The distance you sit from your TV plays a significant role in getting an immersive experience. If you sit too close, you may notice pixel-level imperfections or strain your eyes, but if you sit too far, you may miss smaller details.
The Ideal TV Viewing Distance
But if you look for an ideal TV viewing distance, there is no single recommended standard. Instead, many suggestions on the topic, including those from industry groups and manufacturers, offer how much of the human field of view a screen should cover. Based on this, you can calculate the ideal distance for screen size.
Tip: If you’re unsure how big your TV is, learn how to properly measure a TV screen.
For example, one of the most commonly cited recommendations comes from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). It recommends a distance from which a display would occupy a 30-degree field of view. This distance comes out to around 1.62 times the display size of a TV. So if you own a 55-inch television, you should sit around 89.1-inch or 7.42 feet from your TV.
|Screen size||SMPTE recommended
Similarly, THX, known for its high-fidelity audio-visual standards, suggests a minimum distance from which the screen covers 40 degrees of your field of view and the maximum distance from which the coverage is 28 degrees. Therefore, to calculate the distance as per THX recommendation, you will have to multiply 1.2 by the screen size for the minimum and 1.8 by the screen size for the maximum distance.
|Screen size||THX’s recommended
|30-inch||3 feet||4.5 feet|
|35-inch||3.5 feet||5.25 feet|
|40-inch||4 feet||6 feet|
|45-inch||4.5 feet||6.75 feet|
|50-inch||5 feet||7.5 feet|
|55-inch||5.5 feet||8.25 feet|
|60-inch||6 feet||9 feet|
|65-inch||6.5 feet||9.75 feet|
|70-inch||7 feet||10.50 feet|
|75-inch||7.5 feet||11.25 feet|
|80-inch||8 feet||12 feet|
|85-inch||8.5 feet||12.75 feet|
While SMPTE and THX recommendations provide a reasonably decent estimate of how far you should sit from a screen and are great for a comfortable viewing experience, both were issued for cinemas. So they don’t take into account the high-resolution nature of modern TVs. To see and enjoy the detail UHD TVs provide, you need to sit relatively close to the screen. Otherwise, the higher resolution won’t matter.
Sony is one of the few TV manufacturers offering a viewing distance recommendation based on both screen size and resolution. According to the company, the ideal distance for watching a 4K TV is 1.5 times the vertical size of the screen. So based on this, if you own a 55-inch 4K TV, you should be sitting around 39.36-inch (3.28 feet) away.
Similarly, according to Sony, the recommended distance for HD and full-HD TVs is three times the vertical screen size and six times for standard definition (SD) TVs. As Sony doesn’t offer a viewing distance for 8K TVs, the recommendation for 4K TVs is a good starting point.
Among other manufacturers, Panasonic sides with Sony and has the same distance recommendations.
|Screen size||Vertical size||Sony’s recommended
distance for 4K TVs
distance for HDTVs
distance for SD TVs
|32-inch||15.7-inch||2 feet||4 feet||8 feet|
|40-inch||19.6-inch||2.4 feet||4.9 feet||9.8 feet|
|43-inch||21.1-inch||2.6 feet||5.2 feet||10.4 feet|
|50-inch||24.5-inch||3.1 feet||6.2 feet||12.4 feet|
|55-inch||27-inch||3.4 feet||6.8 feet||13.6 feet|
|60-inch||29.4-inch||3.7 feet||7.4 feet||14.8 feet|
|65-inch||31.9-inch||4 feet||8 feet||16 feet|
|70-inch||34.3-inch||4.3 feet||8.6 feet||17.2 feet|
|75-inch||36.8-inch||4.6 feet||9.2 feet||18.4 feet|
|80-inch||39.2-inch||4.9 feet||9.8 feet||19.6 feet|
|85-inch||41.7-inch||5.2 feet||10.4 feet||20.8 feet|
TCL’s recommendations for HD televisions are similar to Sony’s but not the same, as the company suggests a range rather than a fixed distance. Additionally, it asks TV viewers to sit close to the TV for small sizes. TCL doesn’t share a 4K TV viewing distance but notes that you can choose to sit closer than the recommended HDTV distance to enjoy the higher resolution.
|Screen size||TCL’s recommended
distance for HDTVs
The downside to Sony, Panasonic, and TCL’s recommendations is that if you watch lower-resolution content on a higher-resolution TV, you will easily notice pixel-level imperfections. And this can be pretty common on 4K TVs if you watch cable, DVDs, YouTube, and older content. So you should keep this in mind.
Other Key Factors
While the screen size and resolution provide a good baseline for picking the most suitable viewing distance, there are a couple more factors that you should consider before deciding, such as what you are watching and with whom you are watching.
It’s important to take into account what you frequently watch on your TV. For example, you may want to sit close to your TV if you play a lot of video games or watch movies to get the most immersive and cinematic experience. But if you typically watch TV shows or news, you don’t need to sit very close. Similarly, if you consume fast-moving sports while sitting very close to the screen, you may suffer from temporary eye strain or feel nauseated.
Moreover, if you watch with a group of family or friends, and your seating is too close to the screen, people seated on the sides may not get the best experience because of their viewing angle. So moving your seating arrangement slightly farther will allow everyone to enjoy the content equally.
Which Recommendation Should You Choose?
As you have seen so far, a wide variety of recommendations exist. So it’s a good idea to take these recommendations as general guidelines and a starting point rather than firm rules. And, based on your personal preference, eyesight, and other related factors, you can choose the ideal distance for you.
The SMPTE and THX recommendations are suitable for people who aren’t seeking the most immersive experience or want to absorb every detail offered by high-resolution images. But if you want both of those things, Sony and TCL’s recommendations are better for you.