Size of TV vs Distance to View It

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Updated September 16, 2022

Whether you’re buying a new TV or just moving your current one as you rearrange your living room, you should consider what the suitable distance to TV vs size ratio for your model is to avoid vision issues. For example, you may notice eye strain if you sit too close to even the best TV, which can lead to developing a headache.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Follow your brand’s recommendations for the proper viewing distance from the TV.
  • Every type of resolution and TV technology has its own recommended viewing distance.
  • A standard definition TV requires that you sit further away than a 4K model.

Read on to learn more about the recommended viewing distance for TVs of different types and the effects of sitting too close. Then, if you are interested in buying a new TV, check out our article on a curved TV vs a flat 4K one. Additionally, you can read about the differences between 4K vs UHD TVs.

Insider Tip

Higher resolution televisions do not require as much distance from the screen when viewing.

Finding the Size of TV Screen Vs the Viewing Distance

When you purchase a new TV, you must consider the seating distance for each size and how well the TV will fit in your space. To determine the optimal length factor and immersive experience, figure out what type of TV you want to use. For example, do you want a 4K LCD vs a DLP TV vs a plasma TV? Alternatively, if you are needing a display for a business, you may want to read our comparison of a conference room TV vs a projector.

Viewing distance directly affects your eye health and the clarity of the picture on your TV screen. However, higher TV resolutions allow you to sit closer to your TV.

Short Viewing Distance

A good rule of thumb for the optimal viewing distance from a high-resolution TV is about one and a half times the vertical screen size of the TV. However, some high-quality TVs allow you to sit closer to the screen without harming your vision. Typically, these devices have higher resolutions and higher clarity than other screens with the same vertical screen size.

A 4K resolution TV features about 4,000 pixels across the horizontal axis. The pixel count exceeds eight million total, which is about four times the pixels included in a high-definition TV. As a result, our eyes can merge these tiny pixels into one image at a much closer seating distance than a standard TV.

Medium Viewing Distance

In general, you should sit twice as far from an HD TV as a 4K model, or three times the vertical screen size of the TV. High definition TVs (HD TVs) feature 1080 pixels along the horizontal axis, amounting to roughly two million total pixels.

As the TV size increases, the portion of the screen covered by individual pixels increases as well. Again, the human eye must then combine these pixels into one image. But the viewer still has to sit further away than they would with a 4K TV.

Long Viewing Distance

Experts recommend that the seating distance from a standard definition TV be about six times its vertical length. These models typically have 720 pixels horizontally, meaning larger screen sizes become more pixelated than 4K or HD TVs at closer distances.

However, standard definition TVs have become less common. So, you may wonder if you still need to sit far away from any TV during your viewing experience. In short, you must sit far enough away that you don’t feel any ill effects, and the largest screen models should still be viewed from long distances.

Eye Safety Guidelines

Always adjust the spacing as you see fit, but watch out for eye strain. The estimates given are only a guide. You most likely don’t need to measure the distance. If you feel too far at six times the height, as stated in the guide, you can move closer. The opposite is true as well. Additionally, while it is not something that most people think or even know about, the TV format can affect your picture quality. You can read more about this with our comparison of NTSC vs PAL.

Warning

You may need more space for an HD television, but not as much as with an SD TV.

F.A.Q.S

How does distance impact picture quality?

Distance provides our eyes the ability to merge the pixels into one image. Just like when you complete a puzzle, you can see each piece or pixel from close up but not farther away.


How are TVs measured?

TVs are measured diagonally across the screen, meaning from the upper corner on one side to the lower corner on the other.


Why do screens cause eye strain?

The effort required to see the screen causes some strain, but you also should consider the lighting in the room. If you prefer dim lighting, bright light can cause issues, especially if it reduces the number of times you blink.



STAT: With large, HD screens being commonplace in most living rooms, space is your friend when preventing eye strain. (source)

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