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Plugged In

Tech tips for Super Bowl parties

Plugged In

It really doesn't matter if you're a Giants fan or a Patriots fan when it comes to this week's Super Bowl. Heck, if you're a dedicated geek, you don't even have to like football at all to throw a good shindig.

The big game is often secondary at Super Bowl parties. Instead, the event marks the informal end to those insane New Year Resolutions and offer a chance to show off some of your latest and greatest tech gadgets.

If you're planning on hosting this year's bash, here are a few essentials that will ensure your man cave is the go-to destination for all future sports-related parties.

An awesome TV

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This is, hands down, the most important weapon in your arsenal. If your friends can't watch the game (or, more specifically, the commercials) in eye-popping detail, they'll flock elsewhere.

The good news for is that this, and not Black Friday, is the best time of the year to buy a new set. While holiday sales might be a little cheaper, typically those offers are for store brands or entry-level name brands. Since manufacturers just announced their new lines at the Consumer Electronics Show (which start hitting stores in March), retailers deeply discount TVs -- even top tier ones -- right around the Super Bowl.

Not sure which one to get? CNET, which knows a few things about TVs, notes that the best sets announced last year were Samsung's PND7000 series and the Panasonic TC-PVT30 series. That might be a good place to start your searching.

One remote to control them all

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The problem with having a tricked out home theater is you've got a remote control for your TV, another for your cable or satellite provide, another for your home theater and so on.

Logitech's Harmony One Advanced Remote puts all of your electronic devices -- up to 15 -- under the control of a single clicker. At $199, it's not cheap and it will take a little set up time, but it will cut down on clutter and give you mastery over your electronics. Just don't lose it!

Remote-Controlled Rolling Beverage Cooler

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Pre-game and during the first quarter, it's really no effort to grab another beer or soda. But as the post-halftime food coma sets in, it becomes a battle of wills to decide who will grab the next round for everyone.

Thanks to Hammacher Schlemmer, you don't have to worry about it anymore. This cooler can zip across the floor to deliver drinks to you. It keeps up to 12 ice-chilled cans or bottles in an insulated container and runs on just six C-batteries (plus a nine-volt for the remote control). Better still, it costs just $70.

Grill Alert Remote Meat Thermometer

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If you opt for brats and burgers over a delivered pizza, you'll add a nice personal touch to your party. The flipside? You may miss part of the game cooking.

Brookstone's talking thermometer lets you step away from the grill and still know when it's time to turn the meat. It boasts a 300-foot range and a belt clip for anyone who wants to be a BBQ Batman. Just set the probes to the cooking level you prefer and a voice prompt will let you know when your food is both "almost ready" and "completely done."

Madden NFL 2012

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Let's face it: The Super Bowl game itself can be a real snoozer, especially if you're not a hardcore fan of either team. Blowout victories or back and forth defensive battles can make the 'Big Game' seem fairly small. If you and your guests have had it with the real thing, you can always play an alternate version with this year's Madden instead.

Updated with the most recent stats, the game offers a pretty realistic look at how the game could have been — if luck weren't a factor (and you were the one making the calls.)

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