Television size is an important factor in home theater room arrangement and the viewer’s experience. You’ll want to make sure you get a television that is the right size, and base your size requirements on a number of factors, not all of which you may be aware. Here are some things to take into consideration when looking for a TV with the right screen size and generally planning your home theater room:
Distance from the Television
You should get a general idea of how far you intend to sit from the television screen. This will be determined both by the room size and by your personal preferences. Generally speaking, the smaller the screen size the closer you will have to sit. This makes larger screens preferable in a general sense. Sitting very close to a TV screen is seldom the preferable option. In any case, people usually enjoy larger screens because they provide more of an absorbing and easy to view visual experience.
There are some basic ratios that you should be aware of regarding screen size and viewing distance. For instance, for a 22 inch LCD TV, you would want to sit in a range of perhaps 3 to 5 feet. For a 26 inch screen it would be slightly higher: 3.25 – 5.5 feet. One can see how this is a little on the close side. Moving up to a 32 inch screen size, say for a 32 inch LCD TV or ordinary analog set, the appropriate viewing distance would be around 4 to 6.5 feet. That’s better but it’s still a bit close. For a 50 inch plasma TV (or other type) optimal viewing would occur between 6.25 and 10.25 feet. Thus if you have a room that could accommodate that kind of distance comfortably, a 50 inch TV would be a good size to go with. The general rule of thumb is to go with the largest size that your room can accommodate and that you can afford.
Quality of the Picture
A balance should be struck between the picture quality of your TV and the screen size. The type of TV and programming factors in here as well. HDTV can be viewed from closer up without a loss of detail than an analog set. So if you are dealing with an HDTV you can plan on a sitting a bit closer (closer to the bottom of the ranges given above) without loss of picture quality. This also depends, of course, on the type of programming you’ll be watching – DVDs and high definition programming will bring out the best qualities of HDTV, while ordinary programming will be lower quality, and you may want to sit further away to make the lower resolution less noticeable. Finally, if you’ve got an analog TV set, sitting further away is always recommended.
Room light if well placed can actually enhance picture quality. But too much ambient light can lead to screen glare and loss of color definition. The basic idea here is to place the TV and set up the room lighting so that light is minimized but not completely eliminated. Widows should have blinds on them, lighting should be moderate, and the TV should be placed in an area that is not directly opposite doors or windows that let in a lot of sunlight. If a room does have a lot of unavoidable ambient light, an LCD TV will hold its own as best as far as picture quality goes, so you may want to think in terms of purchasing one. It’s best to have at least some light in the room when viewing, for instance on the wall behind the TV. Watching television in total darkness can be tiring and a strain on your eyes.
A well selected TV set and a properly arranged home theater room will greatly enhance your viewing pleasure and satisfaction. Take a little time to plan your TV room out carefully and you will find it an enjoyable and safe place to learn and be entertained.