Latest Information:
Sports
4:46 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

The Latest In HD TV, From The Comfort Of Your Courtside Seat

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:38 pm

Millions of people will be glued to TV screens Monday watching the NCAA men's college basketball championship — and some of those viewers will actually be in the stands.

Monday's Connecticut vs. Kentucky game will be played at AT&T Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys, where an enormous Mitsubishi screen hangs from the roof. It's the length of four coach buses by 72 feet high. And while the screen is ridiculously huge, the picture quality of the LED 1080 high definition is amazing.

For Wisconsin fans Michael and Monica Niezgoda, it meant they stopped watching the game on the floor on Saturday night when their team played Kentucky and began watching the screen pretty much right away.

"Right after tipoff," Michael says.

Florida Gator fan Robert Dent did the same during Saturday's game against Connecticut. "I'd say the only time I watched the game on the floor is when they were doing rewinds on the TV and I was missing the game," Dent says.

But does watching a giant TV instead of the action on the court cause guilt given all the money spent for tickets, airfare, hotels and meals?

"No guilt at all," Dent says. "The TV is a little better than the one in my living room."

There is a gender component to this reaction. Men tend to be completely fine watching the screen. But it's not too hard to find a woman who feels a little guilty about it.

"When you first see it, it's kind of like, what is this? It's too big. It seemed a little overwhelming," says Kansas fan Sandy Dalton. "But when you're sitting up there, and you're watching it, you can look down and see the court but watch the Jumbotron, but you also have all of the live experience going on around you." (No, Kansas isn't in the Final Four, but the Daltons bought their tickets hoping it would be.)

Dalton says watching the game here is an entirely new experience. Not everyone is watching the court together, but it's OK because fans can see the game so well. Dalton was ideologically against it at first, but as time went by, the experience began to grow on her.

The giant screens serve to make the Final Four experience a little more democratic. No matter what you've paid, you still can see everything perfectly. But what about those who've actually paid not hundreds but thousands of dollars a ticket? What are they watching?

"Actually it was kind of about half and half, and I was down low, too," says Kentucky fan Don Jacobs. He could see the action on the court perfectly, but his eyes nevertheless were pulled skyward, too.

"The clarity is just fantastic," Jacobs says. "We were low enough where we couldn't decide if we wanted to watch the floor or the middle screen or the big screen, but I think the big screen is pretty fabulous."

You're probably thinking there is no way you would pay thousands of dollars to come see a sporting event and watch it on some darned TV. Right? Well, there's still time to see whether you can stick by your guns. Next year, college football is holding its first-ever national championship playoff competition. It's going to be huge, momentous, historic — and guess where it's going to be?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Tonight's finals are taking place in a football stadium which for basketball fans can be problematic. Quite simply, seats that are fine for football are too far away for basketball.

But as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, home of the Dallas Cowboys, is different.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: The first time a newbie walks in to Cowboys Stadium, the person stops dead in his or her tracks and stares toward the heavens. After a few seconds of stunned, holy silence, there's an exclamation of astonishment. They just cannot believe how big it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GOODWYN: Michael and Monica Niezgoda are Wisconsin fans, and when asked when they stopped watching the game on the floor and begin watching the TV hanging from the roof...

MONICA NIEZGODA: Pretty much right away.

MICHAEL NIEZGODA: Right after tip-off.

(LAUGHTER)

GOODWYN: Made by Mitsubishi, the display is the length of four coach buses by 72 feet high. It's not just that the screen is ridiculously huge. It's the amazing picture quality of the LED 1080 high definition.

ROBERT DENT: I'd say the only time I watched the game on the floor is when they were doing rewinds up on the TV and I was missing the game.

GOODWYN: That's Florida Gator fan Robert Dent. I asked Dent if he felt any guilt whatsoever about watching the giant TV instead of the action on the court, after all the money he spent for tickets, airfare, hotels , meals.

DENT: No guilt at all. The TV is a little better than the one in my living room.

GOODWYN: There is a gender component to this reaction. Men tend to be completely fine watching the TV. But women, yeah, not too hard to find a woman who feels a little guilty about it.

SANDY DALTON: You know, when you first see it, it's - you're kind of like, what is this? It's too big. It seems a little overwhelming.

GOODWYN: That's Kansas fan Sandy Dalton. Yes. I know Kansas isn't in the Final Four but the Daltons bought their tickets hoping they would be. Sandy says watching the game here is an entirely new experience. Everyone is not watching the court together but it's OK because they can see the game so well. Dalton was ideologically against it at first, but as time went by the experience began to grow on her.

DALTON: When you're sitting up there and you're watching it, you can look down and see the court but you watch the Jumbotron. But you also have all of the live experience going on around you. So it's now great.

GOODWYN: The giant screens serve to make the Final Four experience a little more democratic. No matter what you've paid you still can see everything perfectly. But what about those who've actually paid, not hundreds of dollars a ticket, but thousands of dollars a ticket? What are they watching?

DON JACOBS: Actually it was half and half actually. And I was down low too. So...

GOODWYN: That's Kentucky fan Don Jacobs from Lexington. He could see the action on the court perfectly but his eyes nevertheless were pulled skyward.

JACOBS: The clarity is just fantastic. We were low enough where we couldn't decide if we wanted to watch the floor or the middle screen or the big screen. But I think the big screen is pretty fabulous.

GOODWYN: I know, you're thinking there is no way you would pay thousands of dollars to see a sporting event and watch it on some darn TV. It's ridiculous. Well, there's still time to see if you can stick by your guns. Next year, college football is holding its first ever national championship playoff competition. It's going to be huge, momentous, historic, and guess where it's going to be?

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.