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TV Size: Find the right size based on distance

You wanted to watch a movie and decided to book the tickets for the movie. You open the prescribed app and search for the tickets of your choice and you notice you are the first one to book. So basically which seat would you prefer to watch the movie? Most often, people select seats somewhere near the center or seats between center and top.

This is because you want to watch the movie in your comfort zone without causing an ache to the body. While it’s exactly not the same while you’re watching in the living room. The prime location might differ in our personal space because we don’t want to feel the strain in our eyes or headaches by choosing the wrong spot.

Most often, people choose the biggest screen in their rooms, but if your room is too small, then this may not be the best idea. A general guideline is that you need to be seated between 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal screen away and not more than 5 times, with about having a 30-degree viewing angle. For example, if you have a 55 inch TV then you need to be seated somewhere between 5.5 – 8.7 ft. These guidelines are just to give you a general distance recommendation but many people choose based on their personal taste and we are not questionable.

Basically, the viewing distance recommendations vary among manufacturers, Tomlinson Holman’s experiment (THX) specifications, and the retailers. Some give the range of suitable distance; others provide a fixed number based on the research. While it’s good for you to rely on some sources based on these while doing your research and setting the best TV in your room.

 Given the specifications of TV as HDTV, you will be able to sit close to your TV without seeing individual pixels in the HD content. If you are more into Blu-ray movies, then you will be able to sit closer to the TV. Viewing angles is also important to decide your place and position. For example, if you want to view the TV straight, then place the TV at a height where your eye levels to the center of the screen.

When we were small, we heard our parents say not to sit close to the TV while watching cartoons on weekends or after school. It’s entirely not a bad idea, it seems that this has happened in the past, which led our parents and their parents and grandparents to tell them not to sit close to the TV. 

If you are aware, the starting of color television bought many issues like in the beginning several color model televisions emitted dangerous level and radiation and it was hazardous to the health if you sit close. This problem was solved quickly, it might be a myth but it still exists in every living room across the country. The same happened with viewing distance where many researchers gave us the ideal viewing distance which we must rely on and follow. 

*While recommended viewing distances vary, you can refer to the chart below to know the minimum and maximum acceptable THX range, THX maximum recommended distance, SMPTE maximum recommended distance, and the range of angles that you could be sitting from your screen.

  • Resolution- 4K
Screen Size (inches)THX acceptable range of viewing distance (ft)THX maximum recommended viewing distance (ft)SMPTE maximum recommended viewing distance (ft)
26”2.6(40°) – 4.1(26°)2.9(36° viewing angle)2.9(30° viewing angle)
32”3.2(40°) – 5.0(26°)3.6(36° viewing angle)4.3(30° viewing angle)
37”3.7(40°) – 5.8(26°)4.1(36° viewing angle)5.0(30° viewing angle)
40”4.0(40°) – 6.3(26°)4.5(36° viewing angle)5.4(30° viewing angle)
42”4.2(40°) – 6.6(26°)4.7(36° viewing angle)5.7(30° viewing angle)
46”4.6(40°) – 7.2(26°)5.1(36° viewing angle)6.2(30° viewing angle)
50”5.0(40°) – 7.9(26°)5.6(36° viewing angle)6.8(30° viewing angle)
52”5.2(40°) – 8.2(26°)5.8(36° viewing angle)7.0(30° viewing angle)
55”5.5(40°) – 8.7(26°)6.1(36° viewing angle)7.5(30° viewing angle)
58”5.8(40°) – 9.1(26°)6.5(36° viewing angle)7.9(30° viewing angle)
65”6.5(40°) – 10.2(26°)7.3(36° viewing angle)8.8(30° viewing angle)
70”7.0(40°) – 11.0(26°)7.8(36° viewing angle)9.5(30° viewing angle)
75”7.5(40°) – 11.8(26°)8.4(36° viewing angle)10.2(30° viewing angle)
80”8.0(40°) – 12.6(26°)8.9(36° viewing angle)10.8(30° viewing angle)
85”8.5(40°) – 13.4(26°)9.5(36° viewing angle)11.5(30° viewing angle)
Optimal TV viewing distance by its size, for DVD, 720p, 1080p and Ultra HD (previously known as 4K) resolutions.

This chart basically shows the upgrade in resolutions which becomes worth depending on size and distance to the TV.

Since resolutions found today are almost 4K (Ultra HD), all the data given above is according to it. Even another important factor to note is Visual acuity distance, which is the distance where your eyes can see the individual pixels. If the range is correctly followed then this won’t matter much because this factor can be avoided in viewing the screen at the maximum recommended distance.

To conclude, we recommend a field of vision about 30° of viewing angle at a fixed position. In general, we recommend you to buy a 4K TV because these days it is easily affordable and strain will not be caused by using 4K HD TV’s as mentioned before and even less resolution TV’s are hard to find these days. So to make a decision on which size TV to purchase, you can refer to the above chart. If your choice of size isn’t in your budget, then just buy the biggest screen in your budget. 

All these guidelines can be a part of your decision to buy a TV but even on other factors like the content you are watching and viewing conditions. I would really suggest everyone mount your TV in the prescribed angle which might help a lot and make us feel comfortable watching the TV. However, it’s your choice and comfort zone whatever the size and distance may be.

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