Alan Kidney, of Gardnerville, stretched out his measuring tape across the face of a Sharp 32-inch flat-screen TV. This one is the perfect size for his home theater cabinet.
His wife, Valerie, said Friday they're not buying it specifically for Super Bowl Sunday. Replacing their old Toshiba just happened to coincide with America's game day.
"But I think the game will show up better," said Valerie Kidney, who then laughed.
Alan Kidney, who is rooting for Philadelphia, said the $490 Sharp is their best option so far. He wanted a flat screen with a good picture for a good price.
The Kidneys are one of many families across the United States who are upgrading their TVs. Many choose to do it before Super Bowl Sunday, when a wide screen and high definition can mean so much to a group of friends who want to see every yard gained or lost by the teams.
According to the National Retail Federation, more than 1 million TVs are sold prior to Super Bowl Sunday.
Other customers browsed the aisles of big tube, projection, high definition and plasma screen TVs inside the Best Buy in Douglas County. Larry Offenstein, of Douglas County, had his eye on a high-resolution LCD screen. He already knows which corner of his log house that it will occupy.
"Bigger is better," he said.
Many other Americans are thinking the same way. HDTV now represents the majority of the industry, and Best Buy's television sales.
"We tend to view the Super Bowl as almost a second Christmas, because it has historically delivered very significant TV sales," said Best Buy spokeswoman Paula Baldwin.
Jill Mitchell, owner of Sears on North Carson Street, said they don't usually see a huge increase in television sales before the Super Bowl, but only about 25 percent of her business is in televisions.
Sam Hall, owner of Sam's TV & Appliance at 1016 Mallory Way, said he always has an increase in big-screen TV sales before the Super Bowl. Hall often gets used TVs from Best Buy.
"TV sales are up 50 percent in the two or three weeks before the Super Bowl," he said. "It's not about Christmas anymore. It's Super Bowl."
- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.
Super Bowl facts
• Advertisers will reach an audience of about 145 million people for the Super Bowl, according to a survey conducted by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, and most of those people will sit still during commercial breaks.
• 21.5 million consumers will throw a Super Bowl party and 54.6 million will attend one. About 9.9 million consumers will watch the game at a bar or restaurant.
• Consumers who plan to watch the Super Bowl will spend a total of $5.6 billion on chips, dip and other Super Bowl-related items.
• The television industry sold 7.3 million HDTV units in 2004, according to Best Buy data.
• Nielsen put the average U.S. audience for the 2004 game at 89.8 million, up by more than a million people from the year before.