Super Bowl TV Rental: You're Better Off Buying

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – For football fans, this was the worst weekend of the winter: a Sunday without football. (OK, there was the Pro Bowl, but let’s be honest – it’s the worst All-Star game of the four major sports.)

If you think your modestly-priced 32-inch TV might not really be big enough, there is another way: You can rent a gigantic TV for the weekend to capture the biggest game of the year in all its glory, impressing your friends at the same time.

But all that status and picture quality come at a price. Is it really worth spending $300 for one night of television?

Yes, $300. That’s about the minimum going rate for a weekend rental of a big-screen TV. You’ll get a great television for the game, though: When MainStreet called our local Rent-a-Center, we were told that price would get us a Panasonic TC-P54S2, a 55-inch 1080p plasma screen TV. That television is billed elsewhere as being “great for sports and cinema-quality movies,” and plasma screens in general have superior viewing angles, meaning everyone at your party will be able to see the picture clearly.

But even with delivery, set-up and pickup included, you still need to pause and remember that you only get to use it for one weekend. If you decided to buy the TV instead, you could get it on for $1,049.95, plus $166.75 for delivery. For four times as much money you get to use it for years, instead of a measly four hours before having to give it back.

If you don’t have $1,200 available right now, then you’re out of luck either way: Rent-a-Center requires a $1,500 deposit to rent the TV, and most rental services require similar security. So if liquidity is an issue, then renting instead of buying isn’t even the solution. You’re better off buying with a credit card or finding a store that will sell one to you on layaway.

What are your other options? NFL rules prohibit renting out a local movie theater to watch the game, but you can do the next best thing: rent a projector… for the same price as a TV. One rental service in New York, NYC Audio Video Rentals, charges at least $300 to rent a 1080p HD projector for the weekend.