Finding the right distance to the TV – what matters most
Imagine sitting with your friends or family on a movie night together, gleefully reaching into a can of peanuts and sipping wine. Now, think about where you're sitting. Of course you have chosen the place you find most comfortable and of course you have chosen a place where you have a good view of the TV. After all, you want to see everything and not miss any important bits. So you intuitively chose your perfect seat. But in fact, there are some rules that you should follow when it comes to keeping the correct distance away from the TV. In the following article, we have compiled a list of these and many other facts around seating distance from the television.
The topic at a glance
- How far away should you sit from the TV?
- What factors determine distance from the TV?
- Is there a rule of thumb for the right distance?
- How much distance to a 65 inch TV?
- What's the right TV for a distance of approx. 5 metres?
- What's the right TV size for a 3 m distance?
- Overview for the perfect seat spacing for common TV sizes
- Can I calculate the correct seat pitch?
- Differences in resolution
- The right distance: a question of instinct
- Is a very high seat pitch always the right choice?
- What are the advantages of being the right distance from the TV?
- What special features need to be considered for the distance to a curved TV?
- Hang or place the television: which is better?
How far is enough and is closer, not perhaps better? Especially with 4K TVs, the principle really does apply: the closer, the better. But let's take things one step at a time. The question of the right distance is often asked. With the advent of ever higher resolution screens, old rules of thumb from the age of the tube have became obsolete. In fact, the right distance needs to consider several factors. The aim should always be to sit so far away that the pixels are no longer visible. But you should also be close enough that no important detail is lost. What is also important is what is being watched. The level of detail of an analogue TV broadcast is significantly lower than that of a 4K film. The screen diagonal also needs to be taken into account. This is because the pixels are also larger on a large TV. However, this is barely noticeable with 4K televisions, as they have such a high resolution. So with one of these, you can sit very close to the TV. Closer than HD TVs. In addition to all the technical factors, your should also question your own perception. It is important that the distance feels good to you.
Wichtig ist zudem, was geschaut wird. Der Detailgrad einer analogen Fernsehübertragung ist deutlich niedriger als der eines 4K-Films. Hinzu kommt noch die Bildschirmdiagonale, die es ebenfalls zu beachten gilt. Das liegt daran, dass bei einem großen Fernseher auch die Pixel größer sind. Bei 4K-Fernsehern fällt das allerdings kaum ins Gewicht, da sie besonders hoch aufgelöst sind. Bei einem solche kann man also auch sehr nahe am Fernseher sitzen. Näher als bei HD-TVs. Neben allen technischen Faktoren sollte man das eigene Empfinden ebenfalls hinterfragen. Es ist wichtig, dass man den Abstand auch selbst als gut erachtet.
In short, it's all a question of resolution!
If you watch analogue TV frequently, you should sit a little further away from the TV. The image has a very low resolution. Modern TVs can upscale the picture, but they cannot add picture detail.
For analogue TV, the following rule of thumb is recommended: Screen diagonal in centimetres multiplied by the factor 3.
Example: For a 40-inch TV, the screen diagonal is 101.6 centimetres. The calculation: 101.6 *3 = 304.8 centimetres
So you should sit about 3 metres away from the TV.
An HD image has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. You can move a little closer here. A seating distance of 2 metres is recommended.
You can get even closer to the 4K footage. Here, the resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels. Details can also be seen well up close. The multiplier shrinks here to 1.5.
If we now take the 40-inch TV, the calculation is: 101.6 x 1.5 = 152.4 centimetres. This results in a distance of 1.5 metres. Of course, you don't want to sit that close. So the 4K resolution is really only worth it if you have a really big TV.
So if you want to find out the right distance between your seat and the TV, you can use a few rules of thumb. Before buying a TV at home, you should first measure the available distance so that you can better decide which TV fits in your home.
The perfect seat spacing for sizes from 60 inches is as following:
|Full HD content
Medium-size televisions are usually between 40 to 55 inches. The models vary from Full HD to top class 4K televisions. When choosing a suitable TV, you should always consider the sound and picture quality as well as the resolution, and do a bit of calculating beforehand. It is worth measuring to find out the right distance.
Want to watch your favourite series or a sports broadcast and not miss a single detail? Then you might prefer a larger device. With a screen diagonal of 123 to 137 centimetres, a distance of 3 metres should be observed.
|2, 64 m
|1, 59 m
|0, 79 m
|2, 77 m
|1, 66 m
|0, 83 m
|3, 04 m
|1, 82 m
|0, 91 m
|3, 10 m
|1, 86 m
|3, 30 m
|1, 98 m
|0, 99 m
|3, 63 m
|2, 18 m
|1, 09 m
|3, 96 m
|2, 38 m
|1, 19 m
|4, 29 m
|2, 58 m
|1, 29 m
The correct seating distance can be calculated in relation to the picture diagonal by a rule of thumb. The distance should be about 2-3 times the diagonal of the picture. If you have a 40-inch TV, the distance should be between 2 and 3 metres. A 55-inch television requires a distance of 2.80 to 4.20 metres. At a distance of 3 metres, you should use a medium-sized TV with a screen diagonal between 40 inches and 55 inches.
