When designing new home almost every client we come across has a need for a new TV in their home. Whether it’s a Flat Panel LCD, Flat Panel Plasma, Rear Projection TV or Front Projection, the question of size always comes up. Most people tend to want to buy the biggest TV they can afford, however I strongly discourage you from doing that. If you buy a 50″ flat panel TV, and your are sitting 4′ from the front of the TV, the image will look pixelated (even if you get a top of the line 1080p TV), and you will find that you have to move your head to see the full image.
To help you out in calculating the correct size, I have pulled together a few tips to help you out.
- First off, here is a basic table to help you determine the appropriate size:
|Viewing Distance (ft)||Min Size (in)||Max Size (in)|
- If you really want to determine the appropriate size, viewing angle, etc. there is an excellent resource over here at this website where Carlton Bale (a Finance guru with a passion for tech) has come up with an excellent spreadsheet for calculating the appropriate TV size and viewing angle. What I like about his calculations is that he takes into account the distances at which all resolutions look the same which is an important measurement when you are trying to decide between a 720p, 1080i, or 1080p set. A few years back, there was a large price difference between the different resolutions. Today, I recommend to all of my clients to get 1080p.
- Here is a link to another great online calculator to check out.
- When measuring the viewing distance for your room, make sure to measure from the front of the screen, to the position your head will be located when watching the TV. If you measure from one wall to another, the distance will be at least 1′ too long.
- Pick the appropriate size that fits your budget, if the table says you should be using a 34″ TV, and you can get a better value by going to a 36″, go with the TV that makes more sense for your situation.
- Purchase your TV from a store with a return policy that fits your needs. Amazon.com has a great return policy, so does Costco.
- Select a TV Stand or Wall mount that places the TV at a comfortable height.
- Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT purchase your cables from a major electronics retailer, it’s a quick way to get ripped off. Major electronics retailers make a huge margin on cables. I’ve seen 6′ HDMI cables going for $100+ versus this 6ft HDMI cable from Amazon.com for around $6. Purchase your cables online, and spend the money I saved you to rent a few movies from Netflix or Hulu.com to watch on your new TV.
- Stay tuned for another article I am going to write up on finding the right size 4k Ultra HDTV for your room.
I hope that you found this guide helpful. Please leave comments if you have found any other useful charts for calculating TV sizes, or if you have any recommendations for a great TV. Also, if you are looking for any advice on how to furnish the rest of your living room or family room, check out our all of the interior design services we offer.