What is Your Viewing Distance Relative to Screen Height? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
View Poll Results: What is Your Viewing Distance Relative to Screen Height?
HD—Less than 3 times the screen height 298 37.39%
HD—About 3 times the screen height 214 26.85%
HD—More than 3 times the screen height 172 21.58%
UHD/4K—Less than 1.5 times the screen height 14 1.76%
UHD/4K—About 1.5 times the screen height 30 3.76%
UHD/4K—More than 1.5 times the screen height 69 8.66%
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post #1 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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What is Your Viewing Distance Relative to Screen Height?



The optimum viewing distance depends on the screen size and resolution. The calculation is simple, and the result might surprise you.

As many of you know, your screen size, resolution, and optimum viewing distance are related. According to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), the optimum viewing distance is 3 times the screen height for HD and 1.5 times the screen height for UHD/4K.

Of course, the size of virtually all video screens is specified by their diagonal measurement—after all, it's the largest linear measurement, and we all know that bigger numbers are better, right? But to calculate the optimum seating distance, you need to know the height of the screen, which is simple enough. For 16:9 screens, the height is about half the diagonal measurement; for 2.35:1 screens, the height is about 0.4 times the diagonal measurement.

For example, a 16:9 screen measuring 70 inches diagonally has a height of about 35 inches, so the optimum viewing distance for HD is 105 inches or 8.75 feet; for UHD/4K images, the optimum viewing distance is 52.5 inches or 4.4 feet. These viewing distances are the same for a 2.35:1 screen measuring 89 inches diagonally, since the height of such a screen is still 35 inches. Of course, most 2.35 screens are larger than that, so the optimum viewing distance is greater as the screen size increases.

To calculate the ratio of your viewing distance to screen height, follow these steps:

1. Measure your viewing distance in inches;
2. Multiply the screen's diagonal measurement in inches by 0.5 for a 16:9 screen or 0.4 for a 2.35:1 screen to calculate the screen's height;
3. Divide your viewing distance by your screen's height in inches;
4. The result is the ratio of your viewing distance to your screen height.

So, how far do you sit from your primary screen?

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post #2 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 07:08 AM
 
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I am about 2:1
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post #3 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
To calculate the ratio of your viewing distance to screen height, follow these steps:

1. Measure your viewing distance in inches;
2. Multiply the screen's diagonal measurement in inches by 0.5 for a 16:9 screen or 0.4 for a 2.35:1 screen to calculate the screen's height;
3. Divide your viewing distance by your screen's height in inches;
4. The result is the ratio of your viewing distance to your screen height.

So, how far do you sit from your primary screen?
1. 108 inches
2. 21 inches
3. 5.14
4. 1:5.14
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post #4 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 07:31 AM
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Inch...


2.35:1 screen height 100 cm


Distance to screen from eyes 282 cm


Ratio 1:282.


Can't go beyond that with current projector setup.

Last edited by MovieSwede; 06-22-2015 at 07:36 AM.
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post #5 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 07:44 AM
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Hello All,

Hope you are all well.

My seating is at 12 feet from my 134" wide x 65" high screen in my projection theater yielding a 50 degree horizontal viewing angle with 2.35:1 films, and about 45 degrees with 1.85:1 material with my multi aspect ratio screen. This is the angle I prefer when I go to the theater, so I matched it at home. I believe using the horizontal viewing angle is better than using the height for determining seating distance with a multi aspect ratio projection setup, since it is not constant width or constant height.

Later,

Tony
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post #6 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 07:55 AM
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60" 16:9 plasma

Screen height 762mm
Screen distance 2235mm

Ratio 1:3

Tower Cinema - 9.1.6 in a 12'x12' room
Code:
      FL  C  FR      | Input  : Nvidia Shield TV, Panasonic DMP-UB400
 TFL  WL     WR  TFR | Magic  : Marantz SR7010, Marantz SR6010, 2x NAD T743
 TML  SL     SR  TMR | Output : Pioneer KRP-600a, SVS PB13 Ultra
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post #7 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 08:00 AM
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I disagree completely on resolution having anything to do at all with viewing distance.
Current cinematography is finalized on flat frames and a certain field of view must not be exceeded in order to avoid viewing the sides/corners of the screen too steep compared to the center.
The closer than 3x the screen height one sits, the greater the geometric distortion on the viewer's perception of the image.
Otherwise, you'd watch 16K content at a quarter of screen height without being able to resolve the entire composition, thus, just making an excercise in HT delusions.
In order, to cover the entire field of view, content must be shot with fish-eye lens and projected on a dome screen.
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post #8 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 08:05 AM
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60" Plasma 14' away. 5.6:1.
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post #9 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 08:18 AM
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post #10 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 09:38 AM
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Current setup...

