The European Football Championship, or Euro 2008, kicks off on Saturday, the 7th of June. Traditionally, the host nation gets the privilege of opening the tournament and the Swiss national team is pitted against the Czech Republic. Nobody is expecting the Swiss to do particularly well against the likes of Jan Koller and Milan Baros, but it will still be an interesting match to watch.
If your idea of football is to turn up at a match after a few pints and beat supporters of the opposing team senseless, then you're probably banned from European football pitches for life and hence in dire need of a new TV. Vendors and retailers alike love such sporting events, as they get to flog loads of TVs to football-crazed fans willing to sacrifice a bit of their beer budget for a new tube.
If you still want to stick to some of your beer stash, you're probably interested in a cheap, 26 to 32-inch set. The cheapest 26-inch on offer will set you back just €334, but this thing comes from Tatung and at this tempting price it's only available in Germany, via discount24.de. A brand name set, Samsung, Philips or LG to be exact, will set you back €400. Getting a 26-inch doesn't make much sense, as 32-inch is apparently the best selling size and the price/value ratio is much better. You can score a Schaub Lorenz on neckermann.de for just €350, but most people will cough up an additional 50-100 euro to get something from LG, Toshiba, Samsung or some other brand name manufacturer. It's a small premium and it's probably worth it, if not for the quality and specs, at least for the good looks.
Of course, all of these sub-€500 products are 1366x768 sets. If you want enjoy full HD and fully appreciate the quality of stitching on the players' jerseys and shorts, you'll have to spend a couple of hundred more. The LG Electronics 37LF65 and Samsung LE-37M86BD, both 37-inch full HD sets, are available for around €700 and this sounds like an exceptionally good value. This is probably the size and res I would go for. Most people don't really need bigger sets, especially young folks living in cramped quarters. The extra resolution is not just a good thing for watching flicks and sporting events, it will come in handy for HTPCs. Fortunately, I don't watch much TV, so I'll spend my €700 elsewhere (booze).
You still want bigger? Not a problem, you can go for a 40-inch unit as these big boys aren't too expensive, either. You can get the cheapest brand name models around the €680 mark, but they're still 1366x768. An extra two inches at the same resolution will cost just a bit more, around €700 to be exact. In case you want full HD you can get a 40-inch Sony for less than €850. 42-inch full HD models from LG and Philips cost around €870. 46 and 47-inch sets are the next step and these full HD units retail at €1200 to €1300, while 52-inch sets sell for €2000+.
The bourgeois also have something to choose from. Sony and Samsung both have 70-inch sets, priced at €30500 and €26500 respectively. You can get a pretty good car for about the same amount, but these products aren't meant for mere mortals, anyway. Besides, with galloping gas prices, it's probably better to stay at home, anyway, and help the environment, or at least get fat trying.
We used German prices, but they're similar to those found on the rest of the continent. However, prices in the U.K. and Scandinavia are a tad higher, as usual. Unfortunately, Brits and Scandinavians are already used to getting gouged. Sets in Central and Eastern Europe are also a bit pricier, but just slightly. As these markets are getting bigger and competition in the retail industry is intensifying, the price gap between developed markets in the west and the new EU member states is closing.