Balancing a small room and a big TV

You can use a mathematical formula to calculate the optimal distance away from screens of various sizes. Tip: Above the fireplace is not the right spot for your TV.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 21, 2012 2:12PM
© Mike Harrington/Getty ImagesToday we look at the dilemma caused by two colliding trends: bigger TVs and smaller homes.
 
It is rare to meet a man who thinks a TV can ever be too big, but it is important to consider your room size when deciding what size TV to buy.
 
The good news: You can sit closer to a big TV than you think and still have a great viewing experience.
 
The bad news: Those big TVs still need a big space to accommodate them. Most are too big for your old entertainment centers.
 
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The general rule of thumb is that you should take the diagonal distance of your TV -- we'll use 26, because that's my TV size -- and multiply it by 1.5 to get the minimum distance you should be from the screen. My TV is great for a small room because optimal viewing distance is 39 inches, or just over 3 feet.
Take a 40-inch TV, which is a more common size. Optimal viewing distance would be 60 inches, or 5 feet. That means if you can find a place to put your 40-inch TV in your small room, it's a good fit.
Not everyone agrees with this rule of thumb, Sam Grobart noted in a New York Times article titled "Is This Room Big Enough for My TV?" He writes:
In the interest of providing equal time to opposing viewpoints, it should be mentioned that this 1.5 figure is subject to fervent debate in the videophile community. Some groups recommend a multiple of 2.5, while others go down to 1.2. On the one hand, you do not want to be so close to a display that you begin to notice individual pixels. On the other, you do want to be close enough that the experience is sufficiently immersive, like having your own private Imax theater in the den.
By the way, the higher the resolution, the closer you can sit, Grobart says. 
 
Then you have to figure out how high to hang the TV, or place it on furniture, so you can see it well. Over the fireplace is too high. You should position the TV so that your eyes are level with the bottom third of the display.
The next question is décor. No longer are we hiding our TVs inside pieces of furniture. Instead, they remain on display, often on modern TV stands.
 
MSN's Design Center has some ideas for accommodating a big screen in a small space. You can find more ideas for decorating around your flat-screen TV at Houzz and The Decorologist.
 
 
2Comments
Mar 10, 2012 10:35PM
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consumer report is horrible especially when it come to electronics.the line doubler is so bad in sharp tv that it can`t keep up with the exponetial rate of the pixel resolution so there solution is to ad another comb filter and crop the pixels again. yet consumer reports picks them as a better tv. they will be better now that pioneer are letting them use  there video engines!!! i have a 60 " and sit about 10 ft away maybe a little close but everyone likes it. ther is a rule of thumb, but rules are for those that need to be told ther are rules do what you want and don`t listen to consumer reports!!
Mar 10, 2012 12:08PM
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My 13' 2 1/2" long x 10'W bedroom has a vaulted 10'h ceiling, so the 55" (54.6") Samsung SmartTV UND8000YF on a tilt wall mount fit nicely over the walk-in closet slding door opposite my tilted futon and head of my twin bed next to each other at the lower 8'h end of the room. Everything is laid back so viewing the screen high up is no problem, and makes it easy for me to recline on the bed and sleep when I am too tired to watch.
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