We've all heard the saying, "Size matters," but how does it apply to TVs? In this article, we'll also discuss why TVs aren't always the same size as their screens and how viewing distance plays a big role in how big or small a TV feels.
Inches and diagonal measures are often the most popular ways to describe TV size. While some manufacturers employ diagonal dimensions, many use inch sizes. The distinction between these two is that although inches measure both horizontally and vertically, diagonals measure from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner.
TV sizes like 50 inches, 65 inches, and 75 inches refer to the screen's diagonal measurement rather than the actual size of the TV. Despite being a commonly used measurement, the diagonal screen size is not the main element in evaluating whether a specific size TV can fit in a specific area.
A 50-inch TV, for instance, will sit comfortably on a wall that is at least 43.6 inches wide and 24.5 inches high and has a diagonal size of 50 inches. Although its screen size (i.e., its diagonal measurement) isn't actually more than 48 inches across, if your walls are only 28 inches wide and 22 inches high, that same 50-inch television won't fit on them since it will be too enormous.
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The ideal TV viewing distance depends on the size of your room and furniture placement, but it’s generally between 1.5 to 3 times the diagonal length of your TV. This can be adjusted based on your preferences and the layout of your room. For example, if you have a large wall behind your sofa, then you may want to move closer so that you don’t have to strain your neck while still being able to see all parts of the screen clearly.
If you’re planning to use your TV as a monitor for your computer or gaming console, then you should position it so that the top of the screen is at eye level when sitting in front of it. This means that if you’re taller than average, you might want to invest in an adjustable desk to raise or lower the height of your screen as needed.
The viewable area (also known as the Screen Size) refers to how much of your screen you can actually see when sitting at a certain distance from your TV. The viewable area will vary based on where you're sitting and what type of screen you have - but typically speaking, it will be smaller than 100%.
This is generally sound advice, but those who watch movies mostly on TV might benefit from moving closer in order to have a more cinematic experience. The THX suggestion and the SMPTE "reference" position for movie theaters are both around 40°. However, the minimum angle of vision works well for most applications, and most people should feel comfortable sitting at a distance where the screen occupies 30 degrees of their horizontal field of vision.
It's also important to keep in mind that this perspective presupposes a single viewer seeing the TV directly at eye level. It's better to use this as a general guideline because not all living room arrangements will perfectly match these requirements.
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