TVs are getting bigger in size, more advanced and more affordable as the years go by. But if you’re thinking about upgrading your TV you’ll want to consider one important thing – viewing distance.
While it’s tempting to just purchase the biggest TV on offer, sitting too close to a large screen (particularly an LED) can lead to eye strain and fatigue. To avoid this you’ll really want to match your television with the space you have on offer.
There are a few schools of thought on what the optimal viewing distance from your TV should be and to determine the best we did some research.
How close should you sit to your TV?
General guidelines for viewing distance from the TV industry vary dependant on resolution, content and size.
For a 4K TV, Sony recommends that the distance you sit be 1.5 times the vertical height of the television. So, if your TV is 49 inches tall, you’ll want to sit at least a metre away.
Sitting at this distance means your eyes won’t be able to distinguish individual pixels, which creates a more realistic image.
This alters slightly for HD televisions, where Sony recommends a distance of three times the screen size. For standard-definition TVs, six times the vertical height of the screen is recommended.
Home theatre experts, THX, have a different opinion saying that you should divide the distance between your couch and TV by 0.835. Unfortunately, for us metric users, you’ll need to convert this into inches to get the relevant screen size.
By these measurements, two metres from your TV comes out to roughly 78 inches which equates to a 90-inch TV.
If you’re looking for an easier way to judge viewing distance rather than whipping out your measuring tape, Hisense’s product specialist, Chris Mayer, gave us a simpler option.
“If you’re standing far enough away from the TV and you don’t have to tilt your head to see the left and right of the image, then that’s a good size TV. As soon as you have to start turning your head to see an image you’re going to get viewer fatigue, and you’ll have an issue.”
“Physically going into a store and figuring out how far you can stand back from [a TV] is what works for me.”
You have a lot of leeway when it comes to choosing a TV size and thankfully, manufacturers like Hisense have a range of TV models and sizes to suit basically every environment.
But what if you’re going for the ultimate home cinema set-up and are looking at buying a projector or laser TV?
Laser TVs can reach massive sizes, with Hisense alone producing a whopping 100-inch screen, but the viewing distance rules differ slightly.
“It’s a bit different with laser TVs because we light them indirectly. You can sit closer to a laser TV than you would a normal LED TV because you won’t get as much fatigue,” Chris said, “the light is bouncing up and back at you rather than straight into your eyes.”
These rules are more like guidelines and there is no viewing distance that’s mandated for health or safety by the government – although, like any screen, you should take regular breaks from it.
Picking the perfect television is already a hard decision and, while viewing distance is important, we’re cognisant of the fact it may not alter your decision too much. But it’s worth considering, still.