Recommended Screen Size
Want to know the logic behind the numbers? Read on.
Where You Should Sit
Probably the best data on 4K viewing distances is from NHK. Here’s the results of their studies:
As you can see, study participants seem to agree that around 1.5x screen height is optimal for 4k and even 8k content.
For boring old 1080p, there are two major industry standards that dictate where you should sit – SMPTE and THX.
THX’s standard is very simple: divide your screen size (measured diagonally) by .84, and that’s how far you should sit from your TV. A 65-inch TV divided by .84 equals a 77-inch viewing distance (6.5 feet).
SMPTE’s standard is actually not a home theater standard at all – it’s a movie theater standard that’s just been widely adopted by home theaters. I can’t link to the actual publication, since it’s not available for free, but it’s quoted in many other documents like this one. In a nutshell, SMPTE recommends that your viewing angle be about 30 degrees – 3x the height of your TV. A 65″ TV is 31.8695″ tall, so a viewing distance of about 8 feet.
Where You Do Sit
Unless you re-arrange your living room every time you get a new TV, your viewing distance is – like everything else in your home – dictated by comfort and aesthetics rather than technical standards. Statistically, you sit about 9 feet away from your TV; your experience may vary, consult your local tape measure for more details. Mine is roughly 9, studies in the US and Europe end up with 9 and 9.8 respectively, so we’re going with 9 because America. That’s why the calculator above defaults to 9, and why the only input is viewing distance.
If you re-arrange your living room every time new TV technology comes out…I honestly don’t know what to say to you.
Want more on 4K? Check out 4K TV Is Not About Resolution