I have done some independent research on this and am not comfortable with the FAQ's answer here. As I read it, the FAQ is giving the minimum distance so that you do not see see the pixels on the screen. However, you also should consider the minimum distance for a 50" or 42" widescreen TV, regardless of whether it is plasma.
After doing some hunting around on the web, it seems that you divide the screen size by .4. So for 50", a minimum viewing distance would be 120", or 10 feet from the screen. For a 42", it looks like 8 feet.
If you are within the above distance and the distances from the FAQ page, I suspect that you will still be far enough away so that the pixels are not discernible, but the picture may be overwhelming for that distance.
There is one correct answer: You need to decide what size is right for your room and your couch and your eyes and your brain. I like a smaller display than most for a given distance, but that doesn't make me right -- or make them right either.
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