Before you start shopping for a new TV you need to determine what size TV is best for the room it will go. It doesn’t have to be a difficult decision and making this determination at the very beginning will help narrow down the options and point you towards the best TV for your room.
To pick the Best Size TV for your room:
- Measure the viewing distance from your couch to the TV
- Divide the viewing distance (in inches) by 1.5
- The result is the best size TV for your room (in inches)
- When in doubt, round up
For example if your couch will be 10 feet from the TV that’s 120 inches. Divide 120 inches by 1.5 and the result is 80-inches. You should therefore be shopping for an 80-inch TV (don’t forget that TV sizes are measured diagonally).
Best TV Size by Viewing Distance
(Recommended for Mixed Usage)
If your room falls between two sizes always round up.
|VIEWING DISTANCE||BEST TV SIZE|
|13 feet||100 inch TV|
|12 feet||96 inch TV|
|11 feet||88 inch TV|
|10 feet||80 inch TV|
|9 feet||72 inch TV|
|8 feet||64 inch TV|
|7 feet||55 inch TV|
|BELOW 7 FEET||NOT A BIG SCREEN TV|
Example: if your couch is 7 feet and 3 inches from the TV the best size is a 65-inch TV.
Maximum Recommended TV Size
Not for family rooms and living rooms! This option is only for “Home Theatre” rooms that serve the dedicated purpose of entertainment on a Big Screen TV.
|VIEWING DISTANCE||MAX TV SIZE|
|13 feet||156 inch TV|
|12 feet||144 inch TV|
|11 feet||132 inch TV|
|10 feet||120 inch TV|
|9 feet||108 inch TV|
|8 feet||96 inch TV|
|7 feet||84 inch TV|
|6 feet||72 inch TV|
|5 feet||60- inch TV|
|4 feet||NOT A BIG SCREEN TV|
When the image on your screen fills your entire field of view it results in a more immersive experience. When it extends beyond your field of view, you’ve got a problem: you’ll be looking left and right to follow action which will leave your neck sore and your head dizzy.
The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers recommends that for Cinema-style TV viewing your screen fills up 40 degrees of of your total field of view. That equates to a 1 to 1 ratio between Viewing Distance and TV size and thus dictates our Maximum Recommended TV Size for home theaters, dedicated media rooms, and gaming rooms.
What Size TV is Too Big?
Televisions are not made in every inch size possible so it’s unlikely your math will work out perfectly- what if your room layout falls between two popular screen sizes?
We recommend basing your decision on the following guidelines:
- Most people should use our “Mixed Usage” formula which is appropriate for family rooms and living rooms in typical households.
- If you’re struggling between two screen sizes (55-inch and 65-inch for example), we would err on the side of bigger is better.
- If your primary concern is that it will look disproportionately large with other design elements in your room, go smaller. It won’t be the best TV size but it will be the best balance (and that’s what you’re likely seeking in this case). This is a matter of taste and preference- you cannot choose wrong.
- If this is a dedicated media room for movies and/or gaming, use our Maximum Recommended Size and get what your budget allows. But in this case bigger is better!
This applies only to 4K & 8K TVs
The bottom line is that you should not be buying anything less than a 4K TV. This is due to screen resolution- at the optimal size for each distance you should never be able to see the pixels of a screen. At lower resolutions you would need to divide by 2 instead of 1.5 which would make a 60-inch TV the best size tv for a 10 foot viewing distance. But seriously- don’t buy a TV that’s merely HD, Full HD, or 2K.
Big Screen TV Viewing Height
While most people are initially focused on their big screen TV viewing distance (so that they can calculate the best TV size), you’ll soon find out that big screen TV viewing height is equally important.
This is something most people overlook until it’s time to mount their TV on the wall or buy a TV Stand. You can save a lot of hassle by considering this in advance:
- The center of your TV should be 42-inches from the ground if you’re viewing the TV from a couch
- Increase this to 53-inches if you’re viewing from a home bar and 60-inches if you’ll often be standing (pool table room, outdoor TVs, etc)
- Buy a TV mount that tilts down if you’re hanging the TV above a fireplace or higher than the optimal conditions outlined above
For more details on the best viewing height for your room, check out our guide on how high to mount your TV. If you’re planning to use a TV stand simply calculate the height of the TV stand into your measurements.
3 Tips You Shouldn’t Forget
Don’t click the buy button just yet! There are three minor issues you may overlook when picking out the proper TV Size:
- Don’t forget to consider how high you should mount your TV which may also impact whether or not it fits on the wall you are choosing.
- Don’t forget that TV sizes are measured diagonally. Take the horizontal and vertical measurements of the TV and consider how it will look in your space or on your wall.
- Don’t forget about the TV Stand! If you don’t plan on mounting your TV on the wall, you need to make sure the TV stand that comes with the TV will fit on your furniture. Many of the stands are very wide so they can support today’s huge screens. Measure in advance to ensure it will fit (and can hold the weight)!
How to Spend Your Budget
At this point you’ve probably measured your room, decided on a screen size, and started browsing TVs and comparing pricing. Welcome to the next complicated step of the TV buying process!
While a larger budget can guarantee a bigger screen and better picture, smart shoppers can find an amazing television set in their price range without sacrificing too many features. You simply need to know what to look for… head on over to our TV Buying Guide for all the details!