Home Theater TV Viewing Distance calculator
(Last Updated On: July 25, 2020)

Bought a new HDTV, projector, or TV set for your home theater and wondering how close your seats should be? What size TV should you get? Did you know the distance you sit form your HDTV TV or projector screen has a major effect on the quality of your viewing experience?home theater tv viewing distance recommendationSo, how do you determine what the correct viewing distance is and what size TV you should get?

After all, there are different distance recommendations based on screen size. How far or close should you sit? Our home theater viewing distance calculator will help you determine these two.

What Does This Calculator Do?

Our home theater viewing distance calculator will help you to calculate and determine the following:

  • The recommended viewing distances depending on a given screen size. This is determined for both flat-panel TVs and projectors. This is based on both THX and SMPTE viewing angle standards)

ideal tv viewing distances

  • The recommended viewing distances depending on a given display resolution. This ranges from 480p, 720p, 1080p/1080i and 1440p.

 

How Does The Calculator Work?

Well, it’s quite simple really:

1. Enter Screen Size: Enter the diagonal screen size e.g 32″, 55″, 65″. Enter the number without the ‘ e.g., just enter 32, 55 or 65.

Remember, the size of a flat-screen TV is usually measured diagonally, from the top left corner down to the bottom right.

Most ED TVs typically range from small 15 inches to larger 75 or even more inches.

tv screen size

2. Note Sitting Distance: The calculator will then produce the ideal sitting distances for different screen resolutions.

Home Theater Viewing Distance Calculator

The following calculator will help you to determine how close you should be sitting to your screen depending on the screen resolution. This optimal distance is best for seeing all details clearly:

Enter screen size: inches diagonal

  • For 480p (720×480) resolution, recommended sitting distance:
  • For 720p (1280×720) resolution, recommended sitting distance:
  • For 1080p (1920×1080) resolution, recommended sitting distance:
  • For 4k (3840×2160) resolution, recommended sitting distance:
  • For 8k (7680×4320) resolution, recommended sitting distance:
If you cannot be bothered with a calculator or prefer a rule or thumb, a good way to go about it is following this rule:

The ideal viewing distance for a flat screen HDTV is between 1.5 and 3 times the diagonal size of the screen. This is of course not considering screen resolution.

For example, if the screen is 32 inch then the ideal viewing distance would be about:

  • Minimum: 1.5 x 32-inches = 48 inches or 4 feet
  • Maximum: 3 x 32-inches = 96 inches or 8 feet

Finding the Best Screen Size

Firstly, TV size is always a matter of taste, so you can decide on the TV screen size that you want and then determine the ideal viewing distance so you can know where to place the seats in your home theater.

tv screen size and viewing distance

Of course, this is fine for a mid to large size home theater but it will be a problem if the room is small.

For example, you don’t want to have a very large TV in a very small space. This will certainly affect your eyes and the overall experience.

If your home theater room is small, check the recommended viewing distances with the calculator and choose a TV size based on the distance recommendations and what can fit in your small room.

Home Theater Viewing Distance Table

Viewing Distance (Feet)Viewing Distance (Inches)Minimum Screen Size (Inches)Maximum Screen Size (Inches)
4481632
6722448
8963264
101204080
121444896
1416856112
1619264128

Home Theater Viewing Distance Table

 

Do These Rules Apply For 3D OLED TVs?

Let’s say you have a 3D OLED TV, you may be wondering if you should still sit you may be wondering if you should at the same recommended distance as regular LED HDTVs.

The quick answer is that the general rule still applies. For example, for a large 65″ HDTV, the recommended distance is 4 feet or closer.

In general, you can use the same recommended distance for a 65″ 3D OLED TV. Don’t worry too much about resolution, OLED TVs bring extremely good contrast ratio, color accuracy, and all the other important aspects of picture quality.

 

TV Viewing Distance For 4k and 8k Screens 

4k TVs are very popular right now. With a high resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels and 8 million pixels in total, 4k offers crystal-clear clarity at about 4 times Full HD (1,920 x 1,080).

