TV shows are increasingly becoming more elaborate and cinematic every year. Films are also raising the stakes, while streaming services are publishing AAA-quality products meant to be seen exclusively from the comfort of your own home. As you try to find a way to optimize your viewing experience, it can be hard to figure out if a bigger TV is better, or if it will work in your living room. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to determine what size your TV ought to be.
Know what the measurements mean
Understanding what you’re looking for and knowing how to quantify it is vital. In this case, the first and most basic step to finding the perfect size TV is knowing how they’re measured. Just looking at a listing at a local store or online retailer, you’ve almost certainly seen screens measured at 32 inches, 55 inches, 65 inches or more. It’s important to know that screen size and resolution are measured differently. Resolution is listed like a bar graph: width then height. In contrast, screen measurements are taken diagonally. So, the 65-inch TV you’re looking at isn’t 65 inches wide; it’s 65 inches from one corner to the opposing corner.
Distance, orientation and resolution matter
Now that you know how to effectively read the numbers next to your dream TV, it’s time to consider the layout of your living room, bedroom or wherever you plan to put your new screen. It would be a shame — not to mention a financial headache — to set up a brand-new TV, invite friends and family to join you for a screening of your favorite movie, only to realize that the screen size doesn’t jive with the room. If you went all-out and bought an 8K, 292-inch TV for your one-bedroom apartment, you might find it hard to focus, and even harder to follow the action.
There is a simple way to figure out how big your TV ought to be: your viewing distance. Amazon recommends that your viewing distance, in inches, should be double the diagonal measurement of your TV’s inch count. So, if your entertainment center is seven feet, or 84 inches, from your couch, the optimal screen size would be 42 inches. As curved-screen TVs continue to grow in popularity, it’s also important to make sure that the television is viewable from all areas of the room, so nobody’s view is cut off or distorted.
You should also consider the resolution of your new screen. In short, the higher the resolution, the closer you can sit to the screen before you begin to see the individual image pixels. If your TV is a standard HD (1920 by 1080 pixels) you’ll have to sit farther away from the screen than if you purchased a 4K UHD TV (3840 by 2160 pixels) or an 8K TV (7680 by 4320 pixels).
No matter the size of your home, there is a TV set perfect for you, your family and the friends you invite over. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to find the ideal screen to support family movie nights or a sports party. It’s the best way to stay home and still get that great, cinematic experience.