Is viewing angle overrated? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-07-2020, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Is viewing angle overrated?

I have fairly wide viewing angles in my room (extremes are at 27deg and 46deg). Is the picture degradation that significant or is it overrated? I am debating between the 85" Sony x900f or x950g whereby I am not sure the ~$500 difference is warranted or not. To me, it seems the main benefit would be the x-wide on the 950g due to my viewing angles. I plan to watch mostly sports, streaming, and gaming.
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-07-2020, 08:48 AM
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I think so. On multiple visits to Best Buy and a local TV store, I spent gone of time comparing the 65" 900F and 75" 950G and both of those against the comparably-sized Q70 and Q80.

I'd stand dead center from 3ft, 5ft, 8ft,10ft, and 12ft away and start shifting left and right to absurd viewing angles. The further away from the tv I got the less impact to PQ was detected. Only at like 3 and 5ft away was I able to detect a change in brightness, color, contrast. At 8ft and more and out to 30 degrees to the side, to me, undetectable. I could detect no difference between the 900 and 950 though I could see some difference in color between the Sonys and the Samsungs but that's only because the Samsungs color is oversaturated to begin with.

I recall being in Best Buy and posting on one of these threads about the one of those in-store visits and nothing how silly I thought the viewing angle arguments were.

I ultimately ended up with a 75x950g because of price only. Once hanging it on the wall I did the same test as I did in the store. My viewing room is only 15ft wide and standing with my shoulder against a side wall and maybe only 4ft away from the TV wall I had to convince myself that I was seeing some degradation in PQ.

Like blooming, I see the viewing angle issue as overrated, at least in normal ordinary viewing situations. Like viewing angle, I have to look extremely hard for blooming and I can see it if I'm watching something when Dolby Vision is set at Max brightness and there's dark scene with a small bright object on the screen.

I think that only in a very few specific scenarios would viewing angle matter and thats in a very wide room where people are in chairs that are located out to the side and in front of the main viewing position where that position has the side chairs less than 5ft away from the TV wall.

My two cents.

On the other hand, if you have anything going on with your vision where you are extremely sensitive to screen judder, contrast, things of that nature, that viewing angles and motion control are going to be a real pita no matter what brand you buy. There are a few posters in the 950 owners thread that have these sensitivities and it creates an interesting situation where people like just don't see what those guys see and therefore can't appreciate the real issue that people with such sensitivities have when viewing these displays.


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post #3 of 17 Old 05-07-2020, 05:10 PM
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Turn off the light and check out a dark scene off axis on a TV with bad viewing angles. In ''normal'' conditions, like plenty of light off axis issues are less noticeable. So it is very much viewing environment related.
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-08-2020, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMak00 View Post
I think so. On multiple visits to Best Buy and a local TV store, I spent gone of time comparing the 65" 900F and 75" 950G and both of those against the comparably-sized Q70 and Q80.
It's very difficult to see raised blacks in brightly lit showrooms, so not a good place to look for off-angle issues. That's why LG IPS panel TVs look so nice in Best Buy. Black levels on the X900F and Q70R double in brightness at just 14° and 17° off angle, respectively. You'd have to notice that in a dark room. For the Q80R, that happens at 70° off angle according to Rtings. They didn't review the larger X950G models with the X-Wide angle layer, but measured 35° off angle for the Z9F which should be comparable. Other off angle issues, like color shift, brightness loss, and gamma shift are less noticeable in casual viewing to the untrained eye.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-08-2020, 05:04 AM
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Yes, absolutely viewing angles are overblown. They make it sound like if I move over a seat cushion I am going to notice a dramatic difference that will ruin the whole experience. Yes, if you measure it you can determine that there is a difference. However, in real world situations at normal sitting distances it just doesn't make a significant difference.

