Just as the technology for televisions has changed, the rules for watching one have shifted also. The rule with standard-definition televisions used to be that viewers should sit at a distance of 3-6 times the screen size from the TV. Now, with the glorious innovation of HDTVs you can sit closer to a larger TV without noticing the pixilation on the screen—slighting the original rule and allowing viewers to sit only 1.5-3 times the screen size away from their HD display. When it comes to choosing the right size TV there are a couple factors one must look at and a couple things to consider before heading to the store.
First, always measure—don’t “guestimate”—just measure. If you haven’t measured your possible TV viewing area and you are currently headed to the store, it better be to buy a tape measure. Measure the room or rooms you will be putting you new (or old) TV in and make sure there is adequate space for placement and viewing. Another thing to consider is what type of programming you’ll be watching and when you’ll be watching it. Daytime TV lovers may want to buy a smaller, LCD HDTV because they tend to do better with glare. Think about your television use and the layout of your abode before diving into a new TV set—all factors are relevant when choosing an appropriate TV size.
Here are some other things to consider…
Where you place your TV should be determined by couple factors: lighting, size of the room, size of the TV and personal preference. These of course are all pretty relative to a person’s specific situation. If your bedroom is larger than the average bedroom then you can look at larger TV sizes—this is a personal choice. Also, if you like sitting in the front row of movie theaters and don’t mind the image distortion and intense pixilation, then you may also want to purchase a larger TV for smaller spaces. Ultimately the choice is yours.
We recommend a larger television, roughly 36-inches and up, for a main room display. The room where you entertain, or that facilitates more people, should have the largest TV in it. For bedrooms, we recommend 36-inches and under. Bedrooms are usually more intimate and compact settings, allowing for smaller screen sizes. When you place your TV in the room, remember that with most TVs (except a front projector), it’s best to have a little bit of light shining on the wall behind it. If curtains and blinds are too expensive and inconvenient for you—try a little furniture shifting in the room– you’re bound to find a winning layout. For flat-panel TVs we recommend either using a slim stand or mounting it on a wall for optimal use of space. For standard analog TVs, remember the bigger the screen the deeper the TV so always plan an appropriate amount of space for them.
Screen Sizes and Display Types
We believe that bigger is better—with all of the advanced features of today’s LCD, LED LCD and plasma HDTVs, we can confidently say that a bigger TV will always be more enjoyable than a smaller one. Now, we’re not saying go out there and buy the largest most expensive HDTV you can find—that’s just not practical—but if you’re worried about picture quality and room settings, then take a listen: Flat-panel LCDs can range anywhere from 5 inches to more than 72 inches diagonal, plasmas are between 37 and 103 inches, and rear-projection sets start at 37 inches and go to as large as 70 inches.
A good rule to buy by is that for 16:9 (HDTV) TVs you should aim for a viewing distance that is 2 – 4 the diagonal of the TV. If you currently have a 32″ 4:3 TV and you’re looking to upgrade to wide-screened HDTV but still want that same distinct square ratio, you’ll need a 40″ 16:9 TV to get roughly the same-sized 4:3 picture. Since most people have made the switch to HDTVs the majority of the programming is available in 16:9 as well.