The UEFA Euro 2016 football championships kick off in France on June 10, and if you’re a soccer fan who’s looking forward to the competition, read on to discover the best tech for enjoying the beautiful game this summer.
We’ll take a look at the top gadgets that will make watching Euro 2016 more enjoyable, and share some tips and tricks to ensure you never miss a game, or a goal.
How to watch Euro 2016 on TV
For example, the June 11 game between England and Russia, and the June 20 game between England and Slovakia, will be shown on ITV. The England vs Wales game on June 16 will be shown on BBC1.
If you’re not in the UK, but want to watch Euro 2016 games, then check out the list for the worldwide UEFA Euro 2016 broadcasting rights, which will tell you which channel will be showing the matches.
How to watch UEFA Euro 2016 online for free
Because the BBC and ITV have the rights to Euro 2016 games, it’s easy to watch the games live online – just use the BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub online streaming services. These can be viewed through your web browser, and many smart TVs and games consoles have apps for them, as well as Android and iOS smartphones.
Websites such as TVCatchup (which also has an app for smartphones) is another handy source for watching the Euro 2016 games online for free.
If you’re not in the UK then a number of other broadcasters will be streaming the Euro 2016 matches online, such as ESPN. The UEFA Euro 2016 Live website is a handy resource for finding out which games are streamed and where to watch them.
Make sure you don’t miss out on a game
The official UEFA Euro 2016 website has all the fixtures and kick-off times, and the BBC also has a comprehensive guide. However, one of the fastest ways to see when the next game is on is to simply type ‘euro 2016’ into Google – you’ll see a schedule of the games at the top of the results page.
How to get the best viewing experience for Euro 2016
If you’re going to be watching the games at home then you’ll want to make sure you’re enjoying the best viewing experience possible. If you’re considering buying a new TV for Euro 2016 then the Hisense 75M7900 (£2,485, around $3,594, AU$4,832) is definitely worth considering – it boasts a huge 75-inch 4K screen and HDR, 3D and Smart TV technology. Hisense is also an official partner of the Euro 2016 championship.
While we’ve heard the disappointing news that neither the BBC nor ITV will be showing Euro 2016 matches in 4K, you’ll at least be getting a UHD TV set that’s extremely future-proof. Hisense isn’t quite a household name in the UK or US yet, but it’s a big deal in its native China, with a growing reputation for premium features in TVs that are quite a bit cheaper than the competition.
If you’re after a (slightly) smaller – and curved – screen, then Hisense also has the 65XT910, a 65-inch 4K TV that uses proprietary Hisense ULED 2.0 technology for vibrant high-contrast images.
If you’re on more of a budget and don’t need such a big TV, then the Hisense LTDN40K321WTS 40-inch 4K Smart TV is a great option for £299 (around $432, AU$581), and if you drop 4K for 1080p then you can get a Samsung T32E310 32-inch LED TV for just £199 (around $288, AU$387).
You’ll want to make sure your TV is properly calibrated before the first ball is kicked at Euro 2016, so that you get the best possible image quality. As football is a fast-paced sport you’ll want to make sure your TV can handle quick-moving action smoothly – which may mean turning off certain image processing settings. Check out our guide on How to set up your TV for the perfect picture to find out more.
How to get the best audio experience for UEFA Euro 2016
The chants of the crowd, a shrill whistle from the referee, the insults traded between the players – it’s all part of the experience. Well, maybe not the insults part.
However, if you’re planning to get fully immersed in the Euro 2016 matches, you won’t want to rely on the tinny speakers of your TV.
If you want the absolute top sound quality – and you have a budget that can accommodate the asking price – then the Monitor Audio R90HT1 5.1 speaker package (£1,499, around $2,169, AU$2,916) is well worth the investment, with surround sound capabilities that will help you to feel like you’re inside the stadium, watching the games live.
If space – and budget – is more of a concern then a soundbar is a great choice, offering great sound quality and virtual surround sound without the nuisance of speaker wires trailing everywhere. The Denon HEOS HomeCinema soundbar and sub-woofer is worth considering – and its HEOS multi-room technology enables you to connect multiple soundbars throughout your house to play music, making it a great choice for after-match parties.
Best of all, Denon has dropped the price of the HEOS HomeCinema soundbar from £599 to £399 in the UK for four weeks to coincide with Euro 2016. If you’re not in the UK then check your local AV specialists, as they may have a similar deal.
For more soundbar suggestions check out our list of the 10 best soundbars for your TV.
How to entertain your guests during Euro 2016
Having friends and family round to watch the games is a big part of the Euro 2016 experience – and you’ll want to be the perfect host.
Keeping ice-cold beers (and other, less essential, beverages) nearby is pretty much a must, so having something like the Smeg FAB5RNE mini-fridge in your living room will impress your guests.
And if people are feeling peckish then you can wow them with this Pop Up Hot Dog Toaster, which will cook the hot dogs and warm the buns for you without you having to take your eyes off the game.
To really make the experience memorable you could also deck-out your living room with Philips Hue smart bulbs. These impressive lights can automatically change colour whenever a goal is scored by your favourite team – all you need is a simple IFTTT (If This Then That) recipe.
If you fancy nipping outside for a kickabout in between Euro 2016 games the Adidas MiCoach smart ball is an interesting choice. It’s not just a regular football – it has an integrated sensor inside that detects speed, spin, strike and flight path and sends the data to the miCoach smartphone app, which in turn gives you advice on how to improve your skills.
Who knows – when Euro 2020 comes around you could be out there on the pitch, instead of watching the action on your TV at home.