What size TV should I buy?

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Let’s face it – TVs are getting bigger and bigger. When will we reach the limit? It seems like the sky is the limit, and as such it can be a tough time determining the best TV size for you and your lounge room – or bedroom.

What size TV should I get?

Your ideal TV size depends on how far away from the screen you want to sit. Experts recommend that:

  • With HD TVs, you sit 1.5-2.5 times the screen diagonal away from the TV. So for a 50” TV that’s at least 75-125 inches away – about 1.9-3.2m
  • With 4K TVs this is lowered to 1-1.5 times the screen diagonal. That’s 50-75” away from a 50” TV, which is about 1.3-1.9m away

Away from a ‘rule of thumb’ guide, this is determined by room size, but is also determined by your own personal preferences as well. More detailed recommendations from Crutchfield are below:

Screen size Viewing distance range for 1080p HDTVs
40″ 5.0-8.3 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

This is for HD TVs, and you might be surprised at how close this distance is. A 1.9m viewing distance seems rather paltry for a 50” screen, but this tends to be in-line with what THX recommends:

  • That 40° of your field of vision should be taken up by TV for the best immersive experience
  • So before you bust out your protractor, multiply your seating distance by 0.84 and this equals your recommended screen diagonal
  • A 108” (9 feet) viewing distance is apparently the average distance. This would mean you’d need a 90” TV, which is frankly a lot larger than many of us would have been budgeting for

However, there is merit to THX’s argument. As home cinema experts, THX says this with the proviso that you’re trying to seek the most immersive experience possible – rather than just set up a humble old telly for watching the news on. THX also stated that users’ main gripe with TVs was that they wished they purchased a bigger set, so make of that what you will.

If that wasn’t enough of a learning curve for you, 4K TVs come with a recommendation you sit even closer than with HD TV. This is perhaps to best appreciate the difference in quality that 4K can provide. Here are the recommendations from Crutchfield for 4K TVs:

Screen size Viewing distance range for 4K Ultra HD TVs
40″ 3.3-5.0 feet
43″ 3.6-5.4 feet
50″ 4.2-6.3 feet
55″ 4.6-6.9 feet
60″ 5.0-7.5 feet
65″ 5.4-8.1 feet
70″ 5.8-8.75 feet

It can be tempting to just go out and buy the biggest one you can afford and stick it in a tiny bedroom for the ultimate experience, but according to the above expert recommendations, there is an upper limit. So with this maths lesson in mind, there are a couple of takeaways to consider before hunting down your next TV:

  • Get out the measuring tape: Determine the size of your living room/bedroom and go off this figure
  • How is your TV set-up now? Love it, hate it?
  • Replicate the ideal viewing distance in-store and see how it matches up with your personal tastes

These three key takeaways should hopefully send you on your way and remove much of the hemming and hawing the next time you’re at the appliance shop.

A Game of inches: What TVs are in my size?

You’ve nailed down your ideal TV size, and now you’re stuck for what to buy. Well never fear, these following TVs from leading brands Sony, LG and Samsung could be up your alley.

Sony

One of Sony’s smallest in the line-up (W800C), the 43” Full HD Smart TV packs a punch with its smart functionality. You can eliminate cables to watch your favourite shows with in-built streaming services like YouTube and Netflix just a couple of clicks away. You’ll also be able to screen mirror your smartphone, so showing slideshows and streaming content off your smartphone has never been easier. For about $1,100, it’s a tidily-priced unit that doesn’t command much wall space.

A fairly significant step up in size, the 55” 4K HDR TV (X7000D) is also a significant step up in terms of technology. It boasts 4K-quality with Sony’s ‘4K X-Reality Pro’. Netflix has apparently also recommended this TV with its enhanced app performance and intuitive smart features. Retailing for around $1,900, it’s a big step up in size, technology and also price.

