What size TV should I get?
What size TV do I need for my room? How big a TV should I buy?
Those are all common questions we are asked often. I’ve put together this detailed guide to answer exactly these questions for you.
You will no longer have to wonder what TV screen size is best. I will show you everything you need to know to calculate the perfect size TV for every room.
So what size TV do I need?
The long answer is a little more complicated and depends on the room, whether the display is mounted on a wall or not, the seating distance, the viewing angles, and the resolution of the display.
TV Screen Size – Bigger is Better?
Wonder no longer what size TV should I buy. The size of your TV should only be limited by the size of your television budget.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it. Bigger is better. At least, when it comes to a TV.
Why do you even have an HDTV? You want to feel you are at the championship game. Like you are in the stadium.
You want to lose yourself in the movie or TV show you’re watching. As if you were in the theater.
You want to feel immersed in the virtual world of the video game. Suspend reality, at least for a while, and feel embedded in the game.
You want the wow factor. You want to experience the excitement. You want emotional engagement. Isn’t that what watching high-definition television on the largest screen is all about?
We all want the big HDTV, but you don’t want the television to overwhelm your room. Consequently, you don’t want your TV screen size to appear under-developed for your space.
So how do you find the perfect TV screen size? In most situations, our experience has proven that you should choose the largest display your room location, viewing angle, viewing distance, and budget will allow.
Many times I’ve heard people wishing their screen was bigger, but rarely have I heard anyone wish it was smaller.
How To Measure TV Size
What is the screen size? The TV screen size is the most important measurement since retailers list new HDTVs by the size of the screen.
To accurately determine the screen size, hold the end of your tape measure in one corner and extend it diagonally across to the opposite corner. Ensure your tape measure is inside the TV screen frame, so you only measure the visible screen area.
That distance is your screen size or diagonal screen size.
Consider Room Size and TV Position?
You have a room where you want to put a new television. What size TV do I need for my room?
First, consider where you’ll put your new TV. As long as the room’s furniture is not permanently attached to the floor and you’re willing to move it, you have some flexibility in the size of the TV you can get.
Second, there’s also the question of how you plan to set up the TV. Are you using the included stand or use a wall-mount to hang it?
Wall Mount or No Wall Mount?
The first thing to decide is if you want it hung on the wall or not. You need to know this before you head to the store or shop online to buy your HDTV.
If you are placing the TV on a cabinet, it decreases the viewing distance and can cause some viewing angle issues. Also, the flat or curved screen size could be limited by the size of the cabinet.
A huge display could look awkward on a small cabinet, and weight limitations could restrict you. Conversely, a long cabinet might make a nice size television look small in contrast.
If you plan to use a stand mount, be sure to measure the cabinet’s length and width. Today’s flat screens are much lighter, but it’s still a good idea to know how much weight your cabinet can support.
The average flat screen weighs around 45 lbs. However, the weight increases and decreases rapidly based on display style and screen size. Edge-lit LEDs are the lightest models, with an Ultra HDTV being the heaviest.
A mid-sized LED could weigh as low as 25 lbs. On the other end of the spectrum, 60” plasma and Ultra HD resolution display an average of around 60-70 lbs.
Why is Viewing Distance Important?
The distance you generally sit from the screen has a huge impact on determining the best-sized TV for your room. If you want to sit closer, your viewing experience’s picture quality could be diminished by certain types of super-sized HDTVs.
The pixels will be smaller and closer together on a smaller screen, resulting in sharper picture quality. On a large screen, the pixels are bigger and may start to become visible the closer you come to the screen if the program source is not Blue-ray or HD.
How to Calculate the Viewing Distance
A simple formula for determining the maximum size TV based on how far you sit from the screen divides the viewing distance by 1.5. If your viewing area is 8 feet away from the screen, an HDTV in the 60” range will help you achieve the optimal cinematic experience.
The resolution of all new TVs is very high. Nearly all new screens are 4k Ultra-high-definition televisions. An increasing number are 8K resolution screens. The new 4K Ultra HDTVs have 4 times the resolution of the 1080p display. You’re in the range of 8 million pixels for any size screens. There is less fear of pixelation as you approach the television since the pixels are a lot smaller and grouped tighter.
A screen size that big overwhelms most people. Pixelation might not concern you, but you’re also well beyond an optimal viewing angle.
Ideal Screen Size and Viewing Distance Guide
Common Screen Size Distance Calculator
|Screen size||Viewing distance range for 1080p HDTVs|
|40″||5.0 – 6.75 feet|
|43″||5.4 – 7 feet|
|48″||6 – 8 feet|
|50″||6.3 – 8.3 feet|
|55″||6.9 – 9.2 feet|
|60″||7.5 – 10 feet|
|70″||8.75 – 11.7 feet|
|75″||9.4 – 12.5 feet|
|80″||10.0 – 13.3 feet|
|85″||10.6 – 14.2 feet|
|Screen size||Viewing distance range for 4K & 8K UHD TVs|
|40″||3.3 – 5.0 feet|
|43″||3.6 – 5.4 feet|
|48″||4 – 6 feet|
|50″||4.2 – 6.3 feet|
|55″||4.6 – 6.9 feet|
|60″||5.0 – 7.5 feet|
|65″||5.4 – 8.1 feet|
|70″||5.8 – 8.75 feet|
|75″||6.3 – 9.4 feet|
|80″||6.7 – 10.0 feet|
|85″||7.1 – 10.6 feet|
What Is Viewing Angle?
This is the angle created from your nose out to the left and right edges of the display. Viewing angle is a simple but crucial concept in selecting the best television size. Ideally, most of your peripheral vision is filled by the screen image.
The movie theater specification maxim sets 30-36 degrees as the optimal viewing angles. To achieve a “cinematic immersive experience,” most of all, you want a screen size that pushes the limits of your field of vision.
THX recommends a display that fills 40 degrees of your field of vision, while SMPTE recommends 30 degrees. To achieve the “immersion effect,” we recommend pushing the limit of the larger screen sizes based upon your viewing distance.
It’s Time To Buy A New HDTV
You’ve done it! You now have the concepts and tools to determined the perfect size TV for your room.
It’s great to understand the key rules, but every situation and room is different. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and taste.
If you want to get an idea of how well your new TV will blend in with your space, Samsung has a great online tool to get an idea of how different size TVs will appear in your room. Take a picture of the wall area your TV will hang or stand from the desired viewing distance (try to include the entire wall).
First of all, before you get started, measure the height and length of the wall, plus the viewing distance. You can choose wall or stand mounted. Then you can select different size Samsung HDTVs to show how each size will appear in your room.
The only thing you have left to decide is what type of screen you are going to get. UHD, LED, LCD, 4K, 8K, or 3D? Flat Panel or Curved? What brand? LG, Samsung, Vizio, Sony, or TCL?
- Determine your budget
- Measure the length and height of the wall
- If cabinet mounted, measure the length and width of the cabinet
- If cabinet mounted, determine the weight limit of the cabinet
- Measure the distance between the screen and where you will normally sit
- Decide the type of TV
- Study the chart as a guide for the ideal size range
Most of all, your TV size and perfect viewing distance are ultimately based on personal preference. I always tend to err on the big side because that’s my preference.
If the best size for your room is outside your budget, buy the biggest size TV you can find at an affordable price. Check out our comprehensive tv buying guide to find the best time to buy a tv.
So what size TV did you buy? Did you buy a TV for watching movies, sports, or playing video games? Please share it with me in the comments below.