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TV viewing distance, explanation, recommendations

Another factor determining the size of TVs and their popularity is viewing distance, from which you get a positive viewing experience. The larger the TV, the farther away you want to be when viewing. But at the same time, do not be too far away.

Don’t worry; the optimal viewing distance is challenging to calculate. There are two standards: 30-degree and 40-degree arc. Society of Motion Picture and Technical Engineers (SMPTE) recommends a 30-degree arc of your vision from where you plan to sit. This arc ensures that you sit far enough so the pixels on the screen are unnoticeable. 40-degree arc, recommended by THX, is a more modern approach. In 4K TVs, the pixels are indistinguishable, so you can sit closer.

Of course, in real life, no one measures the distance between the sitting place and the TV to get exactly a 40-degree perfect angle. But you’ll get the best viewing experience if you sit at a viewing angle between 30 degrees and 40 degrees.

Here’s the minimum (40-degree arc) and maximum (30-degree arc) recommended viewing distance for various TV sizes:

TV Size (inches)Min-max recommended distance (ft)Min-max recommended distance (m)

How we calculated the viewing distance for 30-degree arc and 40-degree arc? It’s calculated by formula: Viewing Distance = Screen Size/tan(30 degrees or 40 degrees). For 30-degrees, the value for tan(30) is 0.577. For tan (40) the value is 0.8391.

This calculations correspond with THX guidelines, which recommends to divide the screen size by 0.835.

Why do you need to know your viewing distance?

This may not seem logical. But when I started writing this article, I wondered why people would want to know the most popular TV size. Probably because you want to choose the best TV, the size that most people go for.

The problem is that it’s not enough for you to know that the most popular size is 65 inches, because it all depends on where and how you’re going to place it. Conventionally, TVs can be categorized into a solution up to 45 inches. And above 45. The first are suitable for the bedroom, kitchen and small rooms. And the latter require a large enough room. to place the TV.

One my friend has bought a beautiful 75-inch TV and put it to his bedroom. The viewing distance was just 6 feets. As you can see, the recommended minimum distance for such a TV is 7.5 feets, so the best option for him was to choose 55-inch TV, not a giant 75-inch TV.

Take a place where TV will be placed and calculate the distance

A good solution is to take the place where you plan to sit to watch TV and measure the distance to the place where you want to place the TV. Then multiply that distance by 0.835 and 12. This will give you the approximate size of the TV screen in inches so you can watch it from a viewing arch 40-degree.

For example, if my couch, after I measure the distance with a tape measure, is 7.3 feet away. I would simply multiply 7.3 by 0.835 by 12 and get 73.146. This is the best TV size to get a 40-degree viewing angle. The closest thing to this figure would be to choose a 75 inch TV. In that case, you can also sit a little farther away and your viewing angle will be closer to 30 degrees. This approach is sometimes called 1:1. For example, Digital Trends simply advises taking the distance from your seat to the TV and multiplying it by 10. Indeed, this gives a near-perfect TV size for 40-degree viewing.

The problem is that if you need to sit closer, for example because of a room rearrangement, you’ll have to sit too close and your eyes will get tired.

So I recommend that you don’t go for a 40-degree viewing angle, but initially consider the average TV size for a 30 to 40-degree angle. This will allow you to choose a more flexible TV size, so that you can sit a little closer to it in the future, or a little farther away. This method works best if you don’t know exactly where you will be sitting, but you know the approximate place. In order to find this TV, you need to take the distance from your intended seat and multiply it by 0.706 and then by 12. In the example with 7.3 feet, I would get 7.3 by 0.706 and by 12 which equals 61.8. The closest TV size would be 65 inch TV.

Vladislav Mashirenko
Vladislav Mashirenko
I'm currently a lead editor and owner of Splaitor. Also, I'm the chief editor at Tab-tv.com.



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