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Find the Right Size TV for Your Room

by Paul Sanders

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Large widescreen HDTV across from a couch

It's exciting to upgrade your entertainment system with a new HDTV. The superior picture quality of a high-definition television will bring your TV and movie experience to a whole new level. Once you know what type of TV you want for your home theater, you'll need to decide on what size TV will work best for your space. Here are a few tips to help you match your TV screen size to your home theater room for the best viewing experience.

TV Sizes by Viewing Distance:

  1. Viewing distance: The largest factor to consider when choosing a TV is how far away you, the viewer, will be from the screen. You'll need to find a balance between being too far away to see detail and being so close that you start to notice pixels on the TV screen. HDTVs have such a superior screen resolution that you can actually sit a lot closer than you would with an older tube television. So it's safe to err on choosing a larger size screen if you're unsure about the viewing distance.

  2. Distance calculation: A good rule-of-thumb is to sit at a distance equal to two or three times the size of your TV screen. You can start with the distance between your home theater seating and the location where your TV will be and use that to calculate the screen size. Here's a chart with some size ranges:

  3. Viewing Distance Screen Size (in.)
    4 ft. (48 in.) 19-32
    6 ft. (72 in.) 24-36
    8 ft. (96 in.) 32-48
    10 ft. (120 in.) 40-60
    12 ft. (144 in.) 48-72
    15 ft. or more 60+
  4. Viewing angle: Another important thing to consider when selecting a TV is the angle you'll be viewing it at. At too extreme an angle, some flat screen TVs will appear less clear. You can reduce this effect by ensuring that your home theater seating is placed within 30 to 40 degrees from directly in front of the TV. You may also want to avoid placing your TV too high above eye-level so you don't have to tilt your head back to see the screen.

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