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The Best Viewing Distance for Your Home Theater


We all want the best seat in the house for watching home theater! But how do we set up our home theater so all the seats are great? What’s the best TV viewing distance?

It’s More Than Just Screen Size

For an immersive TV viewing experience, so you feel like you’re really there, you need to consider your field of vision, visual acuity, and the height of your TV screen. That way you can set up your home theater viewing distance for an experience that approximates a real movie theater.

Your Field of Vision

A 30-degree viewing angle is a basic rule for home theater design. When you look at the screen, it should fill 30 degrees of your field of vision. For a 5- inch screen, you will see 30 degrees on screen at a distance between 5.6 and 10.8 feet; for a 60-inch screen, it’s between 6.7 and 13 feet. There is some room for personal preference here, but keep viewer’s field of vision between 26 and 36 degrees.

Individual Visual Acuity Counts, Too

You want to sit close enough to the screen that you can see all the picture detail, or what’s a big screen for? As screens get bigger, each pixel gets bigger, and viewers can see detail from farther away.

Normal vision is 20/20 and we know what normal eyes can see at a given distance. But in practical terms, what does this mean to you, a homeowner setting up a home theater system?

The 2-to-5 Rule

There are complex mathematical formulas for viewing distance that factor in screen size, screen resolution, average visual acuity, and pixel size. But as a practical matter, you can use the 2-to-5 principle to estimate your optimal TV viewing distance: The nearest seat should be no closer than twice the screen width, and the farthest seat away shouldn’t be more than five times the screen width.

Watch Your TV Screen Height, Too

The easiest, best viewing is when the TV is at eye level. This isn’t always the case.

There are limits to raising a TV screen. The maximum vertical angle recommended for viewing is 35 degrees—after that, expect neck strain. For instance, mounting a TV over the fireplace and sitting too close can put you over the 35-degree recommended angle. You’ll need to move seats back.

When planning your home theater, call Connected Home for expert advice! With lots of experience installing home theater systems in new and existing homes, we can always give you savvy advice on setup, the best products, and the best values. And you can see some of our great work in our Leland showroom.

Call Connected Home at (910) 317-0876 today, or request a quote online.

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Connected Home in Leland NC has 8 Cedia Certified AV Technicians