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Old 13-02-2008, 05:55 PM   #1
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Talking Viewing Distance Discussion Thread

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Buying the right size TV according to how far you sit allows you to enjoy HD and Full HD at its best. This website gives good tips and calculates the distance for you:
http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/art...out-resolution
Maxing Out Resolution

Optimize Your Seating Distance for Your Screen Size and Resolution.

by David Ranada
February/March 2006


Getting the best picture resolution remains one of the chief goals of HDTV shoppers. But as I explained in last month's "Tech Talk," human visual acuity limits how much detail you can see in any image, live or onscreen. This month I'm laying it all on the line - or rather, the several trace lines in the accompanying graphs, which relate diagonal screen size for 16:9 widescreen TVs (in inches across the bottom) to seating distance (in feet on the vertical axis). The two graphs are the same except that the one with curved lines uses a logarithmic scale for the vertical axis (I'll explain the advantages of that below).
The traces indicate for various image formats what combinations of screen size and viewing distance will "saturate" your eyes with detail to the point where any more detail in the image would not be visible. They were calculated using only the horizontal pixel count of each format and assuming progressive display of still images. You won't get quite as much detail with real-world video programs and screens.
Click image for larger view If your combination of screen size and seating distance places you below any particular image-format trace, you're sitting too close. That is, a TV of that format and size can't provide all the detail your eye is capable of seeing at that distance, and the picture will look "softer" the closer you get. For example, watching a 60-inch TV at 11 feet puts you below the trace for 720p HDTV, so a high-def program on a 720p HDTV - or a 720p program viewed on a 1080i or 1080p HDTV - might look a little soft.
If your screen-size/distance point puts you above a particular trace, your eyes will be saturated with detail before you reach the resolution limit of an image in that format. Watching a 60-inch screen from 11 feet puts you well above the 1080i/p HDTV trace, meaning that a 1080i program can produce more detail than you can actually make out at that distance. You could even move closer, to around 8 feet, before your ability to see details in the image will max out. That is close to the recommendation of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) that the width of a screen should span at least 30 of your field of view (anything below the orange trace).
As might be expected, Lucasfilm THX's recommendation for the comparable angle for watching movies in theaters (light purple trace) is much more demanding, namely 36. Neither a 1080i/p HDTV nor even a 2k Digital Cinema projection is capable of providing full visible resolution for a picture of that width. For a 36 image you'll need to leap to 4k Digital Cinema encoding. Such 4k pictures allow you to sit less than a screen width away, which is what often happens when you arrive late to the theater.
Click image for larger view This graph can be used to help set up your system or to shop for a TV. How you use it depends on what you are able to vary in your viewing room - the space allotted for a screen or the distance from the screen to the main viewing area. If you want to go for a full theaterlike presentation, select among 1080i/p screens and sit at just the right distance for your screen size as indicated on the green trace. Only a 1080 set will produce the minimum SMPTE picture width of 30 without running out of resolution.
If your room layout restricts either your viewing distance or the screen size, you actually have more choices. Say you're limited to a seating distance of around 10 feet and a screen width of 50 inches. In this case buying a 1080i/p set won't get you better resolution than a 50-inch 720p set (the 10-foot/50-inch point lies above the 1080i/p trace). You might be able to save some money by choosing a 720p model. Then again, all screen sizes seem to be switching over to 1080i/p pixel counts, and eventually 720p sets may be hard to find.
When comparing screen size/distance tradeoffs, it's easy to go overboard with the straight-line version of the graph, which can be misleading as to the improvements/degradations in resolution you'll get. Transformation of the vertical axis to logarithmic scaling, as in the curved-line version of the graph, will help prevent this. The logarithmic version contains the same information as the "linear" version, but scaled so that the vertical intervals are more perceptually meaningful. Equal vertical movement on the logarithmic version corresponds to equal changes in perceived or possible resolution. For example, descending along the same vertical line from the DVD trace (orange) to the HDV camcorder line (magenta) corresponds to a doubling of horizontal pixel count (from 720 to 1,440) and is the same distance as between the 2k (dark purple) and 4k (dark blue) Digital Cinema traces, which also involves a doubling of pixel count (from 2,048 to 4,096). From the logarithmic version, you can see that slight changes in viewing distance from the 1080i/p line correspond to larger changes in viewing distance from a 720p screen of the same size. The lower-rez screens are more forgiving of seating-distance variations.




