“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Throwing a Memorable Super Bowl Party

by February 03, 2005
Throwing a Memorable Super Bowl Party

Throwing a Memorable Super Bowl Party

Planning a Super Bowl party for your friends is hard enough. There's plenty to worry about: food, drinks, food, seating, food - you get the idea. Add to that the reputation associated with being part of Audioholics and you have some pretty high expectations to meet. If you really want to throw an all-out Super Bowl party that will be remembered, you'll need to focus on the home theater aspect of the event. After all, good food only goes so far. You have to remember the general rule: the guy with the biggest screen wins.

To compete with, and stand apart from, the sports bars and other RPTV-equipped establishments and homes that will be showing off the game, we decided to provide an all-encompassing Super Bowl experience involving 5 (five) distinct zones, each of which allowed guests to roam practically anywhere in the house without missing any football action. The goal was to immerse the participants in the game, with oversized high definition images and all-encompassing surround sound. Fortunately for us, we had lined up several products for review that would work well in accomplishing our goals for this Super Bowl extravaganza. My friend Tom came over and helped put the final touches on the five systems this week - and boy did we have a lot of work to do! Outlined below are the Zones and equipment we configured for this year's Super Bowl XXXIX party at Audioholics:

Zone 1: Grand Central Station

Desiring to have a very large, open area whereby we could allow the maximum amount of people to participate, Zone 1 takes Reference System 3 and expands it. We decided to shift the high definition television to the right and widen the front sound stage to cover the entire room. The result is a dual high-definition presentation and 5.1 surround that covers the entire 20' x 24' living area. To an extent, we sacrificed (as we did in nearly all zones) sound quality and imaging for coverage and convenience. The two high definition displays include a 55" Mitsubishi WS-55813 rear projection CRT display and a Maxx LCOS 1400 which we projected onto a Stewart Studiotek 130 Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall. 5.1 surround sound is being provided by a Yamaha RX-V2500 receiver which is driving RBH Sound Signature Series loudspeakers.

Gear List for Zone 1

Maxx LCOS 1400 Front Projector (1400x1050p) review

Mitsubishi WS-55813 55" HDTV (1080i) review

Stewart Filmscreen 100" Studiotek 130 Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall review

Yamaha RX-V2500 A/V receiver review

RBH Sound Signature Series speakers (1266-LSEs, 661-LSE, 61-LSEs, 1010-SEP) info

Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000HD DVR

Cobalt Cable 40 foot "Ultimate" component video cable (RCA-BNC)

[Zone1B_lg] Leaving the Stewart ScreenWall where it normally is, Tom and I moved the Mitsubishi HDTV to the right, creating a veritable wall of high definition video for the big game. The right front RBH Sound 1266-LSE was also moved to open up the front soundstage and provide greater coverage to the listening area. HDTV coverage of the game will be provided by Time Warner Cable, who inked a deal with the local Fox affiliate (WFXB) to provide the Super Bowl in HD just five days before the scheduled game! Their provided Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000HD DVR delivers decent quality video from its analogue component video outputs. The component video cable supplied by Cobalt Cable provided excellent connectivity from the front of the room to the projector we located towards the rear of Zone 1.

The desired goal of this room is to allow all Super Bowl attendees to congregate in a large open area to watch the game. It delivers multiple unobstructed views of the game on two large screens; and food, another important aspect of any successful Super Bowl party, is also nearby. We tried to bring some of the sports bar feel back into the room by positioning two of our outdoor bistro sets in the room to strategically break up the floor space. This also gave us some more table room for snacking while enjoying the big game.

Zone 2: Stats and Online Action[Zone2_lg]

I decided to hang Ad Notam's 30" LCD Magic Mirror on the rear wall of the main viewing area (Zone 1). This TV is just plain cool and I wanted to create the effect that everywhere you looked you still see elements of the game. This display is wired up to Reference System 3's H TP C and provides access to statistics and information from Superbowl.com as well as access for guests to follow-up with websites that might be tied to the game or commercials. A Gyration wireless RF Media Center Remote & Keyboard allows guests to browse the web at their convenience from anywhere in the room - just pick up the keyboard and go. With a native resolution of 1280 x 768, this screen has plenty of real estate to complement the live action with fun online, real-time content - like voting for the game's MVP.

