Why 65-inch 4K TVs are the sweet spot for a practical home theater setup

Sony A90J OLED TV in a dark room
(Image credit: Sony)

With more and more movies coming to streaming first, or within just weeks of their theater release dates, the home theater has never been more important. And for most people, we think the best 65-inch TVs will make for the best movie experience, balancing practical things like realistic screen sizes, budget and overall quality.

Now, first things first, we're not saying that the best 4K projectors wouldn't give you an even better experience, or that investing in one of the best 75-inch TVs (or bigger) wouldn't be even more spectacular… if you have the space and the budget. But both of those things can be hard to come by for a lot of people. Nor are we we saying that you can't get a great movie experience from the best 48, 49 and 50-inch TVs if that's the space you've got.

But we think that for someone who wants a nice new home theater setup but doesn't know where to start, a 65-inch screen is absolutely the smartest choice and that’s for a number of reasons.

Fill your vision

First off, an easy one. It looks the part. 65 inches of 4K OLED or LED real estate is a serious chunk of wall space in your living room that just screams home theater. 65-inch TVs demand blockbusters to give them life. When you watch a 4K Blu-ray of Jurassic Park on this size of screen, you understand that this is the perfect scale for the wonders of cinema. And you don’t even have to hand over a goat to lure the thrills from the jungle. 

Plus, plenty of the indie theater chains – you know, the ones that bring you cocktails to your sofa – have relatively small screens, so if you're not sitting too far from it, a 65-inch TV delivers a theater-like ratio… not to mention a significantly cheaper margarita. 

And yes, going bigger would give you even more flexibility over where you sit and can still fill your view, but we prefaced this all with one very important word: practical. Money is absolutely key here, especially as the cost of pretty much everything has risen fast, and a 65-inch TV is the very best bang for your buck before you head into the money-no-object pricing of high-end 75-inch or 85-inch models. Look at any TV price scale and the percentage increase of screen to cash is disproportionate by the time you get over the 65-inch models. 


(Image credit: LG)

Let’s take the example of the LG C2. The official price of the 55-inch model of this excellent OLED is $1799 / £1899 and stepping up to the 65-inch model costs you $2499 / £2699. That’s $700 / £800 for what equates to around 40% more screen real estate. That might seem steep but if you want to go up to the 77-inch version, the price is $3499 / £3699. It's a much steeper step up.

The hop up from the Sony A90J 65-inch model at $2799 / £2799 to the 83-inch at $5499 / £4899 is a huge jump in price. That's a 63% increase in screen area, for around double of the price in the US. Beyond 65 inches, the jumps in size just start feel less efficient.

It's not just about the screen

And saving on the screen means you can invest in the other areas you need for a great home theater setup. You’re going to want one of the best soundbars too and, you'll want a big one with great Dolby Atmos powers for a real movie experience. 

A 65-inch TV is the perfect size to match a behemoth of a Dolby Atmos bar – spend some of your saved money from a bigger size on something like the Samsung HW-Q990B (or its cheaper cousin, the Samsung HW-Q950A) that includes a subwoofer and surrounds, and you’ll have the perfect set up that sounds as good as it all looks.

And what about getting movies in the highest quality possible? Save some cash for one of the best 4K Blu-ray players, while digital-first fans should consider the Apple TV 4K (2021) and the better-than-Netflix 4K HDR movie quality from Apple's store.

The Sonos Arc soundbar standing on a TV stand.

The Sonos Arc (and similar Dolby Atmos soundbars) are the perfect size for a 65-inch TV. (Image credit: sonos)

Stick with 4K for the best cost efficiency

Finally, you might notice that we mentioned in the headline that 4K 65-inch TVs are our pick, but there are several 8K models available in this size. The best 8K TVs cost a lot more than the best 4K TVs, and at this size, we don't think the difference in resolution is large enough to warrant the extra cost for most people. Especially since there isn't any 8K content, really.

8K TVs at this size can still be worth buying because they also tend to have all the most advanced tech in other areas of screen quality, but these days the 4K versions are so close in quality that it doesn't make a big enough difference for us – again, we think your money is better spend on the sound and other add-ons to make the whole experience as good as it can be.

Louise Blain

Louise Blain is a writer and presenter specialising in tech, games, and horror entertainment. Thanks to the latter, she needs to avoid nightmares and regularly reviews the latest sleep tech for BBC Scotland, TechRadar and T3. Her specialist subjects include mattresses, weighted blankets, and sleep aids.