Some useful threads:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum...ewing_distance

http://myhometheater.homestead.com/v...alculator.html

Last edited by petetherock; 13-05-2012 at 12:50 AM..
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Old 14-02-2008, 12:38 AM   #2
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That 5x distance guideline is for SD. You can sit closer for HD.
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Old 14-02-2008, 08:46 AM   #3
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When watching HDTV, you can sit as near as 2.5X screen size apart.
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Old 14-02-2008, 07:09 PM   #4
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That 5x distance guideline is for SD. You can sit closer for HD.
Objection!!!

Not SD,strictly HDTV,......That distance is comprising quality.......
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Old 28-02-2008, 10:20 PM   #5
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IF VIEWING DISTANCE IS LESS THEN 3.5M...

is it better to get 37" or 32"?

will be using it as a tv monitor + ps3 + watching tv(currently sd but planning to go hd)
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Old 28-02-2008, 10:30 PM   #6
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3.5m?
Thata pretty far. For HDTV, 50-60" and to appreciate full HD, even bigger.
Best to sit closer or get a bigger screen than 32". Size matters.

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Old 28-02-2008, 10:36 PM   #7
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3.5m?
Thata pretty far. For HDTV, 50-60" and to appreciate full HD, even bigger.
Best to sit closer or get a bigger screen than 32". Size matters.

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wa but in bedroom rarely get very very big screen one right? 2.5 x screen size apart so for 32" is 80 inch(~2m) away?
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Old 28-02-2008, 10:41 PM   #8
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Some basic guidelines:

http://myhometheater.homestead.com/v...alculator.html

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-7608_7-1016109-2.html

After a couple of days that 32" is going to look rather small....
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Old 28-02-2008, 10:50 PM   #9
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Some basic guidelines:

http://myhometheater.homestead.com/v...alculator.html

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-7608_7-1016109-2.html

After a couple of days that 32" is going to look rather small....
no choice.... budget only around 1k
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Old 28-02-2008, 11:10 PM   #10
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Buy within your budget and sit closer, no worries and why ask about 37"? Not possible at current prices.

Just buy what you can and enjoy.
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Old 28-02-2008, 11:16 PM   #11
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Buy within your budget and sit closer, no worries and why ask about 37"? Not possible at current prices.

Just buy what you can and enjoy.
was thinking if 37" more suitable for bedroom use then i increase my budget...
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Old 28-02-2008, 11:30 PM   #12
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This helps?

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Old 29-02-2008, 10:13 AM   #13
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no choice.... budget only around 1k
was thinking if 37" more suitable for bedroom use then i increase my budget...
You got to be clear about your budget and requirement before asking for help.

If the bedroom TV is only watched occasionally, then just get an average one will do. It will be easier at least to state your intended viewing distance, which should be quite fixed.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:14 AM   #14
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If you can get a 37" thats nice, few people complain of a bigger screen, but the viewing distance is imperative.

Having reviewed extensively HD and Full HD panels for months on end, your viewing diet is also important. You can do a search here on my review on the 40" M81 Samsung. I found it inferior to a 768p Pioneer plasma for SD viewing and unless you sit close and use Full HD source such as Blu Ray or Hd DVD, at 3.5m the difference between a full HD and a HD ready is not significant. Best to try and See for yourself if it is discernable, otherwise you may be wasting money.

If Hi Def sources form the staple of your video consumption, then it is worth the expense with Full HD, as the picture is a sight to behold at Optimum viewing distances. The detail is marvelous and if you are sitting at the suggested distances, not only will be obvious but it will make for comfortable viewing. It won't cause your eyes to bleed at all. Otherwise when seated too far away, it is mainly marketing hype.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:16 AM   #15
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One thing to note about the chart folks is it is talking about the LIMIT of visibility.

So, for a HD-ready 50" screen playing 1080i video, you must sit 10 ft or CLOSER to benefit from the HD quality. More than 10 ft you might as well be watching SD on the screen or using an SD screen.
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