The 2020 Super Bowl is going to be memorable for several reasons. Top among them, of course, will ultimately be the untimely and tragic passing of one of America’s — and the world’s — most iconic and influential athletes, Kobe Bryant. On a somewhat lighter note are some other significant firsts that will also make this Super Bowl unique: the Kansas City Chiefs are going to take on the San Francisco 49ers in their first Super Bowl appearance since 1970. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Donald Trump each plan to spend $10 million in advertisements during the game. And Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers, will make NFL history as the first openly gay and female assistant coach.
If the watch party’s at your house, people will be coming over to watch the big game (or escape it and tuck in for a movie or binge night). You can make the soiree as stress-free as possible in a few ways.
- Make a plan. determine who’s coming in advance and choose a format for the get-together.
- Keep things simple. Taco bars, tried-and-true recipes and an easy drinks layout can really reduce the guesswork.
- Organize and prep accordingly. Don’t wait until the morning of the party, write everything down and delegate as much as possible.
And if you’re already the regular center point of watch parties and hangouts or are going to make hosting at your home a frequent occasion, you might want to invest in living room and kitchen products that will help everything run smoothly and keep everyone happy. To help you determine what you might want to upgrade, we broke things down into three party-prepping steps: TVs and other tech, kitchenware and cookware and (delicious) food and drinks.
- Best sound bars to amplify a party
- Best smart home devices to ease party planning pressures
- Drinks and snacks delivery services for (even more) delicious get togethers
Best TVs fit for entertaining
Time it right and you can save big on that TV you’ve been eyeing. According to retail and consumer research outlet DealNews, November’s Black Friday is the “absolute best time” to buy a new TV and March is the second best month for purchasing one as newer models roll out — and that there are “always TV deals.” Though the Super Bowl isn’t traditionally the best time for TV deals, there are a couple great sales out there right now if you want to upgrade yours — and the coming week will see lots of TV deals, according to DealNews.
If you’re buying a new TV, get one that has at least a 4K screen resolution, writes NBC News contributor Julie Loffredi. “Buy a 4K TV, otherwise known as an Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV. It offers four times the resolution of HD TV,” Loffredi recommends. “With eight million pixels, you have enough resolution to give you a picture worth watching on Super Bowl weekend.” For a limited time, you’ll find an array of Samsung’s QLED TVs on Amazon with deep discounts, too.
(QLED, short for Quantum LED, is a Samsung and Vizio TV panel technology that “increases the contrast and vividness of the image,” Loffredi explains.)
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, TCL’s Smart Roku TV — so named because you can manage all of your streaming content using built-in Roku apps — is on sale right now.
There are discounts on various sizes of the TV so you could potentially save on one no matter what space you’re looking to fill. Here’s an easy way to calculate the best TV screen size for you:
Measure the amount of inches between you (or your couch) and your screen
Divide that number by two
The result is your optimal screen size
Best sound bars to amplify a party
If you want to upgrade more than your TV and are looking for an elevated home theater, you may want to consider a sound bar instead of relying on your existing (or new) TV’s built-in speakers.
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The wireless subwoofer can go anywhere in proximity of your TV and will fill out the sound in your space. Seven sound modes allow you to optimize for the type of audio you’re watching, from sports to the news and Bluetooth streaming will let you connect to it with your phone and stream anything you like.
You can use this sound bar set up just like the above Sony model. But you can also break off two truly wireless speakers at the end of the bar and place them anywhere to create a 5.1 home theater sound system.
This sound bar is outfitted with upward firing speakers — that is, some of them are positioned at an angle turned up — to better fill your space. Chromecast is built-in for streaming your content and will allow you to control the sound bar using your Google Assistant.
Best smart home devices to ease party planning pressures
Other smart home devices also make things a bit easier when you’re hosting. For instance, a smart lock like the highly-rated August Smart Lock Pro allows you to use your phone to lock and unlock your door for guests — without having to excuse yourself from the party or get off the couch. It also works with Amazon Alexa.
Honestly, cleaning up post-party is always a drag. Robot vacuums make things so much easier, so you don’t have to spend late night crawling on your kitchen floor wiping up crumbs. And this highly-rated and bestselling iRobot Roomba is Wi-Fi-enabled and works with smart assistants.
Best kitchen devices and cookware for parties
There are some kitchen appliances that can make your life so much easier when you’re on cooking duty, especially for larger groups.
For one, you may want to invest in an air fryer, which America’s Test Kitchen executive tasting and testing editor Lisa McManus told BETTER is “fast, easy and convenient.” She’s such a fan of the air fryer that she owns several versions, and on a typical weeknight, she will cook her veggies in one and her meat or chicken in another.
Pressure cooking in an Instant Pot slashes cooking time by 70 percent (when compared to a slow cooker), and many models allow you to saute in the pot, which saves on the amount of dishes, too. If you’re regularly on party-hosting duties, go for an 8- to 10-quart size.
Save yourself the unnecessary task of putting out tons of bowls with this divided serving dish, which has four removable compartments and a middle one that’s perfect for dips. When one runs low, you can replenish the snack quickly, leaving the rest for everyone to munch on.
Drinks and snacks delivery services for (even more) delicious get togethers
Whether you run out of something day of or don’t have time to shop for any given party, delivery services can help smooth out some corners.
They’ll deliver beer, wine or liquor to you in under 60 minutes — that’ll save you from the last-minute booze run you may have to make — or a re-up during the party.
Set this popcorn maker up on your counter and let guests fill up their bowls with fresh air-popped popcorn at their leisure. A butter melting tray lets you season the snack as desired.
13. Amazon Fresh
The grocery delivery service allows you to pick a two-hour delivery window (in select locations) and they won’t charge you for that delivery if you spend $35 or more. Stock up on snacks, fresh veggies for dipping, and alcohol, too.
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