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Recommended viewing distance for music versus movies? (1 Viewer)


Jan 13, 2003
I am having a problem deciding on how far away I should sit from my tv. THX recommends a minimum of a 26 degree (or is it percent) viewing angle. Which means (according to a calculator for viewing distances) I should sit 4-5 ft away from my 32 inch 4:3 aspect ratio direct view TV. However, my speakers are supposed to be a miminum of 6ft away, and the recommened listening distance as stated by the speaker company is 1.5x the distance between the speakers, which is 9ft. How should I reconcile these two highly divergent recommendations, and if I have to lean towards one rather than the other which one should I follow? Thanks for any comments.


His Own Fool
Senior HTF Member
Aug 18, 2001
The BK
Real Name
Get a bigger TV or different speakers :D or compromise.

If the speakers really do sound their best w/ those recommendations, then it's probably better to compromise mostly on the viewing angle size, especially if you've never sat that close before and/or the TV is a regular "analog" model, ie. not HDTV. That THX recommendation is for apparent image size for theater-like immersion, not for picture quality. If you use it for anything lower quality than a very good DVD, the image probably want look good. So sacrificing the immersion aspect does gain you back some apparent PQ.

Try for yourself and see...



Stunt Coordinator
Mar 5, 2003
While I'm not a true expert, I think that distance from you to the speakers is less important than the angle of the speakers in relation to your listening position.

Dolby's web site recommends that for movie soundtracks, the ideal left/right main speaker placement is within a 45 degree angle from the listening position (i.e., each speaker within a 22.5 degree arc from your position). However, for stereo, the ideal placement is within a 60 degree angle. In other words your speakers should be further away from your center channel when listening to music in order to experience the intended stereo effect.

Man has a good point; even though the viewing angle for a 32" 4:3 TV is 47 inches (to mimic THX's min. requirements for the viewing angle of the back seat in an actual movie theater), you don't really need to be THAT close. I mean, that's distance from eyeball to screen, not taking into account your leg room, which for me would put my knees about 2' from the screen! It would be hard to fit a coffee table in that sliver of space, no? :b

I'd say move your seating to be 6' from eyeball to screen; this would be like sitting 13 feet away from a 65" 16:9 TV, which is a good distance for mixed SD/HD/DVD viewing. and put your speakers in the ideal placement for movie soundtracks, since you'll be stationary almost 100% of the time. Movies would be boosted by a better immersive experience. If you're like me, you listen to music "on the move" so speaker placement becomes less important. You might also consider some bipolar/dipolar surrounds to help bridge the gap.


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