Perfecting Proximity: Finding The Optimal TV Viewing Distance

Is bigger always better? There’s always been a sense of pride and accomplishment when purchasing a 50″ or larger screen.  While larger screens can help you see the image better, it’s possible they may be overkill when used in smaller rooms. When shopping for a new TV on sale, it may make sense to buy a smaller TV that better fits your room for the best viewing experience.

The key to a great viewing experience is to figure out the exact distance you should sit from TV. The better you do this, the better the picture will look and the less you’ll strain your eyes. Different types of TVs should be viewed from different distances, depending on their size and specific technology. But if you can figure out the right distance for your set, you’re sure to enjoy watching for the long haul.

Why TV Placement is Important

Just because you can afford an 80″ TV doesn’t mean it’s a good use of your money. A larger TV only improves your watching experience if you have enough space in your home to mount it and sit far enough away. If you’re cramped up close, you’ll have to deal with:

  • Eye Strain– While it’s not true that you can go blind from sitting too close to the TV, you could strain your eyes. Not only does this hurt, but you’ll have to stop watching frequently so you can rest your eyes and recover. If you want to watch long movies and TV marathons without interruption, you have to find out the right distance for your screen.
  • Image Clarity– Sitting too far from your TV makes it harder to make out details. But sitting too close also causes problems, especially if you have an older screen. Sit too close and you’ll start seeing the pixels that make up each image. Take it from a TV expert: there’s nothing that ruins a show quicker than finding out the images are just a bunch of coloured lights.

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For the sake of both your eyes and your watching experience, don’t cut corners on placing your TV. Unless you get this right, it doesn’t matter how much you pay for the screen.

Finding the Right Distance for Your TV

How far to sit from your TV depends on both its size and the type of screen you have. If your TV is a traditional 1080p HDTV unit, the TV size distance ratio is between around 1.5 and 2.5 times the diagonal width of the screen. This means that if you have:

  • A 40’’ TV– You should sit between 5 and 8.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 43’’ TV– You should sit between 5.5 and 9 feet away from the screen.
  • A 50’’ TV– You should sit between 6.5 and 10.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 55’’ TV– You should sit between 7 and 11.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 60’’ TV– You should sit between 7.5 and 12.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 65’’ TV– You should sit between 8 and 13.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 70’’ TV– You should sit between 9 and 14.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 75’’ TV– You should sit between 9.5  and 15.5 feet away from the screen.
  • An 80’’ TV– You should sit between 10 and 16.5 feet away from the screen.
  • An 85’’ TV– You should sit between 10.5 and 17.5 feet away from the screen.

Compared to 1080p HDTVs, you can watch the more advanced 4K ULTA HD TVs from a smaller distance without straining your eyes or seeing pixels. The ideal TV viewing distance 4K Ultra HD TVs is between about 1 and 1.5 times the diagonal width of the screen, which works out to the following distances:

  • A 40’’ TV– You should sit between 3.5 and 5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 43’’ TV– You should sit between 3.5 and 5.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 50’’ TV– You should sit between 4 and 6.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 55’’ TV– You should sit between 4.5 and 7 feet away from the screen.
  • A 60’’ TV– You should sit between 5 and 7.5 feet away from the screen.
  • A 65’’ TV– You should sit between 5.5 and 8 feet away from the screen.
  • A 70’’ TV– You should sit between 6 and 9 feet away from the screen.
  • A 75’’ TV– You should sit between 6.5  and 9.5 feet away from the screen.
  • An 80’’ TV– You should sit between 6.5 and 10 feet away from the screen.
  • An 85’’ TV– You should sit between 7 and 10.5 feet away from the screen.

Other Essentials for TV Placement

There’s a lot that goes into placing your television besides how far you are from it. Make sure you consider:

  • TV Angle– The more directly you place the TV in front of your face, the better you will be able to see the picture and avoid straining your eyes. Ideally, you should not have to look more than 15 degrees upward or downward, or more than 40 degrees left or right, to see the screen.
  • Lighting– Don’t place your TV directly behind any major sources of light. If you do, the different levels of brightness from those lights and the TV will strain your eyes and distract you from the picture.
  • Balance– If you’re mounting a TV on your wall or on a stand, make sure that it is balanced from front to back and from left to right. When your TV isn’t balanced, the picture will be uneven. There’s also a greater risk that the screen will fall.

39 thoughts on “Perfecting Proximity: Finding The Optimal TV Viewing Distance”

  1. And if Fred and Ginger hoofing disputes your eyes, go to black and white cartoons. If that doesn’t work, find that old closing video about “slipping the surly bonds of earth” followed by an old test pattern (black and white). That’ll cure what ails ya’.

    Reply
  2. Give it a little time… and you`ll see, that in about 4-6 mo down the road, you will feel “sorry”, that you did not buy a bigger one…. It happened to me…. 4 mo ago, we purchased a 65″ Samsung…. and when I had this TV installed, my wife almost had me kicked out of the house, even though the room is quiete big enough for this size( 19`x16`)….. Now, few months later, she says, that we should have had a bigger one( 75″+)….

