What Size TV Should I Buy?

A customer is at an electronic store pondering what kind of TV he should buy

Bigger isn’t always better.

It seems like a no-brainer, get the biggest TV that fits. But that’s not always the case. When it comes to what size TV you should get, it’s a bit more work, but we recommend taking the time to consider all the factors that will create the best home theater experience for your space.

What size TV should I get for my room?

A little bit of math goes a long way.

Here's a simple formula:

The fastest way to calculate what size TV to buy for your room is to measure based on how far back you want to sit from the TV. Take the distance (in inches) of how far back you want to sit and divide by 3 to get the TV size. Let’s say you typically sit about 10 feet back from the TV (10 ft x 12 inches). You would then take 120 inches and divide by 3 to get a recommended screen size of 40 inches. The 40 inch number refers to the diagonal measurement of the screen size, not the overall height or width of the TV so you’ll need to research to get the exact TV dimensions.

What size TV should I buy for the living room?

Create a home theater experience:

If you want to create a more theater-like experience, you need to create a wider viewing angle—30 to 40 degrees. Take a seat where you usually watch TV,  look straight ahead and visually mark that spot. Now, move your head by approximately 15 degrees to each side—just enough so you are looking side-to-side but not so dramatically that you are craning your neck to look at something off to the distance. The goal is to capture a wider view that still feels natural. Mark the two peripheral spots visually and record with a pencil. Then, make a second set of marks 20 degrees further out on each side. See how you feel by moving your head (or looking) from side-to-side. If both spots feel good to you, go bigger.

Since TV’s are measured by their diagonal axis, you’ll want to do a calculation to get a size that maps to how TVs are sold. To do this, multiply the measurement of the width you took from side-to-side by 1.5626 (which is 25 over 16). This will give you a target screen size to shoot for—again, remember the actual length and width of the TV will be different. Be sure to check the exact TV dimensions to get every last millimeter out of your space.

What size TV should I buy for my bedroom?

While size is going to be a big impact for the living room, there are other factors you should consider when looking for a TV for your bedroom. Since it’s going to be much darker during the night when you’ll be watching TV in bed, you’ll want to go with a TV that gives you deep blacks; ideally an OLED or an LCD with a high contrast ratio. It’s worth trading up in technology for a low light environment but you don’t want to go below a 20 degree viewing angle or you won’t get the most out of your investment.  

So what’s the best size TV to buy for my room?

Going a little bigger or a little smaller won’t make a huge difference, but trading up to LED or HDR versus non-HDR is worth every penny. So our advice: go for the size that’s going to be most comfortable for your space and if you want to splurge, upgrade on the technology. That’s where you’ll truly see the difference.

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