There's a simple formula to be remembered for the future:
Picture diagonal in cm x 2.5 to 3 = distance
When considering the optimal distance between the TV and the seat, a few other points should also be taken into account. Eyesight is an important point, as is the resolution of the respective device. A person with poor eyesight naturally has to get closer to the screen to see the image sharply. This means that the higher your eye's own resolving power, the further away you can sit from the TV.
The resolution of the television is somewhat different. The higher the resolution here, i.e. the more pixels are displayed per image area, the closer the distance can be. If the resolution is low, the picture will look blurred and unnatural if you sit too close to it. The further you move away from the TV, the less you notice the poor resolution. That's why everyday devices such as a smartphone or tablet need a small viewing distance. These devices have a much higher resolution than TV sets.
With Full HD or an even higher resolution such as Ultra HD, i.e. 4K, a film can be watched even at a very close distance.
The following rule of thumb applies: The higher the resolution of the TV set, the smaller the distance required.
With all the factors and formulas, it is important to feel good yourself when finding the optimal distance. Instinct and perception should not be underestimated.
So in terms of perfect spacing, here are the recommendations:
- Find out the screen diagonal of the device
- Calculate the distance using the screen diagonal and read it off a table
- Measure distance
- Include the resolution of the TV in the distance selection
- The proof of the pudding is in the eating! Just let your gut decide what you like and how it feels.
- Enjoy the film!
Unfortunately, your house will never be a cinema. If the seat spacing is not suitable, you can't just move a few rows forward or back. Seating distance is therefore also regulated and limited by the size of the living room. A giant 75-inch TV may be considered a status symbol, but it's probably oversized for your home. A device that is too small can in turn cause frustration. Viewers often sit far too far away from the screen, which means that there is no home cinema feeling at all.
If you are looking for a new appliance these days, you will very often see very large appliances in shops. These make normal sizes look very small in direct comparison. This can lead you to buy a very large appliance, which is not suitable for your home. That's why you shouldn't buy a TV on the spur of the moment, but think about the right set in advance.
Easy on the eyes & ideal experience
Many parents know the problem of children sitting as close as possible to the TV set. You know that warning from childhood that you will ruin your eyes if you sit too close to the screen. But how harmful is it actually to sit so close to the device? In fact, sitting too close to a TV does not impair vision. Neither the sensory cells nor the optic nerve are affected or permanently damaged. However, it is still not the best option. You should also take breaks rather than watching television for hours on end. Constant watching strains the eyes and tires them quickly. Looking at the same area from a constant distance strains the eye muscles very one-sidedly. This causes you to blink less. This means that the tear fluid cannot be distributed ideally. This in turn irritates the eyes. This effect can also be observed when working at a monitor or playing video games. If the TV is particularly small, there is a risk that you have to squint your eyes and you miss important scenes of the film or sports programme.
A large TV also has advantages for a large family. Every member can see the screen well at a film evening without sitting too close to it. However, such a large device only provides a true experience in a living room. In a small bedroom or kitchen, such a large TV would dominate too much. Therefore, a smaller unit is more suitable for these rooms. A child's room should not have an overly large television set either.
TVs with a curved screen are clearly different from the classic design. They not only look more modern, but also offer a completely new viewing experience. Samsung and LG were the first manufacturers to offer a curved TV.
Seating distance with a Curved TV
There are no special considerations in terms of seat spacing. The same rules of thumb apply as for a non-curved TV. The optimal place can therefore be found by calculation or trial and error. One tip to mention here: With a curved TV, you should make sure that you do not sit too much to the side.
Today, you have different options for how and where you place your TV. Hanging on the wall is now an option. If you hang the TV on the wall, you have the advantage that the TV table can also be used as an additional shelf. When it comes to height, the following rules should be observed: About two thirds of the picture content should be below the line from the eyes to the TV. If you hang the TV too high, it can become strenuous for your neck over time. When it comes to distance, the familiar rules apply here too. However, it should be noted hat many programmes are still only available in HD. When in doubt, always opt for a little more seating distance.
An additional point that plays a role in the installation site is the light. Disturbing light sources should be avoided. Opposite windows should also have blinds or shades, otherwise there may be times when you can no longer see the screen properly. Whether it is better to stand the TV or hang is always a matter of individual preference.
The old rule of thumb that you can't sit too close to the TV has become obsolete since 4K technology. The content is very sharp, clear and detailed, even at close range. With these high-resolution televisions a distance of one metre is therefore also sufficient.
For other devices, you can follow the simple calculation: Screen diagonal x 2.5 to 3 = y
The letter Y always indicates the recommended distance.
This means that you first have to do a bit of measuring and calculating before you determine the right distance and the right seat. And in case of doubt, you should always listen to your feelings, because all the rules are useless if it doesn't feel right to you.