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Jul 17 2011
By: MastrGT MVP Support 42251 posts
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On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

[ Edited ]
12 replies 884 views Edited Aug 20, 2012

Good Race Hosting and Driver Tips

 

These are suggestions for helping everyone to be a good host and driver in an on-line racing league, or while racing on-line in general. Some tips may also apply to organising LAN events.

 

You may notice that there are two main areas of concern: for hosts, it is planning and executing; for everyone, it is good communication and safe driving skills. If everyone does what they need to do well, the league should be well run, it should have a great reputation and everyone should have fun.

 

If you have another useful tip, post it below and open it up for discussion. It could even get added to the main list! Otherwise, you will have already made something valuable that you have learned through experience available to others for them to use as they see fit. Congratulations!

 

No gender bias is meant with the use of only the male pronouns he, him or his. They are also meant to include females, of course, and they are only used for reasons of simplification and convenience. Yes, females also like to race.

 

The tips are in no specific order yet and there will be some overlap, but they will be broken up into a few logical sections: those for hosts, for drivers and a few hardware tips, but hosts are also drivers and drivers may need to be a host some day, so please read through all sections.

 

a = a recent edit or addition to the list

 

This thread was corrupted during the last migration.

Click on the following three links to find what you need. 

 

Hosting Tips
Driver Tips
Hardware Tips

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Fender Bender
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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

Mar 16, 2008

nice work master gt!!

 

i vote for a sticky

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Fender Bender
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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

Mar 16, 2008

Seems well thought out.  You have more expereince with this than either imfster or me.

 

I need more time and experience running/managing a league before I can persume to crtique your thoughts on these matters.

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I Only Post Everything
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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

Mar 16, 2008

Those are some fantastic tips and you really covered all the bases. There are a few on there that I wish a F1:CE league that I was in would of used (Not yours MS7XWDC, if you see this .)

 

Anyway, this deserves a sticky, especially considering the influx of online groups that will arise with GT5: P

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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

Mar 16, 2008

MGT wrote:


 

Be prepared to help people who are doing something unfamiliar. While you may have the experience to do something easily, be patient with others who don't seem to have a clue as to what to do next.


this has probably got to be one of the most important rules set out in this guideline as far as i'm concerned.   there are thousands and thousands of GT lovers out there that have never played anything online before.  when GT5P goes online in a matter of weeks there is more than likely gonna be a flood of "Newbs" going online with it.  oh sure...there's gonna be those idiots that just bash and crash their way to the front but not everyone that gives bumps and bruises should be considered a basher / crasher...can ya dig it???

 

come on now...let's all be honest about the fact that we were all "Newbs" at one time or another...actually there's no way of becoming an online host without being a "Newbie"...just dont happen.

 

just remember to be patient with any newcomers until you really find out what kind of racer they're gonna turn out to be.  i know that when we started our league we didn't have a clue as to what to expect when we got on the track with 7 other people....you can just figure that it was mayhem at first...whew!!!   it sure doesn't take that long though to get accustomed to racing with the same group of guys that you enjoy to race with...and this is where the patience with other people comes into the equation.  most of us don't like "new" things when we're used to doing things the way we like or feel accustomed to...so when someone new joins in it sometimes makes it uncomfortable for us to make room for them.   but if you'll just take the time to get to know the "new guy" or gal it usually works out best for everyone. 

 

a little bit of patience goes along way with accepting new people online.  if you just take a little bit of extra time to work with the "Newbies" most of the time their learning curve can be as short and as painless as possible...some do take longer than others...but why not help everyone that you can to make sure that all of the members in the league benefit from the "new blood".   bottom line for me is that online competition is exactly what it states....competition.   if we don't treat new players with respect and understanding as to what is needed for them to learn then we actually put a sour taste in their mouth as to what the online experience was meant to be.  surely we don't want to turn away potential competition...more fun for the league or room with more the merrier attitude.   its a game...and weren't games meant to be fun????  why not help everyone learn so that they can have some fun too...maybe that way everyone's online experience will be the best that it can be.

