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The proper relationship between screen height and viewing distance?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Emile



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Posted February 27 2003 - 04:09 PM

The room that I am using for my home theater setup is 15x12x8, and I just recently read in Practical Home Theater (Robert Harley) that viewing distance from the TV should be 5x the height of the tv. Is this true? I was hoping to put a 36inch in my room, but according to this setup I would have to be 12 feet away from the tv since the screen height is 30 inches (30x5=150/12=12.5 feet). Does this make any sense? It seems like people (with analog non-widescreen anyway) who have a 36inch analog would have to have huge rooms seeing as how the viewing distance is usually the middle of the room. If this is true then I might have to go with a 27 inch, which would suck majorly since I can't afford a 16:9 ration widescreen tv. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool



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Posted February 27 2003 - 05:47 PM

Check this link for some calculations and insight on theater-like field of view (ie. viewing angle) vs apparent PQ (ie. based on visual accuity):


The calculator uses screen diagonal and screen width, instead of screen height. But the idea for visual accuity is probably the same, and the calculations probably come out w/ similar results for that w/ DVD quality images, ie. NTSC resolution.

Robert Harley's probably basing his formula on apparent PQ for NTSC resolution, not theater-like field of view and immersion like many of us do. Many of us would rather go w/ something like 2x screen diagonal or 2.5x screen height (or maybe even less) and sacrifice the apparent PQ. For HD content, there should be no noticeable sacrifice at such distances.

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Sean M

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Posted February 28 2003 - 10:47 AM

Just remember that these are just guidelines, not rules set in stone. I you want to sit one screen height from a 36" tv, you can. I wouldn't, but it's up to you. Check out some tv's at the store displaying the type of content you will be watching and see how far away you like to be from the picture.
"Experience is the one thing you can't get for nothing." - Oscar Wilde

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Allan Jayne

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Posted February 28 2003 - 11:23 AM

It is all up to your personal preference how far you sit from the TV.

Do be aware that blurriness, graininess, some flicker, and obtrusiveness of the scan lines will be more apparent if you are sitting closer to the larger screen. Some people find these problems more annoying than others. Of course problems are more pronounced with VHS tape and distant TV stations compared with DVD.

If you haven't bought the TV yet, stand at varying distances from the TV in the store to see what you like.

Video hints:

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Emile



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Posted March 01 2003 - 05:19 AM

Thanks for the tips everyone, I'll guess I'll go into the store and check it out with that in mind. And thanks for the calculator link Man-Fai, it's pretty useful.

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   Roy Wallace

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Posted March 01 2003 - 08:46 AM

We sit about 8 feet from our Toshiba 57" RPTV and it seems just perfect.
But this is after having a 27", so I am still in the "holy god" phazePosted Image

I have a subwoofer! I have to watch EVERY movie I own AGAIN!!

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   DavePL



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Posted March 01 2003 - 08:59 AM


I've read many different opinions on this. By far the best formula I know consists of the following:

1- Grab your favorite beverage and snack
2- Sit in your favorite chair
3- Put in your favorite DVD or turn to your favoite show
4- Look at the picture
5- If it looks good...sit and enjoy Posted Image