Optimal TV Viewing Distance

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Watching the TV from optimum viewing distance is very important to benefit from the most enjoyable TV viewing experience as well as to minimize any health hazard. This short article will help you (1) arrive at the right viewing distance for your current TV or (2) Make purchase decision on what TV size to buy based on your available room dimensions.

Viewing distance for HDTV

An HDTV is designed to provide realistic TV viewing experience than traditional TV technologies. The increase in dimensions and viewing angle that it offers make it best watched when set at the right distance and angle. Let us now find out the optimum viewing distance and viewing angle for your TV now (viewing angle, viewing distance and screen size are depicted below).

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Viewing Distance Calculator

To calculate the viewing distance of an HDTV you can use one of the following formulas.

  1. 2.5 times the TV Size for regular TV watching: The recommended viewing distance as per this formula is 2.5 times the TV screen size. For example, if your HDTV screen size is 42”, the recommended viewing seat is roughly 2.5 x 42” = 105” or 8 ft 9 in. This is suitable for general TV watching
  2. 30 degree Viewing Angle for movie experience: If you are looking at the viewing position for a more immersed movie watching experience, then the distance should be slightly smaller than the first formula. The 30 degree viewing translates to 1.6263 times the TV Size of a 16:9 or wide TV. For example, if your home theater boasts 56” size then the viewing distance would be 1.6263 x 56” = 91” or 7 ft 7 in
  3. 40 degree viewing Angle formula: The THX formula for the best cienematic experience suggests 40 degree viewing angle. This however is NOT recommended for regular TV watching or prolonged movie watching. The formula here is TV screen size divided by 0.84. For example, for the same 56” home theater, the 40 degree cinematic viewing distance would be 56 / 0.84 = 5ft 7in, approximately. However, I personally use the 2nd formula for my home theater

In addition, various TV manufacturers have published their own optimum TV watching distance formulas or ranges. Check out your TV manual to find out what your TV manufacturer recommendation is. You can also find more information on this wiki page.

TV height for Viewing

The optimal TV viewing height for comfortable TV watching is arrived at via mounting the TV with the top of the screen at your eye level. Please note that we are talking about prolonged and healthy TV watching height. If you are looking for short time movie watching experience at your projection TV or home theater, probably the best positioning is when the TV is mounted with its screen center at your eye level or slightly below it.