 

this is just my $.02 worth and my experience with the online world.  ya'll have fun out there...ya hear???  its a big world out there in cyberspace and we all have to play in it together.

 

very informative post MGT...hopefully alot of racers will read and benefit from this.

 

 

 

 

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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

Apr 5, 2008
Well spoken. Don't be afraid to share good setups with all racers in your league,especially new folks, (if you use setups), Many times this will help them have much more precise control and be encouraged by being more competetive in the process. It will definitely make the racing much closer and thrilling!
imfaster wrote:

 

a little bit of patience goes along way with accepting new people online.  if you just take a little bit of extra time to work with the "Newbies" most of the time their learning curve can be as short and as painless as possible...some do take longer than others...but why not help everyone that you can to make sure that all of the members in the league benefit from the "new blood".   bottom line for me is that online competition is exactly what it states....competition.   if we don't treat new players with respect and understanding as to what is needed for them to learn then we actually put a sour taste in their mouth as to what the online experience was meant to be.  surely we don't want to turn away potential competition...more fun for the league or room with more the merrier attitude.   its a game...and weren't games meant to be fun????  why not help everyone learn so that they can have some fun too...maybe that way everyone's online experience will be the best that it can be.

 

 

 

very informative post MGT...hopefully alot of racers will read and benefit from this.

 

 

 

 

Message Edited by imfaster on 03-16-2008 02:41 PM

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MVP Support
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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

Feb 24, 2009
Some more tips were added to the host and driver sections.

* = a recent edit or addition to the list

Cheers,
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MVP Support
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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

[ Edited ]
Aug 1, 2012

Drivers

a Never, ever leave your console unprotected if you live with other people who can access your console and play on-line using your profile ID! There have been a few cases where it is claimed other people played using another person's profile and reeked havoc on the race tracks while on-line. When it comes to your reputation, leave no doubt! Password protect your profiles so that this never happens to you! If someone else, such as friends or guests, need to race right now, then make a new unrelated profile for them and mentor them, to get them up to speed in a respectful way, especially if they might go on-line when they are still not prepared for racing cleanly.

a Communicate! If a host asks for feedback, give it to him freely. Hosts are not mind-readers, so they need to hear *useful* feedback from the drivers when asked for it or if you see a problem no-one else does. It takes time and effort to organise a well run league and useful feedback only makes it run better and more efficiently while trying to do that. One word answers help no-one. Explain your view fully, accurately and clearly.

a Be early. Know when you as a host need to "open a room" or you as a driver need to be "in a room" and do it as soon as you can. Use this pre-race time for practice with whoever is in the room. This helps newcomers to get some needed practice with an unfamiliar car or on a track they never experienced before. If there are problems trying to get into a room, then you have some leeway to figure things out before race time.

a If the first room fills to capacity, then have designated persons ready to leave and set up a second (third...) room in *exactly* the same design as the main room. This may take a bit of practice and for the training for axillary hosts, so allow time to do this before race day. If all drivers indicate if they will attend ahead of time, then the host can have rooms set up for you.

a Drivers have the responsibility to be prepared for on-line racing before going on-line. Don't rush to go on-line the second you pop a new game into the console! A host should not have to pander to your needs and coddle you. Learn the game, the menus, how to select the tracks and cars and how everything, in general, works. If you need help with basic features, ask in a forum before you enter a league race. Sit out a league race or two while you learn how things work or should work. Open an on-line room clearly stating to everyone who joins it that you are just there to practice and learn how things work (maybe someone can help you). You will have more respect from other drivers if you are not fumbling and holding up races or causing problems.

a Make sure the host clearly knows who you are. There are forum IDs, game IDs, instant messenger IDs and everyone seems to use different e-mail names than all of them. It gets very confusing when someone with a new ID of some kind suddenly shows up assuming you know who he is, but you don't have a clue as to how to make a "connection". If the league is large enough, hosts may need to make a chart to keep themselves on track with knowing who is who and to keep mail lists up to date.