Honestly, a lot of these things are just misrepresented. People talk about the "native contrast" of a TV then totally neglect the fact that local dimming can make a HUGE difference. Some TVs have no local dimming, terrible color spectrum, and low overall contrast. Then the TV gets rated high because it has "better viewing angles". What difference does the viewing angle make when the TV starts out with such poor contrast and colors even when viewed straight on?

For me my single biggest factors for choosing a TV are contrast at its optimal setting, color spectrum, brightness, glare reduction, size per dollar, and then what flavors of HDR/Resolutions it supports. Those are factors everyone should be most concerned about.
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-08-2020, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_R_M View Post
I have fairly wide viewing angles in my room (extremes are at 27deg and 46deg). Is the picture degradation that significant or is it overrated? I am debating between the 85" Sony x900f or x950g whereby I am not sure the ~$500 difference is warranted or not. To me, it seems the main benefit would be the x-wide on the 950g due to my viewing angles. I plan to watch mostly sports, streaming, and gaming.
Very overrated I have a 75 inch z9d in the living room and have no issues viewing it from the couch even when I am a bit off-angle. I hear some reviewers talk about watching tv from an extreme angle and I agree that would degrade the quality but you would have to be out of your mind to watch a tv show in that manner.
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-08-2020, 06:17 PM
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Viewing angles are way overrated and you can thank Rtings for this as they overweight this component in their reviews IMO. They always make sure to mention in the highlights for every VA panel as a "minus" the "poor viewing angles" Like no duh VA is bad for angles, but who really cares?


Few people need or benefit from wide viewing angles...because very few people mount their TVs somewhere they aren't going to sit in front of. I mean the typical living-room TV is quite straightforward--you have your TV and then in more or less a straight line you have your couch/seating area where you're gonna do most of your viewing. This has to be the case for like 90% of people and how they mount their TV. Nobody's gonna put their TV in the hallway or in the kitchen when they're trying to watch it in the living room, LOL! Same thing in a bedroom you don't mount the TV in the washroom and then lie on your bed trying to see it from there, right? So viewing angle is mostly nonsense. That said there are people and situations where wide viewing angle is required. Speaking of the kitchen sure you may only be able to mount a kitchen TV away from where you'd be prepping food/cooking for example. Then yeah good viewing angle would be appreciated. But these are relatively niche situations where you really need the good angles. Same thing if you had a really wide seating area or were running a speakeasy erm bar or restaurant or something.


All that said if you do really need the wide viewing angles, and it sounds like OP may indeed, OLED is the best bet unless you have uses where OLED may burn. Sony's "x-wide" angle kinda sucks because of how much it degrades contrast and IPS suck for contrast too. Actually those Sony's with the "x-wide" business may as well be IPS--you might as well buy an X800 in that case as it's cheaper and IPS. But I don't really recommend IPS for TVs especially if a lot of movie watching in a darkened room will be happening. OLED is the only way you're gonna beat the poor contrast problem and get wide viewing angles at the same time. Samsung's "wide layer" (can't remember what they call it) is a bit better than Sony's and contrast doesn't suffer as much, but it does suffer. You end up with something in between IPS and VA in terms of angles and contrast. So that's one way to go but Samsungs ain't cheap either so might as well just get an OLED at that point.
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-08-2020, 06:58 PM
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I read that the picture can be uneven from side to side
on a screen as small as a 75 inch without wide viewing angle.

And also read that picture shift CAN be seen by moving over only 1 seating position off center on some models.

IF this is true it seems ridiculous to say the viewing angle is overrated.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-09-2020, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghonk View Post
I read that the picture can be uneven from side to side

on a screen as small as a 75 inch without wide viewing angle.



And also read that picture shift CAN be seen by moving over only 1 seating position off center on some models.



IF this is true it seems ridiculous to say the viewing angle is overrated.
"If" it is true.



