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Viewing distance and picture quality: two parts of the screen size equation

Sitting the right distance from your TV is also an important part of optimizing the viewing experience. Because HDTVs offer so much more picture detail than old analog sets, you can sit quite a bit closer to them than you could with your old tube. In fact, sitting too far away may mean you miss some of the high-def detail you paid for. But you also want to avoid sitting too close to your TV. A good indication that you’re sitting too close to a screen is if you find yourself distracted by the screen’s “structure” — those rows and columns of pixels that look like tiny dots.

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If you’re not sure which screen size is best for your room size and viewing distance, check the guidelines below. You can also use them to get an idea of appropriate viewing distance from your current TV. You’ll notice that we provided a range for each screen size, rather than a hard and fast number. That’s because the viewing distance you prefer will depend on your personal tastes, as well as what kind of material you’ll most often watch. If you’re going to watch lots of high-quality video — like DVDs and high-def programming — you can sit in the closer end of the range to see all the detail your HDTV can provide. On the other hand, if you’ll still be watching lots of lower-quality sources, like analog cable, we recommend sitting at the higher end so that you’ll notice less of the image’s flaws.

Screen Viewing distance range 26” 3.25-5.5 feet 32” 4.0-6.66 feet 37” 4.63-7.71 feet 40” 5.0-8.33 feet 46” 5.75-9.5 feet 52” 6.5-10.8 feet 58” 7.25-12 feet 65” 8.13-13.5 feet 70” 8.75-14.75 feet

Resources: Crutchfield

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