How to choose the right screen size
Is your telly too small - or too big - for HD?
How big is big enough? It’s a question many of us have asked, as we cruise the aisles of Currys or John Lewis, looking for a new TV. It’s all too easy to be seduced by a special offer, or by extra features like net connectivity, and end up with a TV that’s larger than you anticipated.
And while you might make space for a jumbo set in the living room, is it actually worth it? Even if you’re watching a 1080p movie on Blu-ray Disc, rather than the over-compressed mush broadcast by some Freeview channels these days, can your eyes actually make sense of what you’re seeing, or are those extra pixels just wasted?
Are you sitting comfortably? And close enough?
Reg Hardware asked me to discover whether or not size really matters when it comes to your HD TV.
Measure for measure
There are three key factors involved: the size of your TV set, the ability of the human eye to perceive visual detail, and how far away from your screen you sit. A 2004 BBC Research and Development department whitepaper reported an mean – and median – viewing distance of 2.7 metres.
How far, Reg Hardware readers, do you sit from your screen?
LG reckons you should sit between 1.2m (22in set) and 4.6m (60in set)
Realistically, TV makers, broadcasters and other experts can give all the guidance in the world, and it won’t make a huge amount of difference. For most of us, unless we’re creating a room specifically for watching TV, the telly is going to go in one of a couple of places, and we’re going to carry on sitting in the same place.
Hands up who’s rearranged their living room to move all the chairs closer to the screen after buying an HD set? Anyone?
Next page: Is Full HD really necessary?
You've got it all wrong....
There are two criteria for choosing a TV size....depending on where you live.
1) It must be bigger than the people who live in the council house next door.
2) It must cost slightly more than what you can afford.
Now, being serious (did you realise I wasn't being serious above?), were the tests done with very high bitrate images (I may have missed that in the article)? the main problem I have is the crappy blockiness caused by low bitrate FV channels, although it does seem to have improved since the switchover, but that might be wishful thinking. Unless all the videos were pushed passed the point of blockiness these test would be, like a blunt pencil, pointless.
I could have told the researchers that HD on a 32" set was pointless, since to my (reasonably good) eyes this looks no better than normal PAL on a 28" set. Of course, Americans have been putting up with lower-resolution NTSC on mahoosive TVs for years, so there is more of an upgrade imperative there.
HD is only necessary due to the relentless increase in screen size. When you get to 40" and above PAL really doesn't cut it, and 40" is a smallish TV by new standards.
Anyway, we still have a 28" CRT in our living room. The quality of programming is sufficiently bad that we don't feel the need to upgrade. You can't polish a dog's egg.
You want people who support decimalisation to pack up & leave? TBH I couldn't give a fig what standard of measurement we use here. I just wish we could make our damn minds up and make a bloody decision.
32", so I'm one of those underendowed watchers. But if I'm playing COD, my nose will be right up to it. If, on the other hand, the wife is watching Desperate Housewives my viewing distance becomes exponentially and progressively larger as the tedium unfolds.
@Robert Long 1
Actually, we have two sets of 8 fingers with an extra pair to serve as "carry" and "sign" flags. We should be measuring everything in Hexadecimal--the only number system designed for humans.
Simple but effective. Top Tips (not Viz).
Don't laugh but I do have a solution for people when choosing a screen size. Simply get some large pieces of cardboard with 16:9 ratios of a number of common screen sizes. Then plonk them in the corner of your room or above the mantlepiece, sit back and see if they're the right size for the room.
It may seem silly but it has stopped people I know from buying behemoths that would swallow their living rooms or postage stamps that would give them eye strain.
No, no need to pay me but you could buy me a pint.