From the Premier League to the Champions League, football fanatics everywhere are getting ready to hunker down in their living rooms and enjoy a feast of televised games from the comfort of their sofas.
But without careful setup of your TV and sound system, you might not get to enjoy this spectacular tournament in all its glory. Dodgy picture settings, poorly placed speakers and seats too far from the screen could blight your football viewing experience.
So to get your system ready for kick off, follow these simple steps and make sure you maximise your enjoyment.
Tip 1: Make sure you’re watching in HD
We presume most of you have a high-definition TV receiver by now, such BT's YouView and YouView + boxes, but to view the hi-def channels properly make sure it’s connected to your HDTV using an HDMI cable.
When it’s time for the big game, select the right channel.
BT Sport is now broadcasting in Ultra HD, which has four times the resolution of HD, which means pictures are even more lifelike.
Tip 2: Check your viewing distance
Placing your sofa at the optimum distance from your screen will give you the full benefit of those crisp high-definition broadcasts.
But what is the optimum distance? Sit too close and you’ll notice the TV’s pixel structure, but sit too far away and your eyes won’t notice the extra detail in the 1080i broadcasts.
It all depends on the size of your TV. Smaller sets, say 26in or 32in, require you to sit closer, but you need to sit further away from larger sets to gain full advantage.
It’s not an exact science, as results can differ based on your visual acuity and personal taste, but we recommend putting your sofa 4.5ft from a 32in TV, 5.6ft from a 40in TV, 5.9ft from a 42in TV, 6.4ft from 46in TV and 7ft from a 50in TV.
As a more general rule of thumb: multiply the TV screen size by 1.2 and divide the result by 12 to get the minimum distance in feet. Then multiply the screen size by 1.9 and divide by 12 to determine the maximum distance. Place your seat somewhere between those two distances.
For example, for a 46in TV you should sit somewhere between 4.6 and 7.3ft.
You should also think about your viewing angle – ideally the screen should be within 40 degrees from the seating position horizontally, and within 15 degrees vertically.
Tip 3: Select the best settings on your TV
Football matches can be improved further by making a few simple tweaks to your TV’s picture settings. We’re not talking about a professional calibration, just a simple play with the brightness, contrast, colour and backlight settings to get the picture looking punchy and colourful but not garish. Some TVs even offer a Sport mode, which might fit the bill.
Many sets also boast special technology with names like MotionFlow and Auto Motion Plus that makes moving objects looks smoother, cutting out blur. Such processing comes into its own with a fast-moving sport like football, making the ball easier to see and the players easier to follow – but be warned that it can sometimes cause judder and other artefacts when set too high.
Tip 4: Setup your TV for daytime and night-time viewing
For daytime viewing make the picture brighter, but don’t be tempted to simply crank up the brightness as the image will end up looking washed out. Also fiddle with the contrast to find a balance that looks bright but retains solid blacks and rich colours. If you’re watching on an LCD TV, try turning up the backlight too.
For night-time viewing you should aim for a dimmer picture that can be watched comfortably without straining your eyes. Drop the backlight and try a lower contrast level.
Some TVs allow you to create and save your own presets – if so, create day and night presets so you can switch quickly in between games.
Tip 5: Check your sound settings
Most 5.1-channel receivers and systems feature surround processing that artificially creates a 5.1 effect from the stereo source, the most famous of which is Dolby Pro Logic.
Some systems might even have a Stadium or Football mode that aims to replicate the acoustics of the venue and envelop you in sound. Give these a whirl and see if you like the effect.
Read more about getting the best sound from your TV in our article: TV speakers: Which speakers are best to improve your sound?
Tip 6: Position your speakers correctly
If you’re rocking a full 5.1 speaker system, place the two front speakers either side of your TV in the 10 and two o’clock positions (if the centre of the screen is 12 o’clock). Turn them inwards slightly towards the listening position.
Place the centre speaker under your TV and tilt the front edge upwards to help project voices towards your ears.
The rear speakers should be placed behind the listening position in the eight and four o’clock positions, and ideally they should be the same distance to the listening position as the front speakers. Obviously this isn’t possible in all living rooms but try to keep things consistent.
The subwoofer should be located as near as possible to the front three speakers, preferably not in a corner or near a wall as bass can sound boomy. Again this may be unavoidable. If so, you might need to equalise the bass output using the controls on your AV receiver or subwoofer.
Finally check the distances and levels for each channel are set correctly on your AV receiver. Run its auto calibration mode if it has one.