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post #10 of 17 Old 05-09-2020, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA_DaveB View Post
It's very difficult to see raised blacks in brightly lit showrooms, so not a good place to look for off-angle issues. That's why LG IPS panel TVs look so nice in Best Buy. Black levels on the X900F and Q70R double in brightness at just 14° and 17° off angle, respectively. You'd have to notice that in a dark room. For the Q80R, that happens at 70° off angle according to Rtings. They didn't review the larger X950G models with the X-Wide angle layer, but measured 35° off angle for the Z9F which should be comparable. Other off angle issues, like color shift, brightness loss, and gamma shift are less noticeable in casual viewing to the untrained eye.
I also cited my experience in my viewing room.

The angle you have to get to on tvs like the 950g to see raised blacks or any other issue are extreme and therefore unlikely to be experienced by ordinary users and Invited one such unusual seating arrangement.

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post #11 of 17 Old 05-10-2020, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMak00 View Post
I also cited my experience in my viewing room.

The angle you have to get to on tvs like the 950g to see raised blacks or any other issue are extreme and therefore unlikely to be experienced by ordinary users and Invited one such unusual seating arrangement.

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I don't know what you are trying to say here. You have the 75" X950G with the X-wide angle layer, so your TV has good off angle viewing. I have two rooms in my beach house where off angle viewing of 45° or more is in play due to multiple seating areas. Both rooms have older plasma TVs with great off angle viewing so no matter where you sit, the PQ is the same. Lots of great rooms encompass a TV area, kitchen, and dining area with seating at various angles up to and over 45°. For those situations, viewing angle is significant. The layout in my Virginia house is completely different, with a family room/dining/kitchen that is a long, narrow room (15 ft. x 35 Ft.). There I have an older "QLED" VA panel with a very narrow viewing angle but in that room it is fine. So it's about getting a TV that is appropriate for the room.
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post #12 of 17 Old 05-10-2020, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghonk View Post
I read that the picture can be uneven from side to side
on a screen as small as a 75 inch without wide viewing angle.

And also read that picture shift CAN be seen by moving over only 1 seating position off center on some models.

IF this is true it seems ridiculous to say the viewing angle is overrated.
What you read and what you see are two different things. Depends on your viewing distance, room setup, lighting, etc. I don't think it's ridiculous to say because I've seen very few places where viewing angle is a problem (or a need I should say) for people. It's overrated unless you are in the relative minority or have a certain use case where you might need it. I'm sure there's tons of examples where it's needed but in the overall scheme of things, it's a relative few TVs bought that really need to have wide-angle consistency/performance. It can be important but unless you already know you need the angle performance, it probably isn't.

Publications like Rtings making it a "highlight" of every single VA-panel-TV they review seems a little silly. Sure have the section in the review, mention it's a VA panel but that's really all you need to do. I still firmly believe if you put people that know too much about TV/panel tech in front of two sets one with poor contrast and the other with great contrast and no other glaring differences, they will pick the one with the better contrast as "the better TV", the majority of the time. In other words contrast performance is usually much more linked to what makes "a good TV" than something like angle performance. Again though if it's important to you, then by all means make a point of getting a TV that performs well there. But people dreaming up scenarios like "oh what if I need to see the TV from this other area?" when they've never in their lives tried to even do that, doesn't make any sense.

Finally given the vast majority of TVs these days are VA, if this were a huge problem for people nobody would even buy LCD TVs to begin with as they'd all complain about the poor viewing angles. Which nobody does of course, making this an imaginary problem for the most part.
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-10-2020, 03:21 PM
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No. Not for me. It's so nice being able to see the C9 while we make dinner...... game changer for us.
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post #14 of 17 Old 05-11-2020, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post
What you read and what you see are two different things. Depends on your viewing distance, room setup, lighting, etc. I don't think it's ridiculous to say because I've seen very few places where viewing angle is a problem (or a need I should say) for people. It's overrated unless you are in the relative minority or have a certain use case where you might need it. I'm sure there's tons of examples where it's needed but in the overall scheme of things, it's a relative few TVs bought that really need to have wide-angle consistency/performance. It can be important but unless you already know you need the angle performance, it probably isn't.

