Our Top 10 essential buys for the Olympics

It can hardly have escaped your notice that there's a big sporting event going on in London right now, so we put our heads together to come up with all the essential AV kit you'll need to make the most of the Olympic sport.

Don't forget the BBC will have 24 live HD streams and 2500 hours of coverage throughout the Olympics. As well as a third channel of HD content on Freeview, showing a simulcast of the Beeb's Red Button content in HD.

Whether you're gearing up for the cycling, a fan of athletics, or excited at the prospect of beach volleyball, here's our list of essential kit to enhance your viewing and listening experience:

1) A smart/3D TV

With the opening and closing ceremonies, Men's 100m final and selected highlights being filmed in 3D, it's time to don those 3D glasses. And if you have an internet-connected telly, you'll be able to use the BBC Sport app giving access to the Beeb's interactive coverage.

See all our TV Best Buys.

2) BBC iPlayer

Make sure you don't miss out on any of the action by having catch-up TV on the iPlayer. It's included in an increasing range of smart TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players/HDD recorders.

3) A smartphone or tablet

Given that we can't all be at home when the Games are underway, a smartphone or tablet for live streaming of events is the perfect way to keep up with your favourite sports. See all our iPad and Android smartphone/tablet reviews.

4) New headphones

Do yourself a favour and ditch those free cans that came in the box with your portable device. This is the perfect time to invest in a new pair for on-the-go listening.

See all our headphone Best Buys.

5) Portable DAB radio

With Radio 5 Live Olympic Extra available as a dedicated digital station throughout the games, get yourself a portable DAB radio for listening in the garden or the park.

See all our DAB radio reviews.

6) BBC Olympics app

Perfect for your smartphone or tablet. And don't forget you can access real-time updated Olympics data, stats and news on the BBC Sport website.

7) A personal video recorder

If you don't have one already, now's the time to invest in a decent hard-disk recorder to capture all that glorious high-definition coverage.

Sky+ and Virgin TiVo subscribers already have one, of course, but you can buy a Freeview HD or Freesat PVR for not much money. But one word of warning: Freesat has confirmed that Humax won't be able to fix the bug that prevents recording of the 24 Olympic channels on its Freesat+ box.

Check out our PVR reviews.

8 Add surround sound

We all know that most flatscreens sound weedy. With much of the Olympics being broadcast in 5.1 surround sound, upgrade your system's audio with a soundbar, home cinema in a box or full separates 5.1 rig.

Check out our Home Cinema in a Box Best Buys and recommended Home Cinema systems.

9) A small TV for the kitchen or bedroom

There might be times when you're in another room in the house and still want to know what's going on. A small, second-room screen is the answer.

10) Watch in Super Hi-Vision

If you're really lucky, you might get to see the Games broadcast in Super Hi-Vision, 16 times the quality of high definition broadcasts.

Three 50-foot high Super Hi-Vision screens will be erected at the BBC's Pacific Quay building in Glasgow, Broadcasting House in London and at the National Media Museum in Bradford for public viewing.

And finally, don't forget to stock up the fridge with lots of cold beers (or a nice bottle of wine)!

There are probably lots of other things you can think of, so if you have any suggestions, pop them in the Comments box below.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.