Display: 46" 16:9 CCFL LCD 1080p passive 3D HDTV
Screen Height: 22 9/16"
Viewing Distance: ~8' (96")
Viewing Distance/Screen Height: ~4.25

So, I'm not getting the full benefit of HD with my current setup. As the viewing distance can't really be reduced without decreasing the walking room between the coffee table and the TV credenza or the leg room between my couch and the coffee table, my only option is to increase the screen size. At 8' viewing distance, I would get the full benefit of HD with a 65" 16:9 display (32" screen height). Anything larger, and I would want to go to UHD. Note: We bought the credenza after we already had our current TV and I made sure that it would work for a 70" TV without any overhang.

Now, I'm just waiting for Ultra HD Blu-Ray to actually be released, so I can be certain that whatever TV I buy will be fully compatible with the formats used. Hopefully, I'll know what my next TV is going to be by this time next year.

Last edited by HockeyoAJB; 06-22-2015 at 11:05 AM.
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post #11 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 10:06 AM
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65" ZT60 at 11 feet. Because of the way the room is laid out, can't really shorten that distance. I would prefer a 75 to 80" set, but at the time I bought the Plasma, that was the largest size one could get the ZT60 in. OLED was too expensive and I refused to buy LCD/LED just to get the larger size. One day in the future when a 75 to 80" UHD FLAT OLED is available at a reasonable price, the plasma will be moved to the bedroom. :-)
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post #12 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antennahead View Post
One day in the future when a 75 to 80" UHD FLAT OLED is available at a reasonable price...
I expect you, and the rest of us, will be waiting a while for that...
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post #13 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 10:41 AM
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HD About 3x.

2.8 to be exact.

Cheers,
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post #14 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 10:55 AM
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I sit about 6' away from my 64" panny... probably too close. I am close enough that I can make out pixels at times... but I like having the IMAX style viewing distance.
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post #15 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjm817 View Post
60" Plasma 14' away. 5.6:1.
Pretty much how our room is setup.

I've sat closer to the screen when the wife is out of town to watch a concert DVD but the thought of being that close, (ie. the recommended distance), doesn't seem comfortable to me.

And when I have friends over to watch football the idea of a group sitting that close just doesn't make sense.
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post #16 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 11:14 AM
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2:1
My screen is 140" 16:9
I sit 11.5 feet away.

For scope, the screen becomes 133" and the ratio falls to 2.65:1

I would like to move a little closer by .5 to 1 foot.

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post #17 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 11:21 AM
 
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I knew this was coming.

Ratio = 3.10 (3D HD--About 3 times the screen height)
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post #18 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimus_Fine View Post
I disagree completely on resolution having anything to do at all with viewing distance.
Current cinematography is finalized on flat frames and a certain field of view must not be exceeded in order to avoid viewing the sides/corners of the screen too steep compared to the center.
The closer than 3x the screen height one sits, the greater the geometric distortion on the viewer's perception of the image.
Otherwise, you'd watch 16K content at a quarter of screen height without being able to resolve the entire composition, thus, just making an excercise in HT delusions.
In order, to cover the entire field of view, content must be shot with fish-eye lens and projected on a dome screen.
The science of imaging has recognized the limits of average human vision when resolving fine detail in a video picture. The recommendations for image size/viewing distance published by imaging industry standards bodies have this in mind. Average sharpness detail recognition in humans is a thoroughly quantified and verified principle, or equaling one arc/minute.

When HDTV was originally being studied for proposal in a new video system, it was determined that optimum viewing distance for a 1920 x 1080 pixel image would be three times the screen height for the average viewer with 20/20 vision. This achieves a 30 degree viewing angle for a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. In other words, the viewer would realize maximum sharpness and detail, with a smooth, integrated image, just short of individual pixels being detected. Sky, clouds, faces, etc., don't normally look like they are composed of a pixel grid.

Many home theater consumers confuse their commercial cinema knowledge and exposure with video performance in the home. They are different in many ways. One of the chief ways is screen brightness. Cinema images are typically 10 to 12 ftL peak. HDTVs are considered properly calibrated for "dim surround" home use at three times that bright and much brighter for day time viewing in higher ambient room lighting. The key here is that brighter images reveal more detail in the picture. It's much easier to detect pixels in an image on a brighter screen.