a Communicate with each other! Get on the friends lists of all league members. Everyone should use the same instant messenger (or some sort of back-up communication system) so that if there is a problem, such as getting into a league room, you can still let the host know you are having trouble.

a Racing on-line is addictive, so beware of the clock. Going to bed at 3AM, only to have to get up for work or school at 5AM, is not a good thing. The other problem with racing too much is burn-out - it does happen.

a Everyone needs to let others get heard. The host may need time to give instructions and if someone is hogging the mic, then there will be unnecessary delays or lost opportunities and other drivers will get annoyed at the talker.

a Communicate well. If someone asks you a question and their voice is muffled, ask them to "Repeat please". If someone wants your attention when you must drive carefully, just say "Hold on..." and wait until the danger passes so that you can pay more/full attention to everything.

a Using stereo headsets help you to hear better. If you use a mono headset, use your dominant "telephone" ear. Press the headset onto your ear to make the sound more clear or louder when someone speaks quietly. Turn down the game's background noises, to make hearing voices easier. Use your headset's mute button to talk privately with someone at home, when you feel a sneeze coming on or to answer the phone (while in the lobby). Set the sensitivity slider so that it doesn't keep your mic open and annoy other drivers with your mutterings. If you can use a Push-To-Talk (PTT) button to open your mic, use it, but in times of danger, you may find it is too late to open the mic while driving.

a Communicate with drivers close to you! Because driver views in a game can still be narrow or restricting, especially with a dashboard view, call out your position when necessary. If you are attempting a pass and you see it can't work, back off before causing an accident and say "Go ahead...". If you truly are faster than the other driver, you should get another chance to more safely pass him. If not, that's racing.

a A driver who is purposefully wrecking other cars needs to be called out immediately during the race, not after everyone has been wrecked by him! Clearly call out the danger, such as "Lousy_Driver_xzy is blocking the racing line in the chicane at the end of the long straight."

a Accidents happen, but if you do wreck someone's car, apologise sincerely and wait for them to recover, if the other driver can recover at all, and let him get fully in front of your car again before you both continue racing. This is one fair way, after the fact that you ruined someone's race, to not be accused of gaining from someone else's pain.

aDevote uninterrupted time for on-line racing. If the phone rings, let someone else in the house take the call or use an answering machine. If your favourite TV show is about to start while racing, time-shift by recording it and watch the show later. If the only time you can devote to racing is when family members are still awake, try to train them not to interrupt you. If the house is on fire, you are excused to grab your console and run outside with your racing games, otherwise try to stay focused with the race.

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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

May 10, 2010

Hosting and Organising

Make a clear plan, at the earliest stage, and get fully organised. Yes, this takes added time, but in the long run, it will pay off for everyone. Bouncing league ideas off another person at an early stage can also bring forward good ideas or a different perspective into focus. Keep drivers coming back each week by running things smoothly and by having "fun" set as a priority!

Your main organising priorities include:

- setting the league's focus and identity
- setting any league rules, if any are deemed necessary
- recruiting league members and promotion of the league
- setting racing dates and times
- determining how to distribute league info, passwords and updates
- choosing an efficient means of communicating as a group, such as an instant messenger or on-line calendar

- the easy part should be making the car / track combinations

Keep everything, including rules, as simple and straightforward as possible. Take more time to edit documentation than it took you to originally write it. Cut out every word that isn't needed and make lists of rules as short and precise as possible. Have a good editor proofread important documentation. You want to present a polished experience and having to constantly explain what you really meant doesn't cut it.


Be mature and use a professional attitude. You don't have to be an adult to act like one. Get experience and practice - it shows. League members will all have more fun when everyone has a healthy attitude and pleasant manner.

Do a dry run and a stress test. It is Murphy's Law that unforeseen problems will arise, especially if you are doing something that has never been done before, if you are using new equipment or if you are playing a new game. Problems may take time and effort to resolve fairly.

