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(ARA) – With fall in the air, that means one thing for sports fans: its game time. Between the hard-hitting pro and college football seasons moving into high gear, the puck dropping on the hockey season and heart-pounding UFC and boxing cards, sports fans have countless games, matches and battles to enjoy.

Not convinced that sports mean that much to die-hard fans? Take March Madness, for example: Worker distraction due to the first week of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament can cost employers an estimated $192 million, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., which releases an annual survey on the impact of the NCAA Tournament on workplace productivity.

While fans love the live experience of watching all the action play out right in front of their faces; it’s the rare breed that makes it to every game so it’s important to have the best back-up alternative: the right home set up.

Start with a picture-perfect TV

If you are going to have friends over to watch the game, a standard-definition TV no longer does the trick. A high-definition (HD) television, particularly LED back-lit, is a must-have for watching any game, and fans are tuning in from home in numbers well into the millions. For example, Nielsen ratings show that the NFL set a record in 2010 by reaching 207.7 million viewers throughout the year.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

HD makes the action look better than ever, but its 3-D that really puts you IN the action. With networks like ESPN showing more live sports content in 3-D, now is the time for sports fans to give 3-D TV a shot. With the right TV, even if your game isn’t being broadcast in 3-D, you can still get the in-your-face action you crave. For example, LG offers a 2-D to 3-D conversion with their Cinema 3-D models that allows you watch any sport in the third dimension.

Getting comfortable and affordable 3-D glasses is another key to good home viewing, especially for large groups. LG Cinema 3-D glasses are like the ones you get in a movie theater, as opposed to active-flicker glasses that require batteries, recharging, and are a lot more expensive. If you already wear regular glasses, you can even get clip-on versions of the polarized 3-D glasses.

Root for your team – from anywhere

Hardcore fans have been known to travel hundreds of miles just to watch their favorite team – just listen to St. Louis Cardinals fans at Chicago Cubs games, or Detroit Red Wings fans at hockey games in Florida. Other options when you don’t live in your favorite team’s city are expensive services you can buy through your TV provider to watch all the games – even the key out-of-market games you care about. But short of downloading apps to watch on your smartphone or tablet, it used to be a challenge, or very expensive, to watch what you care about on your TV.

Internet-connected “Smart TVs” are among the fastest-growing consumer electronics categories, and are ideal for the sofa-bound sports enthusiast. For example, Smart TVs and Blu-ray players from LG include sports content like MLB.TV, NHL and NBA (season permitting) to let you watch thousands of live HD streams of out-of-market games, and catch-up with your local team’s games even after they’ve ended.

If your game isn’t on, you can stream your favorite sports flick with apps from Netflix, Vudu or CinemaNow. Learn more at www.lg.com.

It’s game time for diehard sports fans. For the hardcore fans that love the live action but can’t be there in person, all it takes is the right gear to replicate the excitement from the comfort of their homes. From HDTV to 3-D TV to Smart TV, there’s no better way to crave the wins, excitement and candid behind the scenes action, like watching the coach boil over or seeing the perfect human “wave” travel through a packed stadium.

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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