Optimum seating distance is a compromise between getting the widest image -- a viewing angle that fills what the eye can see for an "immersive" experience -- vs. staying far enough away so that you can't see the problems in the image due to bad source content or low display resolution.
Here's a url to a site that will calculate various types of recommended viewing angles / distances for you.
The more HDTV you watch, the closer you will want to sit. High quality DVD works well at good HDTV distances, but you may find scenes where you wish you were a bit further back. Standard definition television viewing will show it's flaws if you sit that close.
As an example, for my Fujitsu P50 plasma, I targeted a viewing distance of 7 to 10 feet with the expectation that I'd be doing most of my critical viewing with HDTV or high quality DVD. I have the comfy sofa set so that my eyes are 9 feet from the center front surface of the plasma when my head is rested back on the chair. Thus I'm still within my target range if I sit up or lean forward, or if I happen to be standing behind the chair.
With this setup, it's pretty easy to see the flaws in standard definition TV, but I'm used to them so they don't bother me. The view is "immersive" without being "overwhelming". And I don't see the details of the technology, such as the pixels that make up the image.
I have been in the "research" mode, shopping for a widescreen to replace my 20-year old XBR (still a pristine picture!). And with recent WAF input, have decided to go for an HD plasma. And based on what I've read previously on the forum, had gotten the size choices down to between a 37" and a 42". My seating position will be about 7 feet from the screen.
But now this calculator seems to be telling me I need to go for a 50" model!
Can this be?!
I've viewed plasmas in UE, BB, and Sears, but haven't been back recently to try from a 7 foot distance. There isn't much HD available where I live. My input will be mostly SD and DVD. Seems like if I go for a 50" display I might be in for a lot of SDE.
There isn't much HD available where I live. My input will be mostly SD and DVD. Seems like if I go for a 50" display I might be in for a lot of SDE.
Sound & Vision Nov 2004 issue has an excellent article re: the extent of HDTV across the USA including cable providers.
For the Tucson (OTA) area they show, the following HD channels:
KUAS (PBS) 28
KUAT (PBS) 30
KGUN (ABC) 35
For Tucson-Sierra Vista
KTTU (UPN) 19
KHRR (Telemundo) 42
KOLD (CBS) 32
KVOA (NBS) 23
As for 50" displays I don't believe you will find any EDTV models ( I could be wrong, but I don't recall any), 50" models will be high def and most will have a nominal 1366x768 native resolutions, thus I don't believe you will be in for much SDE, unless you are viewing at about 1 to 2 feet.
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