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Choosing the right size of the best TV isn’t simply a matter of selecting the largest size screen available on your budget- the size of your room and the distance from which you’ll be viewing, as well as the weight of your TV, if you’re planning on wall-mounting, are some of the factors you’ll need to consider. Knowing how to choose the TV screen size and weight will give you the best viewing experience possible and may even save you money.
There are a number of ways to calculate and determine the optimal specs for your TV, and no special tools or experience will be required, so you needn’t be intimidated by the process.
First, you’ll want to decide what resolution to go for. Increasingly, 4K is the standard, offering superior realism and image detail to 1080p or regular HD, without the often-prohibitive cost of 8K-capable screens. 4K screens are great for sports, movies, and other kinds of premium content that benefit from increased detail, but for casual TV watching- news, network television, older films, and the like- 1080p will still be more than sufficient for many. Just remember that you may have to figure out whether extended warranties are worth it for TVs if you wish to get an expensive or larger TV.
8K of course offers exceptional, next-generation image detail, and makes the most of the largest screen sizes, but it’s more than most people really need for an immersive experience- especially given the extra cost and considerable product size. Additionally, if you are concerned about energy use you wouldn’t want an 8K TV as it is going to use a lot more power than 4K or 1080p. We also have an article on how much power TV uses if you are curious.
Lastly, the optimal viewing distance for your TV can change based on the image resolution, since the higher the resolution, the closer you’ll be able to sit without experiencing pixelization. Alternatively, if you are noticing color problems with your TV there could be a different issue than non-optimal viewing distance. To learn more, check out why my TV screen is pink.
For the most part, experts recommend viewing angles of no more than 30 degrees- and ideally close to 15-20 degrees for normal HD and Super HD viewing at any distance. This range of viewing angles ensures an immersive and comfortable viewing experience with a lower chance of chronic eye strain for regular viewing.
Keeping these numbers in mind when considering where your TV will be set up or put on a wall mount will ensure the most comfortable and vision-safe viewing experience.
For the most part, experts recommend viewing angles of no more than 30 degrees.
The first rule of thumb to remember when it comes to screen size is that TV screens are sized diagonally- meaning, for example, that at 55″ screen will be 55″ from corner to corner, but the viewable screen itself will be more like 49″ wide and 29″ tall. If you are curious, you can read more about what sizes TVs come in.
Understanding this, you’ll then want to consider the viewing distance you’ll be setting your TV up at and the resolution of your TV. While the largest screen size possible may seem ideal, a 70″ 4K screen viewed too closely will increase eye strain, decrease immersion, and may not allow for an optimal viewing angle, effectively reducing picture quality.
Here’s a general formula for what can be considered ideal viewing distance per TV resolution and screen size:
So, for example, if you’ve decided that a 42″ TV is a good size for your room and you’ve settled on a resolution of 1080p, you’ll want to make sure you can accommodate a viewing distance of 71.4″ or thereabouts. Using this formula and taking the size of your room into account, you’ll easily be able to decide on the right screen size if you work backward from those numbers.
Paying attention to the weight of the TV you purchase will primarily be a concern if you intend to wall mount it, and secondarily for some safety reasons if you’ve got kids or pets in the house- though the latter issue can be dealt with effectively with TV safety straps, which mitigate the danger of tip-over accidents. Such accidents may prompt you to fix a broken tv screen, which can be quite costly.
If you do plan on a wall mount set-up for your TV, you’ll want to take into account what the maximum weight limit drywall studs can typically support are, and also make sure the wall mount you buy is capable of supporting the TV’s weight as well.
Most modern homes have drywall walls and a wall mount must always be installed into weight-bearing wall studs in order to ensure a secure attachment.
Generally speaking, if attached with multiple screws that are #4 size or larger and at least 1″ long, drywall studs are capable of supporting a product weight of around 100 pounds. Make sure if you plan on a wall mount that the TV you choose doesn’t exceed that weight and that the wall mount kit you buy is capable of supporting at least the weight of your TV.
What is the viewing angle?
Viewing angle refers to the angle measured from your nose to the left and right edges of the screen- a viewing angle of about 30 degrees is recommended by most manufacturers for the most comfortable and eye-strain-reducing experience.
What size TV should I get?
That depends on several factors- for example, the largest screen size possible isn’t necessarily the best option if you’ll be viewing 1080p content at a relatively short viewing distance since you’ll experience increased pixelization. A balance of viewing distance, resolution, screen size, and of course, room size will give you the best viewing experience.
Should I wall mount my TV?
If your room is on the smaller size and you’d like a large screen size and resolution while still maintaining optimal viewing distance and viewing angle, you might consider a wall mount set up for your TV.
STAT: Drywall studs can securely hold weights of about 100lbs of properly installed wall mount equipment (source)