Gear List for Zone 2

Ad Notam TV 30.0 LCD Television with Magic Mirror review

Gyration Media Center Remote & Keyboard

Audioholics Custom HTPC

Zone 3: The Kitchen[Zone3_lg]

Everybody always ends up in the kitchen, right? Well, while that's OK, it would be inconceivable to miss even a moment of the game while attempting to reload on snacks or drinks. To solve this potential shortfall, Axion (American Action, Inc) provided one of their new AXN7200 20" LCD TV/DVD Combos which fit rather nicely in the kitchen. It is configured to broadcast the standard definition version of the game - and at 20" that is more than acceptable, though I wouldn't recommend this display for serious channel-flippers. In addition to being downright convenient, the Axion TVs are absolutely gorgeous though their video quality is not up there with some better sets we've seen.

Gear List for Zone 3

Axion AXN7200 20" LCD TV/DVD Combo review

Zone 4: Hardcore Fans Only

[RefSystem2_lg] We wanted a place where hardcore football fans could watch the game in HD without fear of such distractions as talking spouses or excessive movement. For this, the newly-revamped Reference System 2 was the solution. Designed as a new gaming and home theater-centric room, Reference System 2 was set aside as the ultimate viewing room for Super Bowl XXXIX.

Gear List for Zone 4

Yamaha LPX-510 3LCD Projector review

Carada H092C 92" Criterion projection screen with Brilliant White fabric review
Canton CD Series loudspeakers (CD300, CD360 F) with AS200 SC subwoofer review

Integra DTC-9.4 A/V Processor review

Rotel RMB-1095 200Wx5 amplifier review

DVIGear 15m HDMI cable

Scientific Atlanta Explorer 3250HD

We were able to wire everything up with an excellent quality HDMI 15 meter SHR cable from DVIGear. DVIGear has been making some incredible cables that break all known barriers for being able to carry video over longer distances. In our viewing tests, we saw no visible degradation from the use of the 15m cable they supplied. While the screen in this room is actually smaller than Reference System 3, the viewing distance is a bit closer. As a result, the perceived size is actually that of a somewhat larger screen. With the Yamaha LPX-510 3LCD projector driving the action, even though guests are sitting at a distance of only 1.5 times the screen width, this system yields outstanding picture resolution. LCD pixel spacing at this distance is just at the threshold of being unnoticeable. The Canton CD Series loudspeakers and powered down-firing AS200 SC subwoofer currently being reviewed in this system should also lend some intense realism to what is sure to be a bone-crunching game.

Zone 5: Alternate Viewing Zone for the Homeless and Age-Impaired

[Zone5] Some guests have indicated that they may bring their children along for the game. We've decided to corral them upstairs and, if Zone 5 isn't in use for playing standard definition game content, this area can double as a DVD-centric entertainment system for the kids. Remember, its not just the game - it's the whole package of making sure everyone is enjoying themselves fully - even if that means giving the kids some fun along the way. This room is far enough away from all of the game play that there will be little, if any bleed from any of the Super Bowl Zones into this area (and vice versa).

Gear List for Zone 5

Denon DVD-3910 DVD player review

Toshiba 32" CRT television

Brookstone Wafer Thin CD System w/MP3 review

So after all of this, what do we have? Well, we have the start of what I hope to be a successful Super Bowl XXXIX event. Five Zones comprised of 3 high definition screens and 3 standard definition viewing areas. Lots of food, good friends... what more can you ask for? We'll follow up with some pics and an addendum after the game and let you know how the actual event panned out. For now, I need to make a few gallons of sweet tea!


About the author:
author portrait

Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

View full profile