Watching television is a great source of entertainment and is often relaxing. Choosing the right TV size to go with your living room can be, however, anything but entertaining and relaxing! There are at least four factors you should consider before making a purchase: room size, the primary intended use of the room, TV resolution, and price.
While some people always take the “bigger is better” approach, it’s ideal to first consider the size of your living room. Ultimately, the size of your new television should be is directly proportional to your room size. Small livings rooms should have a smaller TV, and bigger rooms can have a larger TV. Related to this point is a formula that can help you determine the correct TV size for your space. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers recommends the following:
Distance to Viewer (inches) ÷ 1.6 = Diagonal Length of Screen (inches)
Measure the distance between where most people will sit when watching the TV up to the TV itself (don’t include the stand or wall mount, only the TV). Take that number and divide it by 1.6 The number provided will indicate the diagonal length of the TV you should consider. Many suggest it’s okay to go a bit bigger, but don’t go to much smaller.
Viewing angles are another important consideration when considering room size. Ideally, the television should be placed parallel to your eyes, with no more than a 15-degree angle up or down and no more than a 40-degree angle to the left or right. Consider where your TV will go in relations to the various chairs and seats in your room and plan accordingly.
Not everyone uses their living room the same way. Some people live in their living rooms and have the TV on constantly. Others tend to use it primarily for reading or entertaining with the television typically being off. Still other people lie somewhere in between. Before making a new television purchase be honest with yourself regarding how often you intend to use it. Also make sure your intended television size complements all the other furnishings in your living room.
Not all HDTVs are the same, but the screen resolution becomes more important as the screen becomes larger. For an HDTV that is 40 inches or smaller, a 720p resolution may be sufficient. Once you get to a 50-inch screen or larger, you will start to see a definite difference between 720p and 1080p. Make sure the television you choose is not only the correct size, but the correct resolution as well.
Finally, the price is an important factor for most people. Again, the television is only ONE piece in your living room and families need to have a budget for other living room furnishings such as chairs, sofas, end tables, coffee tables, etc. Rule #1: Don’t spend your entire budget on a big TV!