For this reason, many people go for 4k for their home theater. So, what’s the recommended sitting distance for 4k, the table below shows the optimum sitting or viewing distance for 4k TVs:

Viewing Distance (Feet)Viewing Distance (Inches)Minimum Screen Size (Inches)Maximum Screen Size (Inches)
4481632
6722448
8963264
101204080
121444896
1416856112
1619264128

 

4k and 8k TV Viewing Distance With 1080p Content

This is a regular occurrence where you purchase a 4k or 8k TV or projector but then most of the content that you will be watching is in 1080p or lower resolution. You may be wondering if that will have an effect on the sitting distance.

TV Screen sizeOptimal Seating Distance
40"5-8.3 feet
43"5.4-9 feet
50"6.3-10.4 feet
55"6.9-11.5 feet
60"7.5-12.5 feet
65"8.1-13.5 feet
70"8.75-14.6 feet
75"9.4-15.6 feet
80"10.0-16.7 feet
85"10.6-17.7 feet

Of course, the TV or projector will upscale the image and so you may wonder if the images will appear granular or fuzzy at the same 4k or 8K recommended spitting distance?

home theater 4k tv

Well, first of all, the upscaling quality will be based on the quality of the TV or projector. What we can say for sure is that upscaling will not improve picture quality. You will never get true 4k from an upscaled 1080p image. Remember, a 1080p image only has a quarter of the pixels of a 4k and one-eighth the pixels of an 8k image.

This means that for a 4k screen accurately represent a1080p image, it would need to accurately reproduce an additional 75% missing pixels is just not practical. This means that a 1080p image upscaled to 4k will still look like 1080p for the most part.

So at the end of the day, it depends on the resolution of the content that you are going to be watching. However, if you have a 4k TV, try to source 4k content as much as possible. After all, you paid for the additional resolution!

 

What If I Sit Closer To The Screen?

Of course, the above distances are recommendations for the best viewing quality. You should realize that we also state that you can sit closer to the screen than recommended. However, doing this, you will lose some of the resolution detail of the screen and the closer you sit to the screen, the more detail you will lose.

Don’t go too close though, since if you are too close to the screen, the image will become pixelated (you will start seeing individual pixels) and the image will become distorted.

This normally occurs when you are about 90% closer than the minimum recommended viewing distance; which is pretty close!

What If I Sit Farther From The Screen

If you sit farther from the screen than the recommended distance, you will start losing some detail as you move further away from the screen.

Home Theater Viewing Distance Calculator

The farther you sit from the screen, the more screen resolution detail you will lose.

 

What If The Home Theater Room Is Too Small?

Many people would consider say a 12′ x 12′ room to be small. However, this is not small at all for a home theater, if you get a high-resolution screen.

Let’s say you decide to purchase a large flat screen of say 75″ 1080p flat screen, then the recommended distance is 10 feet which is pushing it a bit.home tv viewing distance

However, if you get a 75″ 4k TV then that distance decreases to just 5 feet which is great for your space. So, for a smaller room, go for a higher resolution screen.

 

Recliner Seats And Home Theater Viewing Distances

What if you have recliner seats in your home theater?

Let’s say you recline your seats full, all the way to a max of say 68″, will this affect viewing distances?

Well, first of all, the recommended distances are from your eyeballs to the screen. For larger screens and higher resolutions, reclining the seat a few inches won’t make a terrible difference, but if you plan to recline your seats a whole lot. then you may want to reduce that recommended distance a bit.

Let’s say you normally recline by 40″ or so, then placing the seats 40″ loser than he recommended may be a good idea.

Additionally, you need to leave room for people to pass when the seats are reclined. Normally, a space of at least 10 or so inches should be good for someone to walk sideways (if you have a smaller theater room).

Hi Danny, Thanks for the positive feedback! The seating distance is “eyeball to screen” distance, which is almost the same as the distance to the back of the chair when it’s upright.

 

THX Max and SMPTE Standards

The recommendations above are based on THX Max and SMPTE standards. These standards define the viewing angles and viewing distances for home theater systems:

THX Max Recommended and Max Allowable Viewing Distance: (Tom Holman Xperiment) – THX certification recommends that a home theater’s last row of seats should provide a 36° plus viewing angle, with all seats offering a viewing angle of at least 26°.

SMPTE Max Recommended Viewing Distance: (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) – the SMPTE standard recommends that home theaters should have a minimum viewing angle of 30° for an immersive experience.