During the planning stages of setting up a race or series of races, actually drive the combination of car and track in the same manner you would actually race. This should give you the info everyone should know: the level of difficulty the race presents, how much time to allot for a night of racing, the average lap time and whether any special instructions or settings are necessary, such as controlling pitstops. Confirm if the time or number of laps you want to use is actually available. If the time you want to race exceeds the number of laps available, you need a different plan. If the time it takes to race all laps exceeds your normal racing time, then you may need to cut back on the lap count. Find an average lap time, then multiply by the number of laps - this should be a close estimate of your total elapsed race time.

Don't be afraid to ask for help, added patience or more tolerance. Everyone wants to keep moving ahead, but if you are stuck with a problem, someone else may have a quick solution for it. Unfortunately, most people don't volunteer, so ask directly for help.

Learn how to tell time. Time zones can be confusing when players from different areas of the world join leagues, so one way of helping everyone get on-line at the correct time is to use UTC (same as the old GMT) as your league time standard. Links to graphic clock sites and time zone maps are in the GT Information Centre.

Adjust to reality. It will take longer to get going than you think and you may have difficulty recruiting reliable drivers who will stay in your league. Plan on at least half of the drivers who said they would "definitely" participate as being no-shows on the first race day. Plans will take longer to finalise and problems on-line will stretch out your allotted time.

If you get overly ambitious with your plans, you might set yourself up for a fall. Start off with small plans and pull them off well, then look for something a little bigger later. If you try too hard at making "the biggest and the best" series of races, it may be too much, too soon.

Have a theme to give focus to your league and races. You may want to focus on using one model, brand or type of car or type of racing (GT, dirt, ovals); the focus may be on people in the same city or time zone. A powder-puff league could help keep females racing more often. Even if the focus is a broad "We race anything!", make the league's theme a rallying point for your league's members. Have a theme for some or all of your races. Use your imagination to put together a good race, then make it work for you and have a bit of fun with it.

Plan ahead. As a host, you won't like always being under the pressure of a deadline and, as a driver, you won't like being in the dark as to what new events or challenges are coming next. Use the league's calendar to everyone's advantage by filling in a complete schedule ahead of time.

Password league rooms to keep guests from interfering in any way. If you are still looking for more drivers, then go recruiting, but not during a league event, even if that means racing with only two people in the room. If you still don't have enough drivers, then postpone the league start until you do have enough to make it worthwhile and more fun.

 

Respect the privacy of your league members - always! When you send out league e-mail (or when forwarding jokes to friends, etc.) make sure you use the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) box to add all but one e-address. The mailer needs one address in the normal To: box, but all other addresses must go in the BCC box.


Use one clear system of contacting your league members. The always on-line Google Calendar, for example, is one excellent way because it can send out reminders automatically via e-mail and it can receive RSVPs, so that hosts can track who is expecting to attend each race. It can be made public or private, depending on your needs or tastes. It will integrate with mobile devices and other computerized calendars making it very versatile. The Mozilla calendar systems also work with e-mail, plus there are MSN Live and Yahoo alternatives. Whatever system you use, it will only work if everyone involved actually uses it in the way you intend!

 

Be prepared to help people who are doing something unfamiliar. While you may have the experience to do something easily, be patient with others who don't seem to have a clue as to what to do next. If you are the one who has no clue what to do, learn how to do it right by making sure you actually do understand how things should work.

If your room has lag, ask if anyone sharing their console's router with a computer has forgotten to shut down any peer-to-peer download system. This simple oversight can ruin everyone's race. You want as much bandwidth as possible available from everyone, to help eliminate all possible lag. If the racing game uses the host's console as the server, the host's available upload rate should be as high as possible, too. Use a bandwidth and ping testing site, such as SpeedTest.net, to help identify possible problems from some league drivers.

If the game allows using custom car settings on-line but it does not allow loading them while on-line (ToCA 3), get league drivers used to having their settings written on paper beforehand. This way everyone can enter their favourite settings quickly, cutting start delays considerably. Set-up sheets are available for ToCA 3, but it isn't difficult to make your own form for your favourite game.

