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How Far do you sit from your HDTV - pick the closest in terms of screen size

  • <1.2 X

    Votes: 5 2.3%
  • 1.4 X

    Votes: 9 4.1%
  • 1.6 X

    Votes: 14 6.3%
  • 1.8 X

    Votes: 8 3.6%
  • 2.0 X

    Votes: 53 24.0%
  • 2.2 X

    Votes: 33 14.9%
  • 2.4 X

    Votes: 24 10.9%
  • 2.6 X

    Votes: 16 7.2%
  • 2.8 X

    Votes: 11 5.0%
  • >3 X

    Votes: 48 21.7%

How Large an HDTV to Buy (Revisited).

17614 Views 40 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  cfraser

I just read your article below:

The chart seems to indicate some viewing distances that are a lot "farther" than many of us recommend on this forum (The Digital Home FAQs for example, where I recommend 2-2.5x Screen size).

Although this subject is certainly open to discussion and personal preference, I believe that 20' from a 60" TV for SD material is very, very conservative.

I sit quite comfortably at 11' from my 61" TV watching SD (and HD) and some people sit closer still (people having argued that I'm being too "conservative" in the FAQ).

People may be intrested in the following article from S&V discussing eye resolution, which is a totally different matter.

Also, in reality, few people move their seats for different material. They usually sit in the same spot whether it's HD or SD, so the "conservative" distances for SD are certainly too far for good (theatre-like?) viewing of HD material.

Edit - poll added.

(120" (10') from a 60" TV = 2.0 X, remember 12" to a foot ;) )
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Typing my reply sitting 10' (because of the angle) from a 61" plasma while the boy watches the Simpons in SD. It's SD, who cares what it looks like. :)

Normal viewing distance is ~9', which is most excellent for HD.
I'm 12' away from my 44" DLP.
I am planning on getting a 60" RPLCD. I will be sitting around 14' away. I have read all of the topics on this, but just to confirm...60" sounds like an ideal tv size to purchase?
At 14', if you can afford larger, then you could certainly consider a 65-70". Try it on at a store.
SD sucks on a HDTV at any distance...

I'm 8' from a 46" 1080i CRT and at times it seems too close for poorly authored DVD's and some HDTV (overly compressed) TV shows.

I vote + 2X.
Wow, 110 hits, but only 7 votes. Pretty poor voter turnout. ;)
If you look at the Sound and Vision charts, they are even MORE conservative than mine. For a 50" 720p they have you at 10 feet for HD and about 18 feet for DVD. Mine were 8 feet and 12 respectively.

I used several charts for my input (including S&V) as well as input from folks at a large CE company.

The problems with many of those charts is they aim to be "too definitive".

The reality is that not all HDTV sets are equal, most folks don't all sit at one distance, they watch different source material, they sit at different viewing angles, everyone has a different level of visual acuity and finally there is a "comfort factor".

My experience that people want guidelines and they are intrigued by the fact that different source material will affect the optimal viewing distance.

As noted

Please note that the optimal viewing distances listed in the chart below are a guideline. Individual preferences will vary and since not all your television viewing will be in HD and SD, you will likely have to make some type of trade-off when choosing screen size
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Tv is a Toshiba 52HMX84. It's a 52" DLP.

X2 viewing distance exactly for me at 104"

HD looks great from there.
Digital SD looks very good.
Analog SD looks good.

Sometimes the digital SD looks so good that it's hard to tell it isn't HD. But this tv has a reputation for being above average at displaying SD. ymmv. With the max viewing distance possible being not much more than the 104", and only 10 HD channels available here due to limited bandwidth, getting a tv that was good at SD was a priority for me.

