 4K TV might make sense considering NBC’s using the ultra high-definition cameras during the game, and it might be a good time to see if the technology is worth it. Have a dark room with an expanse of white drywall? An HD projector is your best option for going bigger than 100 inches. Chances are you’re not going to mount a rental, so have a piece of furniture on hand to keep the screen’s center at eye level. Rule of thumb is that a 55-inch wide screen works when the couch is about 7 feet away. Pass on the Smart TVs; you’re watching a game, now’s not the time to stream the newest season of your favorite TV show.
If you already have an HD flatscreen, keep two things on hand: the sound bar and the HDMI cable. Most rentals won’t include a sound bar, and if you have a pizza pie’s worth of people in the room, the noise level will quickly rise above the TV’s maxed-out internal speakers. Most sound bars use the screen’s optical output, so you can mix and match brands. Likewise, have a sound plan for a projector. The rental might come with an HDMI cable, but they are universal, too, so use yours. Hookup is simple: Connect the HDMI from the output of your dish or cable box into the input of the screen. If you’re unsure, have the rental company deliver the screen, and hook it up.