If you know a certain car or track combination can cause handling problems, warn drivers in advance. Try to get the drivers to use practice days. Even ten practice laps around an unfamiliar track will do wonders on race day. It is the driver's own responsibility to get enough practice, so drive on the track as much as possible before race day even if you don't have the right car yet. That way you will at least imprint your memory with the track layout.

Be flexible. If the start time you planned on racing is too early or too late for all drivers, change it to something that allows more drivers to participate in the league events. If your group becomes too large or some drivers can't attend your events because of time zone differences, then maybe split the group into East/West divisions.

 

Trust only goes so far! When planning competitions, you can only trust people so much before, eventually, it will bite you. When using some games, the host can't control many aspects of tuning, so if you plan on using a spec set-up that is less than the maximum allowed, you must be prepared for a few cheaters to try to get away with whatever they want. In an uncontrolled settings environment, the host cannot guarantee that everyone is following the tuning rules. The only thing you can do to guarantee equality is to allow all drivers to use the maximum setting values, regardless if it is power, tires or anything else. With enough experience and observation, the cheaters are usually found pretty easily, but why risk having to deal with all of that emotion that surfaces?

 

Be consistent. Too many big changes or too many changes in the league's focus indicates you weren't ready with the outline or mandate for your league. Get things "right" at the beginning, so that you only have to make minor changes when necessary.

If you have a trouble-maker in the league, deal with the problem immediately. Don't let animosity grow to the point members give up and start leaving. It is better to lose one member so that you can keep the other drivers happy and actively racing. As a driver, if you see a problem, at least tell the host privately, if you are uncomfortable doing so in public.

Control unnecessary chatting during a race. It can interfere with driver concentration and also the calling out of positions or accidents. You don't want to cut off all communication, of course, and we all have some sense of humour, but a chatty room causes other problems and will give your league a reputation you may not want.

If when a member leaves a room it affects how the game runs or scores points, train the drivers to stay in the room until the race is over. If a driver times-out and league or game points are affected, the league needs a plan for restarting the race, if everyone feels it is necessary.

Hosts need to plan a start time when it is appropriate for the league to race. Most adults are better able to race uninterrupted later in the evening, but younger people need to go to sleep earlier, or league members may have to get up early for work or school. As a driver, if you can't race when a league normally meets, you still have the choice of learning how to be a host and organise your own league to race when you can race or to just join whatever open rooms are available.

Control cursing in your room. It is inappropriate in a game which could have younger people in the room, plus even adults can get annoyed quickly by excessive, abnoxious swearing. Set a good example yourself by not swearing at all while on-line.

Determine whether all drivers must use a chat headset during league races or not. It's your call, but voice communication does help speed up getting your point heard, makes lobby communication much more efficient and gives a much better comfort level during races, if excessive chatting is curbed. As a group, better communication levels win over poor levels or even silence. If you make a chat system mandatory, then you need to set a rule of when all drivers must start using one, for example, two races after the new driver starts racing.

Always name the league on-line room in the same way, for easy recognition by league members (clarity) and as a league identifier for non-league drivers (promotion). If more than one room is necessary, add a number to its base name. If the league room will be passworded, then the host must ensure all league members actually know what the password is for each event. If it changes for each event, then you need a system to give the password to each driver well before race time and drivers will need to keep up-to-date with them.

Find drivers who can record time or results screens, to be able to calculate driver points, if you are using them. The game may only show finish times on-screen for a limited time, therefore you may need to record them quickly with something like a DVR or camera. Practice, to make sure you understand how to handle any limitations caused by the game or hardware.

Paws off! If the game allows other drivers to affect advancing through the game control or menus (starting/stopping a race, advancing through displaying the results, etc.) remind everyone to make sure no-one else presses buttons while you do your hosting job or while recording the results. The league drivers won't want to have to rerun a race just to get fresh results!

League members can also help promote their league and to recruit more drivers. League members can add an identifier tag to their on-line IDs and links to your league info can be added to their sig images at forums, but this should done be on a voluntary basis. If a league member finds a particularly good candidate to invite into the group, you should have a way of either accepting almost anyone freely or have some sort of screening process to eliminate unsuitable drivers.

