Screen size and viewing distance???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by jeff lam, Mar 19, 2002.

  1. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2001
    Messages:
    1,798
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Jeff Lam
    I have heard many different opinions on this issue and was wondering what all of you thought. I keep hearing that the propper viewing distance is 3-4x the TV size. But does this change when watching widescreen or smaller aspect ratios? I would assume so. I currently have a 12ft viewing distance and a 27" tv. I can barely see the thing. And forget about reading subtitles. I was considering the upgrade to a 34" 16X9. Possibly the Panasonic or Toshiba. Would the 34" still be too small for this viewing distance?
     
  2. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0
    jeff - I know your problem - We were 13 feet away with our 27in WEGA and when watching widescreen we were at the very tip of watchability.

    We looked into 32 inch , then 36inch and my wife said "WHY STOP THERE" (ya gotta love her!!).

    We settled on a 43 inch rptv for just a little more then a 36inch set.

    NOW - your question. I think a 34 inch would do just fine, make sure you want a 16x9 set though. Sometimes 16x9 is not the best choice if you watch 90% Network/cable.

    We went with a 4:3 43 inch because that gives us a nice widescreen viewing area for DVD, but the set is mostly used as a "TV" and not a movie set. I THINK 16x9 boosts the price up a notch and you might consider a bigger 4:3 for the same price.

    Just food for thought.
     
  3. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2001
    Messages:
    1,798
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Jeff Lam
    I understand what you're saying however I do mostly DVD watching. I watch TV/sat too but whenever I do, I don't really care about the picture/sound as long as I can see it and hear it fine. Movies are my thing and when I watch them I need the best quality picture/sound I can get.
     
  4. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0
    Understand completely. Whenever our basement get's finished I'll be going with a 16x9. Not sure how it's going to get down there though!!
    I read somewhere also about the 3 or 4 times the SCREEN height.
     
  5. JohnHN

    JohnHN Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2000
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ultimately this is your call. For what it's worth, for DVD on an HD ready set, viewing distances on the order of 4-4.5x screen height are common. Many people, including me, sit closer, more like 3.3x screen height. Someone on this forum once claimed to watch a 100" projection screen from 7'! Note that on a widescreen set, height is roughly 1/2 the diagonal. On a 4:3 set, height is 3/5 of the diagonal.
    Obviously, in choosing where to sit you are trading off impact against seeing imperfections in the image.
    The closest thing that I know to a rule here is something called the critical viewing distance or CVD. For interlaced NTSC (e.g. standard signals, including DVD), the CVD is 7.2. For 720p HD, the CVD is 4.8. (The CVD for 1080i is 3.3 but because of filtering, the true CVD for 1080i is closer to 4.8). The interpretation is that if you sit at a distance equal to CVD times screen height then you should be able to see all the available resolution without at the same time seeing screen structure (scan lines for starters). Sit closer, you don't gain resolution but you MAY see structure. Sit further away and you lose resolution.
    CVD is usually interpreted as the MAXIMUM distance you would want to sit. The debate centers on how much closer you would want to go. The debate is sort of pointless: sit as close as you want, it's your set.
    The Perfect Vision used to have a nice web page on CVD but unfortunately they have gotten rid of those sorts of freebies. The best source now seems to be
    http://www.hometheaterspot.com/cgi-b...10&t=001495&p=
     
  6. Drew Eckhardt

    Drew Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 10, 2001
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been playing with this a bunch lately as a side effect of my upgrade to front projection. Prevailing schools of thought seem to come from "How close do you need to be to get the resolution you paid for?" (within 7 heights for 480 lines sources, less than 3 for 1080), "How close do you need to be for the image to seem _big_" (< 2X width or 30 degrees of your field of vision), and "How close do you get before artifacts become objectionable?".

    With DVDs I don't want to sit closer than about 8' from a 32" interlaced set due to 3:2 pull-down artifacts, although I'm quite happy 9-12 feet back from a scaled progressive image on a 6' wide (90" NTSC diagonal) screen and think it depends on source (DVD/VHS/DBS), display device (resolution, inherent picture structure like pixel fill and scan-line separation), processing (scaled resolution, de-interlacing algorithm, noise filtering, etc.), and personal preference (how soft can you tolerate?)

    Scaled to 1440x960 on a 9" CRT projector via WinDVD or dscaler, I don't notice image structure at any viewing distance from which the whole screen is visible. Different sources get noticeably soft at various points; with DVD viewing a nice balance between softness and size arround 1.5X-2X screen widths (IIRC, this matches the bulk of the responses in the AVS forum screen size survey), DBS on channels with good feeds 2-3X. We won't talk about VHS, and I've yet to start playing with the HD problem.

    At 12 feet, a 16:9 screen in the 6-7' wide range seems close to ideal. 4:3 sources will end up smaller, although on sources other than 4:3 DVDs that's a good thing.

    If you can accomodate the necessary light control, don't mind used equipment, and don't mind tinkering you can do that for what you'd spend on rear projection or a nice HD ready direct view set.
     

Share This Page