Publications like Rtings making it a "highlight" of every single VA-panel-TV they review seems a little silly. Sure have the section in the review, mention it's a VA panel but that's really all you need to do. I still firmly believe if you put people that know too much about TV/panel tech in front of two sets one with poor contrast and the other with great contrast and no other glaring differences, they will pick the one with the better contrast as "the better TV", the majority of the time. In other words contrast performance is usually much more linked to what makes "a good TV" than something like angle performance. Again though if it's important to you, then by all means make a point of getting a TV that performs well there. But people dreaming up scenarios like "oh what if I need to see the TV from this other area?" when they've never in their lives tried to even do that, doesn't make any sense.

Finally given the vast majority of TVs these days are VA, if this were a huge problem for people nobody would even buy LCD TVs to begin with as they'd all complain about the poor viewing angles. Which nobody does of course, making this an imaginary problem for the most part.
I don't see how you can think like this. With the big boys (Sony, Sammy, etc) adding a filter to increase the viewing angle on ALL their flagship TVs, its seems as if they saw it as a problem and wanted to fix it. It's best to believe it came from consumer complaints.

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post #15 of 17 Old 05-11-2020, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post
Finally given the vast majority of TVs these days are VA, if this were a huge problem for people nobody would even buy LCD TVs to begin with as they'd all complain about the poor viewing angles. Which nobody does of course, making this an imaginary problem for the most part.
I was one who bought a 75 inch LCD and had to rationalize that the 'viewing angle was not that bad'....now I realize that means there was a noticeable viewing angle difference but I did not realize it until after the display was installed: my HT is one where my desk is in the same room and I often walk around: the change in viewing angle became a distraction to me until I replaced it with a similar size OLED

so my message is viewing angle can be extremely important unless your HT has a single seat in the sweet spot

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post #16 of 17 Old 05-15-2020, 10:35 AM
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Maybe things are better today, but in 2017 I bought a lower end 50" 4k Vizio. I went cheap with almost no research because the tv was not going to be used much. Sitting dead on straight the picture is pretty darn good. One sofa cushion to either side is fine as well. So that's like +/- 3' from center. Go out one more position and the picture is not so good. One more and it is horrible. I really can't believe how bad it is. Washed out color and an odd artificial look, almost like the whole thing is a bad green screen image.

But again, maybe three years later this is not a thing, or maybe if you are not buying low end model. I'll always be sure to check it out though, as there is no way I could live with my Vizio as my main or even secondary option.
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post #17 of 17 Old 05-17-2020, 10:28 AM
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I'm not speaking to the specific models mentioned by the OP but, in general, I think it's a completely situation-dependent question. For a living room display with a wide seating area and potential to be viewed from another room (kitchen, dining room, etc) it could matter MUCH more than a more dedicated space with a single well-positioned couch where the bulk of the viewing is done.

Case in point, I just had a Hisense 50H7C (2016 model) replaced under warranty with a newer 50H8F (2019 model). It is wall-mounted over a gas fireplace in a living room with a couch primary viewing location, side chairs to one side, and line of sight from the kitchen, office, and half-bath (which comes in handier than you'd think). Overall the new display is a marked improvement (AndroidTV, Dolby Vision, improved contrast/color, etc) with a notably improved picture at the main viewing location in every metric. That said, where the old 50H7C had minimal degradation of color depth regardless of viewing angle, the newer 50H8F sees a significant loss of color depth leading to a notably washed out image from the side chairs and from the kitchen. While viewing from these locations is rarely critical, it is noticeable and something I likely would have taken into more consideration if I'd been purchasing this model for primary/critical viewing and not simply receiving it as a warranty replacement for a 3.5-year-old Black Friday TV that's used for mainly casual viewing.

Again, this is purely anecdotal and isn't specific to the models the OP is referring to (and vastly outside of the price range he/she is in), but proof that it can matter and is totally situation-dependent.

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