If the number of drivers requires using more than one room, you have a choice: let each driver pick which room to race in or assign a driver to each room. Depending on the league and its rules or point system, you may have no choice. Letting a driver pick a room is more friendly, plus one room may be causing problems with entry while another room does not. You can also use a handicapping system to set up rooms the way you need.

Be patient and tolerant of new members to the league and to drivers new to racing on-line, in general. Help them up their learning curve and nurture their driving skills, as this will help these "diamonds in the rough" more quickly gain the skills necessary for driving safely around the other drivers and to more quickly learn how to drive faster, making your league races more fun for everyone, including the newest members. Suggested by imfaster

If necessary, create "meet and greet" or "training days" that are not league races because one of the most difficult ways to learn is during a race. Non-race events can help a new member familiarize himself with the league and how things are done, break the ice for new and established members alike and they can be used to help train back-up hosts, too.

If a new league member just won't learn, causes too much trouble on the track or won't follow the league's guidelines, you may have to cut your losses and remove him from the league. A good pre-screening process for new members should help eliminate this more drastic step, though. Look for new raw recruits that show more potential of being good, courteous drivers and great league members. Recognising the good recruits should be easy.

Be a reliable host by making sure you have an up-to-date copy of your complete game save. If you as a host lose your 100% complete game save, how can you host the league races? Keep a back-up copy safe from possible harm and loss. If possible use a second mem-card or write it to an uneraseable format, such as a CD/DVD.

Some hosting services, such as GameSpy, have reliability problems, so the host needs to learn what all of the solutions are. For example, maybe just closing a room and starting over will solve the problem of people entering a room. You may have to delay until on-line problems go away.

Have an exit plan and don't flog a dead horse. If interest in your league is waining, have a "going out of business" bash and call it quits gracefully. Take a rest or start planning a new league based on your hard learned experience. On the other hand, if something is working out well, run with your successes.

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Re: On-line Racing, League Hosting & Driver Tips

May 10, 2010

Hardware

On-line racing usually involves using certain hardware which probably has wires. The wires have risk of getting damaged (some pets chew the wires clean through) or of tripping people who need to walk near or over them. If you use a flexible wire tunnel, cover wires with a mat or at least twist-tie the wires together, you lower these risks. The PS2 only has two USB ports, too, so using a cheap USB 1.1 hub will allow connecting more devices to the console, as shown below: a keyboard for faster chat room typing, a flash memory device and a chat headset are all quite common devices for racing on-line or to just leave plugged into the PS2. The hub allows leaving them always connected and available. Use a hub with a low profile, so that you can keep it in line with the cable tunnel. Logitech made a good wireless PS2 controller, if you are not using a wheel.

The PS3 can use more wireless devices, so if wires are a problem for you, try to use wireless devices. These can have their own battery or recharging problems, though.



Racing on-line at night may mean you create a lot of noise when others want to sleep. Using a chat headset cuts down on some noise and using ear buds underneath the headset pads will remove the game's background noises from the room. Use a set of speakers with an output jack to connect the ear buds. That only leaves your voice in the open.

You may have to buy a respected name-brand product if you find a non-brand-name one doesn't work as expected. For example, a Datel gaming headset won't work with ToCA 3, but most Logitech headsets do.

Power Protection! When on-line, make sure you stay connected by using a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) to protect the power going to all of the necessary equipment that makes up your console station. Your console, TV, router, modem, wheel and (depending on the exact type) speakers are all necessary to keep you racing properly on-line. If you lose power to any of these components, you will either be bumped off-line or hindered in some way while playing. A relatively high capacity UPS is not all that expensive now, and it will keep you racing during the most common power problem which will take you off-line - dips in power voltage. Huge TV's require a much more capable UPS. You have some choices: use a separate, smaller TV with your on-line racing station; buy a humongous UPS; or buy an additional UPS to only support the large TV.

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