Some viewers don't mind seeing the pixelated components in a video image, preferring a larger image to a smoother image. Motion imaging industry professionals strive for a more natural or photographic image in their work. Size is not the dominant priority. An authentic presentation of their art would be a smooth, well integrated picture, not one with the distraction of the physical screen composition elements being noticeable.

Video industry standards and recommended best practices are published to preserve program reproduction quality. Scott Wilkinson understands this important principle. Therefore his many articles and interviews embody such focus. Image fidelity and artistic integrity are only enjoyed by video consumers when these principles are faithfully followed. Allowances can be understood as appropriate for viewers with abnormal visual acuity. Viewers with sharper vision may need to sit farther from the screen. Viewers with poorer acuity may be able to sit closer.

Best regards and beautiful pictures,
G. Alan Brown, President
CinemaQuest, Inc.
A Lion AV Consultants affiliate

"Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"
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Last edited by GeorgeAB; 06-29-2015 at 09:56 AM.
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post #19 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeAB View Post
.
Many home theater consumers confuse their commercial cinema knowledge and exposure with video performance in the home.
Still the composition of the image is still the same. If the image is to small, the edges of the image are ending up in the center of your viewing field. To big image and the center of the image end up att the edge of your viewing field.
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post #20 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 11:59 AM
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I'm about 3:1.

That said, I've found that image height is the more important variable than any other dimensions (diagonal, or width) for me. If the image height grows much beyond 3:1, I start to get motion sickness, regardless if the screen aspect is 4:3 to cinemascope.
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post #21 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 12:05 PM
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When you sit to close you will start seeing all kind of unpleasant stuff like motion problems, even on the best sources, with all flatscreen TV techs out there. Sitting beyond ''three times the screen high'' therfore is a necessity, for masking problems, in order to keep the viewing experience pleasant. Only those who do not mind/being insensitive being confronted with technology/source shortcommings would not mind sitting at ''three times the screen hight'' or closer. The ITU's recommendation makes no sence here AFAIK.
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post #22 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 12:20 PM
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Take the scene from The Matrix Reloaded, for example, where Smith and Neo meet in a courtyard and they're shot at the opposite edges of the frame. If you watch that closer than 3x height you're going to have to scan a larger horizontal span very quickly and also the two figures will appear flat and steep, with any depth perception completely lost.
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post #23 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 12:24 PM
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2.5, 63" high 2.35 screen

Might be moving the seats to 2.1 but that's about it. I cannot see how one would be able to properly watch a large projection screen closer...this math is more saying 4k is not necessary than anything! The distances don't work for field of view, or speaker placement (perf screens aside)

I'm about 158 inches away...I'd have to move up more than 2.5 feet to achieve 1.5. That's less than 100 inches from 12 foot wide screen...those are the bad seats down in front a a commercial theater you avoid like the plague!

But actually, even at 2.5 I do see benefit of 4k over 1080, understanding it's not the full benefit...
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post #24 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 12:36 PM
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2.1x screen height. (12 feet from a 138" 1.78 HD screen)

Although my kids also like the 2nd row which is just under 3x (2.96x) the screen height.
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post #25 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 01:15 PM
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My seating was 3:1 initially but to better accommodate an Atmos set-up my MLP is now about 2.6:1.
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post #26 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 01:19 PM
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I am at about 9 feet from a 106 inch 1.78.1 screen. A good deal closer than the roughly 13.5 feet I am "supposed" to sit from the screen. For me, 9 feet is great, I love the full immersion effect...
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post #27 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 01:39 PM
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I sit 10 feet from a 55" screen. It's 4.44x the screen height. I would never sit any closer than that regardless of resolution.

The height of my 55" is 27". Based on the 3x the height suggestion for a 1080p screen the "optimal" distance is 6.75 feet which, in my opinion, is WAY too close to a 55" to have an enjoyable viewing experience.
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post #28 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Pretty much how our room is setup.

I've sat closer to the screen when the wife is out of town to watch a concert DVD but the thought of being that close, (ie. the recommended distance), doesn't seem comfortable to me.

And when I have friends over to watch football the idea of a group sitting that close just doesn't make sense.
I totally agree. I prefer that the image fills the center of my field of vision but doesn't extend into my peripheral vision.
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post #29 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 02:05 PM
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My sitting distance is where the wife says she wants the couch.
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post #30 of 209 Old 06-22-2015, 02:22 PM
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My sitting distance is where the wife says she wants the couch.
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