Prices are dropping for large screen HDTVs. Many people who purchase a new high definition television opt for buying the largest screen that they can afford. Frequently they are dissatisfied or unimpressed with the picture quality. That’s because you can buy a large screen television that is way too large for your viewing distance. If the screen is too large or you get too close, HDTV can become quite unimpressive.
While part of the idea behind building a home theater is to reproduce the move theater experience, if you are not careful you can easily overdo it and actually produce some undesirable results. When you get too close to a high definition image, video distortions, blemishes on actors and other defects become very prominent. When viewed at an optimum viewing distance, these issues tend to visually disappear. If you have not yet purchased a high definition television, go to a showroom and try getting close to a screen and you will see what I am talking about. When you back away from the screen, you will reach a point where the distortions and undesirable details vanish.
The general rule for high definition viewing is that you should not site closer than 1.5 times the diagonal measurement of the screen. The maximum distance for best viewing quality is about 3 times the diagonal measurement. Once you get beyond the maximum limit, the visual benefits of high definition start to drop off. This means that if your HDTV has a 60 inch screen, your best viewing distance should be in the range of 7.5 feet (90 inches) to 15 feet (180 inches).
First determine exactly where your high definition TV will be located. If you intend to mount in on a wall it will likely be slightly further way than if you mount in on a stand. Next, determine the “sweet spot”, which is the position directly in front of the screen where a viewer’s head will be located. Measure the distance between the two points and use that as a guideline to determine the optimal size range for your HDTV screen.
|Screen Diagonal||Minimum Distance||Maximum Distance|
|30″||3′, 9″||7′, 6″|
|42″||5′, 3″||10′, 6″|
|47″||5′, 10″||11′, 9″|
|50″||6′, 3″||12′, 6″|
|55″||6′, 9″||13′, 8″|
|60″||7′, 6″||15′, 0″|
When looking at HDTVs in the retailer’s showroom, view the screen at the approximate distance found in your home theater or TV room. Use the figures listed above and move closer to and further away from the screen until you find the quality to be most pleasing. Select a television screen that works best for the optimal viewing distance in your home theater.