My viewing distance is 8-9 feet as well and I have a 51" and all is well. I was concerned I went too big when I was first hooking up the set, but after starting the first dvd, I was glad I didn't go any smaller.
Again I ask for advice on my TV purchase. My viewing area is 8-9 feet away. What size works for that distance? Is 46" too big? I am leaning toward that new Sony KP46WT500.
I think this is a hard decision to make and unfortunately difficult to tell until you have the set in front of you.
I've just gone up from a 27" 4:3 to a 43" 16:9 (36" 4:3) and I really contemplated getting a 50". Now I've got it, I'm glad I didnt go bigger - it would really dominate the room rather than being "part of it". I sit around 9' away.
You can always do the "cardboard" cutout approach - just create a box which represents the dimensions of the TV's you're thinking about and try it in your room! In retrospect it was a pretty good way of testing.
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