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How to pick the right TV size for any room

If you’re shopping around for a new TV, you might have seen that you can now get larger TVs for astoundingly low prices. We’re talking 55-inch sets for less than $500. While you might be tempted to rush out and buy one right now, it could be a mistake.

We’re not saying cheap large TVs are bad, they just might be too large for your living room. You don’t want the “movie theater front row” experience of constantly moving your head back and forth to catch the action. Of course, without having the TV in the room, how are you going to know if it’s too large or not?

There’s actually a formula you can use to figure out the general size you need. To start, grab your measuring tape and get the distance between your couch and your TV. The size of the TV should be between one-half and one-third that distance.

To help you out, here are some examples:

DistanceMinimum sizeMaximum size
6 feet24-inch screen36-inch screen
8 feet32-inch screen48-inch screen
10 feet40-inch screen60-inch screen
12 feet48-inch screen72-inch screen

Some people recommend going a bit bigger than the maximums listed above, but it’s mostly down to personal preference and budget. If you have a lot of people crowded around the TV, then something on the larger side might be better. Also, with 4K TVs and the right content, you can go even bigger.

When you’re in the store, stand back from the TV the same distance you will be at home. That should tell you if it will be too big or small for comfortable viewing. You want something midway between straining your eyes to see details and moving your head around to see everything.

There’s plenty more to consider when picking a TV than size. Read our comprehensive TV buying guide to learn about LED vs. OLED, refresh rate and other critical factors to consider.

Already got your TV and it doesn’t look as good at home as it did in the store? Learn some tricks to calibrate your TV for better picture quality.

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