Today, the television industry is seeing a trend of growth — but not in the sense that stores are selling more TVs or that people are watching more TV.
Sales have been trending slightly downward over the last few years. And while the hours spent watching TV for those over age 65 is rising, it’s staying close to the same for those age 35 to 64 and falling for those below 35.
The growth trend the industry is seeing is that TVs themselves are getting bigger. What was considered a large screen a number of years ago is now considered small. And, as technological capabilities and consumer demand enable larger and larger screens, you might start to wonder, will they ever stop growing?
TVs Keep Growing…
In the days of tube TVs, 28 inches was the average size for a TV screen. When flat-panel models came into the picture, the average size increased to 32 inches.
By 2014, 64 percent of the televisions sold across the globe measured 40 inches or larger. That number is double the percentage in 2009. IHS Technology estimates that by 2019, 80 percent of TVs sold will be 40 inches or more.
A sizeable chunk of the TVs sold this year is even bigger and fall into the category of 50 inches and up. That percentage has been steadily rising and has doubled since 2013. By 2019, it’s expected to make up a third of all global TV sales.
Today, you can easily find screens that measure 65 inches from major brands like Vizio and Sony. And if you have the budget for it, you can spring for something even bigger.
… And So Does The Tech Behind Them
What’s fueling this trend of increasing screen size? For one thing, that kind of size wasn’t possible with older technologies. Tube, or standard definition TVs, can only stretch to about 32 inches before their picture reaches its breaking point, the point at which the image starts to split and just doesn’t look good anymore.
The first high-definition screens to hit the market, 720p HD, can handle up to 60 inches. 1080p HD screens can stretch to up to 88 inches before they start to run into trouble.
The 4K UHG (ultra-high-definition) screen became the standard this year since prices for the new technology dropped to affordable prices in 2016. Consumer Reports said it might even be hard to find a 1080 HDTV toward the end of 2017, as the major manufacturers shift their focus to 4K UHD. The reason for this change? The technology is much more advanced than your typical HD. The screen can be as large as 175 inches before it reaches its breaking point.
8K TVs are the most advanced TV tech in existence today. They can handle up to 352 inches, around the size of the billboard. These models are mostly concepts as of now and are nowhere near mainstream. The Olympics Broadcasting Services shot some 8K footage at the 2016 Olympics in Rio in preparation to use the technology more extensively at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Which TV Size Is Best?
Does bigger necessarily mean better when it comes to TVs? Maybe not. Experts warn that getting a TV that’s too big for your room may lead to an inferior viewing experience and could cause eye strain. That’s because when your TV is too large for your room, you have to sit closer to it than is recommended.
What is the optimal size? You can find viewing distance calculators online that will suggest a distance and TV size for you based on the size of your screen or how far away you can sit. For a simplified calculation, measure in inches the distance from your seat to your TV and multiply by 0.84. This will give you your ideal screen size.
The Consumer Electronics Association said you should sit a distance of two to three times the diagonal length of your screen. So, for a 40-inch screen, you should sit somewhere between 6.5 feet and 10 feet away.
Despite these facts, TVs still keep getting bigger as technology improves. If they don’t stop growing soon, we may need to start building bigger living rooms.