In terms of home theatre capability, the 65” 4K HDR TV (X7500D) is a strong contender. Again it’s officially recommended by Netflix for quality playback and app intuitiveness. It comes with all the usual good stuff, like smart TV app integration with the Android operating system. For around $3,200, it’s your ticket to immersive home theatre.

LG

LG also comes to the game with a 43” screen (43UH610T), but it boasts 4K quality. It’s also smart. It boasts High Dynamic Range (HDR), which creates a more realistic image by correctly contrasting mids, highlights and shadows. It has several built in apps like Netflix and Stan using its ‘webOS 3.0’ smart system. Perhaps most impressive is its upscaling ability – you can upscale non-4K content so you can perhaps achieve a better quality image. As usual, you get built in Wi-Fi and screen mirroring. It costs about $1,000, which is at the pricier end of the spectrum for this size but we suspect the perks are worth it.

The next step up at 55” comes LG’s hyped OLED TV (OLED55B6T). It boasts everything you need for the ultimate lounge room centrepiece, like High Dynamic Range (HDR), Dolby Vision and no backlight, meaning you’ll get blacker blacks. It also has smart TV built-in and has been put on the list of Netflix’s top TVs for streaming. You’ll also get enhanced motion clarity, which is ideal for sports. At about $4,200 it’s a pricy unit but it won’t compromise on performance.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Dave Warner from the Australian Cricket Team, the 65” OLED 4K TV (OLED65B6T) may be the one dreams are made of. It boasts all the features Dave Warner would love, like HDR and Dolby Vision to watch cartoons on. Like with all OLED TVs, it has no backlight, which makes for ‘perfect’ blacks, and it also has smart TV built-in. At nearly $7,000, it’s one of the priciest TVs out there for the size, but David Warner seemingly doesn’t compromise on his TV if you’ve seen the ads! If you’re serious about home theatre then neither should you.

Samsung

Samsung comes to play with a slightly smaller variant than the other two brands at 40” (KU6000), but it still packs a punch. It features HD upscaling, which claims to aid in boosting broadcast and regular HD quality to better suit your flashy new 4K screen. Its ‘TIZEN’ smart TV functionality claims to be future-proof, with usability high on the importance list. You’ll be able to stream content off it with ease. For around $900, it’s a fairly pricy unit for the size, however Samsung’s proven track record gives it a boost in value.

As for the much-anticipated SUHD TVs, the 55” size is in fact one of Samsung’s smallest to boast the latest step in picture quality. The KS8000 boasts quantum dot colour, with up to a billion colour combinations, which is impressive as the human eye is capable of distinguishing only 7 million colours. You’ll also get HDR with full detail in shadows and highlights, as well as ultra-blacks and supreme UHD dimming. Plus you’ll get the usual Samsung Smart TV fanfare with easy access to apps like Netflix and YouTube. Don’t expect to pay much less than $2,500 for it though.

If your TV taste is more to the curved variety, Samsung has you covered with the 65” KS8500 SUHD TV. Again you’ll get quantum dot display with its billion-colour display. Samsung claims this display has 64 times more colours than traditional Samsung UHD models, and 2.8 times more brightness. You’ll get all the usual smart TV features you have come to expect with Samsung smart TVs, and you’ll get top notch home theatre goodness. The curved TV means it can be viewed better from a wide variety of angles. To be at the forefront of technology, expect to pay nearly $4,000 for the KS8500.

What size TV is right for me?

Choosing what new TV to buy can be a tough decision. Not only do you need to decide on what size you want, you also have to wade through all of the jargon and acronyms that make up a TV model’s name these days. However, it seems the best steps to take are:

  • Determine your budget or the biggest TV you can afford
  • Determine the size of your living room and how close your couch will be to the TV
  • This will inversely determine how big your TV should ideally be

Maths aside, however, it is also useful to buy the TV with the size that just ‘feels right’. That’s to say, don’t go off what calculations tell you – buying a TV with a size you’re comfortable with could be the best bet over some theoretical home theatre calculations. It also pays to shop around to see what brand offers the best value for you.

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