The right equipment will make the Olympics come alive in your living room. Follow Anthony Fordham’s tips and tool up for 16 days of the best high definition prime-time sporting action you’ve ever seen.

Sometimes, it almost feels like the Olympics comes along every four years. Oh wait… Anyway, the length of the standard Olympiad is almost ideal, because four years is just enough time for an entire new generation of AV technology to be released, and mature.

For Beijing 2008, the tech du jour is high definition – and the reception, recording and playback thereof.

Consider that for Athens in 2004, very few people had access to a proper HD display. Blu-ray recorders were a twinkle in Sony’s eye, and the cost of PVRs was prohibitive, and they didn’t have particularly impressive hard drive capacity.

By the time the cauldron bursts into flame in Beijing though, many more sporting enthusiasts will have the golden trifecta of entertainment gear: the 1080p-capable TV, the HDTV receiver, and the high-capacity HD PVR or Blu-ray recorder.

Equipped with these devices, you can not only enjoy the Olympics live in better detail than ever before, you can also record the history-making events and expect to watch them again to get you in the mood for London 2012.

Beijing 2008 – Olympics broadcast highlights

With only a two-hour time difference between Beijing and Australia’s eastern seaboard, Olympics events will be able to be viewed live, in prime time, rather than in the middle of the night as when the Games are held in Europe or North America.

Channel Seven will broadcast live Olympic coverage between 10.30 am and 6 pm and from 7 pm to 2 am daily, with the Opening Ceremony broadcast live from 10 pm on 8 August and the Closing Ceremony from 9pm on the last day, Sunday 24 August.

Past figures show that around two million Australians tune into highlight events from the games and that, world wide, around four billion people view the spectacle.