I certainly wouldn't want to be sitting 17.5' away from the tv as per the chart. That would be defeating the purpose of getting a large screen tv in the first place.
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Good calculator:

I sit 7 feet from a 36" 4x3. For a wide screen I would keep the same distance for a 42-50" TV (more or less same vertical as my TV). I did some checks in store, for example a 60" SXRD looks great at 8-9 feet.
If you have a chair you can move back and forth that would be ideal. :p I have moved a chair up on occation. I sit 10ft from a 50inch 720. Probally to close for sd TV, too far for theater experience movie HD TV. Just right for DVD and a just a little far for HD TV shows.
Now we have two pieces of information to use as guidance:
- Sound & Vision table (what 57 linked to in post #1)
- SMPTE/THX recommendation (what adit linked to in post #10)

The first puts a floor on how close you can sit to the digital image,
the second puts a ceiling how far you can sit and still get the "movie theater" experience (about 1.7X the image width).

If you overlay those two, nothing with a resolution of less than 1080p makes the cut! And so should be the feed.

Stop looking for 720p TVs/PJ! 1080p is the only way to go.

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I have a front projector. I sit 10 feet from an approx 85" screen. I find this perfectely fine, even for SD (good feed though) and DVD. But I mostly watch (90%) HD stuff.

So I guess my ratio is around 1.4. For a good projector I think this is great. And all visitors to my home agree, that they never thought a screen so large and so close would look so good!

I sit about 10-11 feet from a 7 foot screen. I find this very comfortable and it actually is very close to the THX recommend viewing distance. Since the source changes and my chair is not mounted on a track I went for the most comfortable viewing angle when I set it all up.
Jake said:
I sit about 10-11 feet from a 7 foot screen. I find this very comfortable...
Have and feel exactly the same...:D

The rule of thumb used by the HDTV industry types is 3x screen height for 720p and 2x for 1080p.
perform23 said:
I am planning on getting a 60" RPLCD. I will be sitting around 14' away. I have read all of the topics on this, but just to confirm...60" sounds like an ideal tv size to purchase?
57 is right that you could probably go bigger. I plan on doing the exact same as seating is 14 ft away and I looked at a friends setup with same size and distance(61" @14ft) and its great......definately would not want to go smaller.
perform23, I'll go back to the chart.

At 14 feet, you could probably go as big as 70" if all you do is watch HD. For SD, you're going to be at 25 to 30 feet before you hit the visible resolution limit hence why 25 feet is on the chart.

Does that mean you have to be at 25 feet. NO - it simply means that inside of 25 feet, you may be disappointed because you will be able to see the inherent flaws in the picture.

If the bulk of your television viewing is SD then at 14 feet, most people will be disappointed in a 70" screen
The other aspect is quality of the television. This discussion ignores the fact that not all HDTV's are equal. Frankly. I wouldn't waste my money on a LCD flat panel as any side by side comparision quickly shows that a good quality plasma has superior black levels, wider viewing angles, less image retention etc.

For those who are thread crapping, let me re-iterate that the chart is a guideline based on reviewing visual acuity charts and discussions with folks in the industry.

The 25 foot is consistent with S&V recommendation and the viewing calculator that was recommended in a prior post.

Some Final Random Thoughts

Most HDTV's sold aren't even used to watch HD so picture quality for SD and DVD are more critical to the bulk of consumers.

Most people don't understand that the signal source plays a large role in picture quality and are deceived in showrooms because all they see is HD signals and get home and are deeply disappointed. This is NOT anecdotal evidence.

In addition, studies by the CE industry show that a lot of people simply don't subscribe to the bigger is better theory of television. Women and many men simply find large televisions off putting and since many flat panels and rear projectors are NOT in dedicated home theatres.

Finally in most homes, not everyone is watching from the same distance. Most guys measure from the Tv to the back of the couch, forgetting that many sit in a side chair, on an angle or even on the floor in front of the tube.
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Simmer said:
The rule of thumb used by the HDTV industry types is 3x screen height for 720p and 2x for 1080p.
Never heard about using the picture height for distance calculations.
Do you have a link handy?

I measured while sitting down at the TV. I sit 100" from my 50" HDTV, which is just a little over 8 feet and I love being that close.
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