What Size TV Should I Buy? - TV Comparison Tool

How Close can I Sit?

Last updated Tuesday, December 15, 2020

There may be many reasons for purchasing a new television, not least the up-coming World Cup in Russia and Wimbledon, but the television market finds itself in a particularly exciting period, especially from the consumers point of view. 

The quality of content, larger panels and reduction of prices has created a great opportunity to upgrade your current television and choosing the correct size is probably the most crucial decision. Too smaller television and you will be squinting at your favourite shows, too big and you risk seeing pixels on the screen (depending on the quality of the content you are viewing). 

Chusaroo's 'Know-it-Owl' has been designed to address the fundamental considerations we all should make when purchasing a new product. To give you piece of mind in that you are choosing the best product for you at the best price from only the most trusted retailers.

It can be tempting to save money and get a smaller tv or get the biggest there is but it is important to enhance your experience by buying the correct set; even if that means 'stretching' the budget.  In 2004 for example a Philips 30" LCD with pixel plus would set you back £2700. Now you could get a LG 65" OLED for this and have £100 change.

You may be thinking why would I want a 65 inch television? You may have a much smaller tv and be happy with that however, the advent of 4K Ultra high definition content means that we can now sit closer to our televisions, immersing ourselves like never before and enhancing our viewing experience further. To see a tangible difference and appreciate fully 4K content the experts say you should go for 40 inch or larger.

tvThere are general rules of thumb when measuring the distance you can sit from your television which are discussed below, however, it all depends on the type of content you are watching.

The quality of 4k Ultra HD which means four times as many pixels; allows you to sit a little closer to your tv without being able to make out the individual pixels.

There are significant benefits to buying a larger television especially when watching content that requires    a wide viewing angle for example sport, gaming and 4k blu ray movies.

You will also of course benefit from the bigger screen effect - being able to make out beads of sweat on footballers heads, blades of grass and even the nervous looks on the fan's faces.

There is a lot of conflicting advice around the best size television for your circumstances and this can even be individual preference or what you are used to, however, the fact you are here reading this article shows you could be tempted to upgrade and why not? The bottom line - this is a compromise between, budget, viewing habits and also the size of your room which in turn affects how close you sit to you television. The Chusaroo "Know it Owl" can help with this.

By inputting how close you sit to your tv, the sort of programs you usually watch, your budget range and even how bright the room you watch in is, our algorithm will recommend three products. For example, if your television is in an extremely bright room during the day, Chusaroo will recommend a curved QLED television. QLED or Quantum-Dot Light Emitting Diode is a product developed by Samsung which typically have brighter displays. Recent tests between flagship LG OLED and Samsung QLED has shown twice the brightness in the QLED. (measured in nits - thought to come from nitere, latin for 'to shine'.)


Together with a curved screen which can help to reduce screen glare, this would be ideal for a bright sunny room.

OLED; panels manufactured by LG and used in many Sony Bravia tv's are widely accepted (at this stage) to be the better screen technology. Mainly down to each pixel being 'self illuminating' which can deliver much better contrast levels between white / dark areas of the screen and also different colours. 

If you sit in a normal or dimmer room, Chusaroo would recommend a mixture of QLED (not curved) and OLED. 

Possibly one reason consumers are unwilling to upgrade to a larger screen is the fear of the television taking over the room. The new batch of 2017 and 2018 screens are 'wafer thin' and can sit flush with your wall if you have it wall-mounted. Samsung have continued to explore the home viewing experience by innovating the Samsung Wall Art TV. (can you spot it below?) 



So How Close can I Sit?

In a nutshell, this is down to your personal preference, shape and brightness of room and budget. However, the industry experts have expressed ‘rules of thumb’ to make your experience as pleasurable as possible. These rules of thumb have helped the design of Chusaroo’s ‘Know it Owl’ in suggesting three recommended televisions based on your personal situation. Screen size is recommended based on the distance between your seated position and the screen taking into account you will likely to mix your viewing content beween Full high definition and Ultra High Definition.

Chusaroo may recommend televisions larger than your current preference, after all; many people wish they had gone bigger when buying a new TV and very few smaller! As advised above there is a large group of potential buyers who may be upgrading from a LCD or even CRT tv that are reluctant to purchase a larger screen, but the experts unanimously suggest that 40-inch should be the minimum if purchasing a new TV for three principle reasons:

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) is available for smaller sets but generally speaking HDR works better in conjunction with 4K.
  • The main brands ie LG, Samsung and Sony only invest their 4K tech in 40-inch plus screens.
  • Large 4K screens are more immersive by allowing users to sit closer without image detriment.
  • All televisions especially large have reduced in price significantly as the technology improves.

Is there a formula to measuring viewing distance?....

The formula suggested by industry experts for working out your best viewing distance is:

  • For 4K Ultra HD – 1 - 1.5 x your screen size in inches, then divide by 12 to get feet.
  • For Full 1080p HD – 1.5 – 2 x your screen size divide by 12 for feet.

So, if you have a 48-inch 4K screen this would be 48 x 1.5 = 72inches divide by 12 = 6 feet.

For example, my seating position is 8 feet from my TV wall mount viewing a mixture of 4k Sport, Blu Rays, Netflix and Freeview HD. 

Using the formula backwards my ideal screen size would be 64-inch for a 4K screen.

However, with me watching a mix of 4K and Full HD content I decided on the 55-inch. This is because it is advised to sit slightly further back for Full HD content. Going forwards, I wish I had purchased a smaller smart TV for the bedroom exclusively for Freeview HD and HD movies, but then purchased a 65-inch model for the 4K content in my living room! Hey-ho! Instead I purchased a 'Swing Wall Bracket' which allows me to move the TV closer to me if I want a more theatrical immersive experience when viewing 4K content. This seems to be an ok compromise - until I next upgrade!

This is how the Chusaroo "Know-It-Owl" will make a recommendation based on your viewing distance but also your viewing habits. 

For advice on setting your new television up, optimising its settings and further enhancing the viewing experience with 'bias smart lighting' etc, please see Chusaroo's guide...


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