TV viewing distance: how far away should you sit?

(Image credit: LG)

What is the perfect TV viewing distance? If you're sizing up a new television, it's well worth measuring how far you should be sitting for the optimum viewing experience – especially since you may not realize what TV size is best suited for your current furniture setup.

So if you’re planning on squeezing in as many inches as you can afford rather than the number of inches your room can handle, you may want to rethink. 

As TV sizes continue to get bigger, the real key to a good viewing experience is all down to how far away from the screen you sit. So having a good idea of how big your space is and where you’re likely to arrange your furniture is the first step in buying a new TV. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because your old screen fitted perfectly in a certain spot, your new one will also blend in the same way.

TV placement is about way more than just making sure that you keep your space insta-worthy. Sitting too close to a large screen could strain your eyes, and if you love to binge-watch box-sets, that’s not going to be ideal.

There is also the issue of image clarity. If you sit too far away from the screen, then it can be harder to view; if you sit too close, then all you’ll see are pixels, and the image will look distorted. Having the right amount of viewing space at your disposal really is a necessity. 

This guide will walk you through how to find the perfect size TV for your space and more importantly how far to sit from your 4K TV, no matter what size it is.

What is the ideal TV viewing distance?

Many manufacturers such as Samsung recommend sitting between 1.5 and 2.5 times the TV's diagonal screen size to find your perfect viewing spot. 

However, when it comes to 4K, due to the increased resolution of the picture, there is some leeway around that figure. When watching your 4K screen the ideal place to sit is between 1-1.5 times the screen size of your TV. At this distance, your eyes cannot tell apart the individual pixels, so you’ll be viewing the image on the screen in the same detail as you would in real life. 

In actual terms, that means that if you have one of the best 65-inch 4K TVs, you should sit between 65-97.5 inches away to get the best picture.  With screens getting bigger, it really is important to make sure that you pick one that you’re going to be able to view in your own space comfortably. 

Here are the recommended viewing distances for 1080p and 4K TVs so you can see the difference in the seating distances. Keep in mind that there are 12 inches in a foot, meaning a recommended distance of 24 inches is two feet, 36 inches is three feet, 60 inches is five feet, 97.5 inches is around eight feet, and 245 feet is around

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Distance in inches
Screen size1080p (inches)4K (inches)

If you're unsure of how big your TV screen actually is, just remember that you need to measure the distance from corner to corner diagonally rather than width wise. You don’t need to include the bezels in this measurement, just the actual screen (the part that lights up!). 

To put that into perspective, if you were to buy the 65-inch LG CX OLED TV, the TVs actual size would be 58-inch wide by 33-inch in height. So whereas you may have thought you couldn't fit a 65-inch screen in your room, by measuring it correctly, you'll see that you may be able to get a bigger screen than you first thought. 

What about 8K?

how to measure tv

(Image credit: Samsung)

With four times more pixels than 4K, the optimal viewing distance for 8K screens is, somewhat counter-intuitively, actually much closer than with lower resolutions; that's because you want to be close enough to see the increased detail.

According to the calculator devised by home entertainment blogger Carlton Bale the most suitable viewing distance for a 77-inch 8K screen is just 24 inches. Even if you have a small apartment that is extremely close to a TV screen but with 8K, if you sit too far away, you’re going to miss out on the added detail, and the screen will look identical to 4K. 

However, Sony recommends that their 4K and 8K TVs can both be viewed at 1-1.5 times the screen size without losing any image quality, so if you're looking to purchase an 8K set in the near future, then you may want to use our 4K calculations for the most comfortable seating distance. (Sitting too close may be a bit intense.)

8K TVs is looking to be the next big thing in home entertainment, and prices are starting to come down unless you’re going to opt for a screen that is over 75-inch, then you may not notice much of a difference to your 4K screen. Our guide on the best 8K TVs to buy in 2021 may help you to make up your mind. 

TV viewing distance: what else should you know?

There are other things to consider when determining your ideal viewing position, such as viewing angles. Some TVs can lack color accuracy and contrast when viewed any other way but straight on. 

But at the end of the day, a simple way to determine the best place for your TV is to sit far enough away that you can't distinguish the pixels and close enough that you don't have to squint to see the screen. 

If you’re shopping for a new TV, then follow the figures in this guide for the best overall seating position; you may even find that this guide has provided you with the calculations you need to justify that bigger screen after all. 

And don’t forget that if you’re going to go for a big screen then you may want to consider upgrading your audio to match. LG has a great sound bar lineup, and the LG GX Sound Bar is specifically designed to pair with its high-end LG GX OLED TV.