TV Size and Viewing Distance Calculator

Calculate How Big of a TV You Need and How Far to Sit

Find out how big of a TV you should get and how far away you should sit using our TV viewing distance calculator. If you already have a TV then enter the TV size to find out how far you should place your seating. If you are looking for a TV, then enter the distance from your seating position to the TV to determine which size TV you should purchase.

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How Big of a TV Should You Get:

55" - 80"

an 80" TV has a viewing angle of 39.9° at this distance which is closest to the THX recommended viewing angle of 40°
See our favorite 82" TV for 2018
a 70" TV has a viewing angle of 35.3° at this distance which is closest to the THX recommended max viewing angle of 36°
See our favorite 70" TV for 2018
a 60" TV has a viewing angle of 30.5° at this distance which is closest to the SMPTE recommended max viewing angle of 30°
See our favorite 60" TV for 2018

PRO TIP:
Mounting your TV is more affordable than you might think
See our preferred mount for 32" - 70" TVs

Amazon offers TV mounting and installation!


The Science in Choosing a TV Size

Choose the right sized TV based on viewing distance for an immersive viewing experience

Believe it or not, there is actually a science to choosing how big of a TV you should get for the optimal viewing experience. There are several factors to consider when selecting a TV size, notably distance and viewing angle, resolution, and the type of content you’ll be viewing.

Our calculator takes these into consideration and makes several size recommendations based on the seating distance based on these considerations.

Distance and Viewing Angle Determines TV Size

One of the main determining factors to find the TV size that is right for your room is the viewing angle from your seating position.

THX has some recommendations for the correct viewing angle to achieve an immersive viewing experience. THX recommends a 36° to 40° viewing angle for the best viewing experience. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers recommends a minimum 30° viewing angle.

Using these metrics, the ideal TV size would have a 30° to 40° viewing angle from the seating position.

Choose the right TV size so that the viewing angle is 30° to 40° in the seating position

There are a number of ratios that get roughly close. Multiplying the seating distance by .6 will yield a TV size that will be close to a 30° viewing angle, while multiplying the seating distance by .84 will get you a TV size close to the 40° viewing angle. If your seating distance is 96″, for example, a 58″ TV will have a viewing angle of 30° and an 80″ TV will have a 40° viewing angle.

Optimal Viewing Distance

Optimal seating/viewing distance range for various TV sizes using 40° to 26° viewing angle for a 4K resolution TV.
TV Size Optimal Seating Distance
50″ 5′ 0″ – 7′ 10″
55″ 5′ 6″ – 8′ 8″
60″ 6′ 0″ – 9′ 5″
65″ 6′ 6″ – 10′ 3″
70″ 7′ 0″ – 11′ 0″
75″ 7′ 6″ – 11′ 10″
80″ 8′ 0″ – 12′ 7″
85″ 8′ 6″ – 13′ 4″
90″ 9′ 0″ – 14′ 2″

See a full list of TV sizes and viewing distance ranges for a 4K TV.

TV Resolution and 4K Impacts on Seating Distance

The resolution of the TV will also play a role in how far you can sit from the TV. There is a point at which your eyes can make out the individual pixels of the TV screen, and the picture begins to degrade based on your visual acuity.

TVs with higher resolution have smaller pixels that make up the image, which are harder to see at the same distance. This means that you can sit closer to TVs with a higher resolution before you can begin to see the pixels. You can sit much closer to a 4K TV without making out the pixels than you can a 1080P TV and have a more immersive viewing experience.

The viewing distance calculator above takes this into account when recommending a size and seating distance.

Minimum Viewing Distance by Size and Resolution

Is an upgrade to a 4k TV worth it? The chart below shows the distances that the eye can see the individual pixels on the screen.

Viewing distances at which you can begin to see pixels on a TV or video screen for various resolutions.
TV Size 1080p Minimum Distance 4k Minimum Distance
40″ 4′ 11″ 2′ 4″
46″ 5′ 8″ 2′ 8″
50″ 6′ 2″ 2′ 11″
55″ 6′ 9″ 3′ 2″
60″ 7′ 5″ 3′ 6″
65″ 8′ 3′ 9″
70″ 8′ 8″ 4′ 1″
75″ 9′ 3″ 4′ 4″
80″ 9′ 10″ 4′ 8″
85″ 10′ 6″ 5′
90″ 11′ 1″ 5′ 3″

If you can’t see the pixels on the screen at 1080p resolution then an upgrade to 4K might not be noticable. If you’re seating distance is closer than the minimum viewing distance for the 1080p resolution then an upgrade to 4k will be a noticeable improvement.

Minimum Viewing Distance Formulas

Formulas to determine the distance at which the human eye can discern the pixels of a video screen.
Resolution Seating Distance
4K .8x Screen Width
1080P 1.7x Screen Width
720P 2.7x Screen Width
480P 4.1x Screen Width

If you need to find your TV width refer to a chart of dimensions for common TV sizes.

Content Drives TV Size

What you watch on your TV will determine the recommended size and viewing distance. If you intend to watch 4K Bluray movies, then you will want to get a TV that will have a viewing angle closer to the 40° mark for the most immersive experience.

If you’re watching 1080P television shows in an informal living space where aesthetics are a concern, then you may choose a TV that will have a viewing angle closer to the 30° or maybe even less.

You also should consider the type of viewing experience you prefer, which is a subjective decision that only you can make. Also, consider that one of the most common complaints after choosing a TV is that a larger TV would have been better, it’s not very common to hear people admit that they wish they had chosen a smaller TV.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a TV

There are a few other factors that you may wish to consider when selecting a TV size.

The first is room aesthetics. Some rooms may accommodate a 90″ TV based on viewing distance, but if that room is a formal living space, then aesthetics should also be considered.

Safety should also be considered. If the TV is being placed on a piece of furniture, then the size and weight of the TV and the weight limit of the furniture should be considered.

Consider the best height to mount your TV which could determine how large the screen can be. The height of the TV may change the aesthetics of the room and may be a determining factor. Mounting height should definitely be considered when placing the TV. Learn more about TV mounting costs and different bracket options.

Finally, budget should factor into your decision when selecting a TV size or resolution. Larger screens and higher resolution displays cost more and it would be wise to evaluate the cost of the display into the decision when selecting the ideal TV for your application.


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