    Reply
  3. I just bought a 65 inch Sony OLED I am coming from a modest 24 inch 720 resolution tv. I don’t have much room to spare but will sitting 8 inches in front of the new 65 inch be a problem? Asking for a friend thanks

    Reply
  4. I am thinking about buying a Samsung 55” Crystal Display 4K UHD Smart TV. The sofa is almost 7 feet away. Is this distance good for viewing, or will it be too close. Currently have a Samsung 40” 1080p Smart TV. Thank you for any advice.

    Reply
    • Go for 65 inch trust me you’ll think it’s big at first but 55 after a while will feel too small and you will question why you didn’t buy a bigger one

      Reply
  5. I am planning to buy a 75″ 4K UHD QLED LCD TV. The distance from the couch to the TV stand is between 14″ to 15″ feet. I know this is further than the recommended distance. However, I do not want to move my couch or TV stand. What will the viewing experience be like?

    Reply
    • It will be like watching a TV half the size. Rather than move your couch simply buy a tv double the size. If this doesn’t work you probably would benefit from a smaller house. I hope this has been of some help.

      Reply
  6. I went to order this 75″ samsung uhd 4k qled for my living room but they dont sell it anymore. So I went up to the 82″. I havent received it yet. My viewing distance is 8.5feet is the closes part of the couch, where I sit is 14.5-15 feet away on the couch. I looked at the viewing chart, but wanted some feedback. Do you all think this is a good enough viewing distance for 1080 viewing comfortably? Thanks for the feedback

    Reply
  7. Just purchased a 75inch 4K tv. I sit about 11.5 feet away. I’m having trouble getting used to it. It’s almost like I’m not sure where to look.
    Almost like it’s too big and I’m conscious of my eyes moving to see different parts of screen. It’s only been a couple days.
    Is it common for people to have this type of issue adjusting to a bigger screen with more resolution?

    Reply
    • Hi, I just purchased a 75” 4K tv as well. I’m coming from a 55” 1080p. I feel the exact same way as you. I almost feel carsick watching. However, I just put it up an hour ago. I sure hope I get used to it. I also sit about 11.5ft away. I’m thinking perhaps mine is on a tv stand that is too high. Has your experience improved at all?

      Reply
    • Yes this type of issue is perfectly common. When you say adjust we refer to it in the trade as retinal reprogramming. We recommend for the first 18 weeks of use to watch only cartoons as these are less stressful to our optics. If after a week or so of cartoons you are still finding your eyes are not running in properly we recommend to switch to black and white musicals for the remaining period.

      Reply
      • I am taking delivery of my 75 inch 4K tv this week, I will follow your process. Thanks for the good advice. Are there any specific cartoons or musicals you can recommend? I wouldn’t want to watch the wrong programmes and not properly reprogram my retinas! Thanks

        Reply
    • Give it a little time… and you`ll see, that in about 4-6 mo down the road, you will feel “sorry”, that you did not buy a bigger one…. It happened to me…. 4 mo ago, we purchased a 65″ Samsung…. and when I had this TV installed, my wife almost had me kicked out of the house, even though the room is quiete big enough for this size( 19`x16`)….. Now, few months later, she says, that we should have had a bigger one( 75″+)….

      Reply
  8. hi

    I am planning to use a TV as my monitor, considering 43 inch Qled or 44 inch Oled. … what would be the perfect distance to make the setup?

    Reply
  9. I have a tv/game room where I sit 6 feet 8 inches from the tv screen of a HD Samsung tv now. It’s a 40 inch I think. It seems small but there is large bezel around it. I am looking at a Samsung 4K tv would a 65 inch tv be too big for about 7 foot seated distance? I can move back a little more if needed? It’s hard to picture the size of the tv in the space. The new one is mostly screen with very thin bezel

    Reply
    • To determine what the TV will look like on the wall, I usually will cut a piece of cardboard and tape that up. If you want, you can go up to an 80″ at 7 feet away.

      Reply
  10. We have a 64inch Samsung 4K mounted at a distance of 12 foot from our sofa, it’s mounted 4foot 6 inch to the bottom of the tv to the floor we sit at about the height of 40 inch eye height off the floor, is this in accordance with your expectations as we don’t really have an issue although it’s slightly higher as there is a requirement of building codes to be more than 18inch from fire place top, it is therefore it’s higher, your thoughts please.

    Reply
  11. How does the resolution of the underlying content impact viewing distance? Is the viewing distance for watching 1080p content on a 4K TV the same as the values listed for 4K TVs? Does upscaling affect that answer?

    Reply
    • I have a home theatre with a 100″ screen. You can see the problems with resolution if you sit too close and have 1080p. Although the picture was amazing I upgraded to a newer 4K projector after a few years and problem solved.

      Reply
    • Upscaling or (line multiplying) as I would call it, does not add content. It just enhances clarity. So you’re not looking at a 4K picture with upscaling. The distance from the television for 1080 is sufficient even on a 4K TV, because it’s still 1080 content.

      Reply
      • You’re right that upscaling doesn’t add actual resolution. Its benefit is in smoothing out the image, which allows you to sit closer to a large screen without seeing stair-step or mosaic artifacts. But that’s fine. Additional actual resolution beyond 2K/1080 is of limited practical benefit (and 8K is way beyond what we can actually see). HDR and contrast ratio are more noticeable.

        Reply
  12. Riiiight….

    I’m going to buy an 85″ 4K TV, and then move my couch into the middle of the room so I can be close enough to it?

    Reply

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