7 essentials for watching the big game with friends – CNET

Super Bowl 54 is just around the corner, meaning it’s time to start planning your party. Sure, you can put out the traditional nachos and beer, but that’s boring. This year, why not go the extra yard (eh? eh?) with some big game splash-out splurges? Below I’ve rounded up various items that can help make your party memorable — we’re talking food, drinks, games and more — starting with arguably the most important item of all: the TV.

Read more: How to watch Chiefs vs. 49ers in Super Bowl 2020 without cable

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like pretty much all sports, football is best when viewed on a big screen. As we learned in 2019, the best deals right now are on 65-inch models, which have never been cheaper. For example, TCL’s top-rated 65R625 QLED Roku TV is currently on sale at Amazon for $693, one of the lowest prices to date.

But that’s actually at the higher end of the spectrum. For a limited time, Walmart has the RCA RTRU6527-W 65-inch 4K Ultra HD Roku TV for just $399.99, one of the lowest prices ever for any 65-inch smart TV. Read our TCL 6 Series review.

$693 at Amazon

SodaStream

The SodaStream is a machine that lets you make your own sparkling water, using pretty much any combination of flavors — which in turn lets you create just about any color. So why not whip up some Bowl-themed sodas?

Normally this would be a little easier, but the Chiefs and 49ers will both have red as their primary uniform color (the first time that’s ever happened, FYI). Still, you can do a red soda to represent the Chiefs and something gold (like peach or mango) for the 49ers, which corresponds to their normal helmet colors.

SodaStream offers several machines and bundles; right now you can save 20% on any of them with promo code BIGGAME. If you start with just the Fizzi Classic Starter Pack, you can get out the door for about $72.

See at SodaStream

Fizzics

Forget the keg. The Fizzics DraftPour is a beer dispenser that promises to elevate even cheap brew into a draftlike experience. It does this using sound waves, of all things, to create a microfoam head. How well this actually works is a bit subjective, but if nothing else, it’s a conversation-starter.

The DraftPour is currently selling for $129.99, but you can save 15% with promo code DRINKMOREBEER.

See at Fizzics

Blue Panda

Most folks like a Super Bowl party, but not everybody loves the actual football. To help make the game more fun for all, consider handing out Super Bowl bingo cards. A mere $10 buys you 36 of them; players watch for things like “fumble,” “delay of game” and “touchdown.”

Another option: The Play Party Plan blog has free printable Super Bowl Commercial Bingo cards, meaning the bingo fun can continue when the football pauses.

$10 at Amazon

Jackbox Games

I’ve always found the Super Bowl halftime show to be super-weird. You go from football to stadium concert spectacle, and then back to football. Um, no thanks. I’d rather spend those 20 minutes playing a party game. And seeing as everyone is gathered around the TV already, I recommend something from Jackbox Games. Choose from half a dozen Party Packs (each containing multiple games) or go with my personal favorite: Quiplash ($10).

If you own an Apple TV, Fire TV or game console, choose the version for that device. Otherwise you’ll have to haul out the laptop and connect it to your TV. And, hey, if you really wanna see J-Lo and Shakira, you can do this during the three-hour pregame show instead.

See at Jackbox Games

Crock-Pot

Want to slave over a hot stove during the game? Of course not. That’s why your Super Bowl dishes should be prepped ahead in one or more slow-cookers. These insanely useful appliances are good for everything from dips to wings to hot chocolate. Here are 11 great Big Game recipes you can make in a Crock-Pot.

Need something small for, say, queso? Here’s a 1.5-quart cooker for just $10.99. Or click below for a 6-quart Hamilton Beach model, one priced well below the similarly sized Crock-Pot.

$30 at Best Buy

Jell-O

Whether you decide to make these alcoholic or not is totally up to you. I’ll just say that a platter of football- and helmet-shaped Jell-O “jigglers” brings a smile to every face. This bundle gives you two sets of two molds, each one capable of producing five jigglers. So you’ll get 20 per batch.

$8 at Amazon

What items would you recommend to help improve your big game party?

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