Ask the Editors: Best Screen Size for My Media Room?

screen size

Q: I’m shopping for a new TV, and I’m trying to determine the best screen size and technology for my media room. The choice is down to the 65″ LG 65C7 OLED TV or the 75″ Sony XBR-75X900E LED-LCD TV. Both are roughly $3000. It’s about 10 feet from the couch to the wall where the TV will be. The room is in a basement, where there is a little natural light from a casement window behind the couch and another one on a side wall, but they are small and I can cover them up if needed.

I’ll be using the new TV to watch sports and movies. My main source is DirecTV, and I’ll also have an Apple TV 4K.

I don’t think 65″ is too small, but is 75″ too large? Will 65″ look better since most of the content will be from DirecTV and therefore not 4K/UHD? In other words, is 75″ too large for DirecTV content? Most people I’ve asked about this have said get the larger set.

– Brian Dime (B-Dime)

A: At a viewing distance of 10 feet, 75″ is closer to the ideal screen size than 65″. Also, most shoppers get a TV that’s too small for their situation. And by all accounts I’ve read, the Sony X900E is a fine LED-backlit LCD TV with FALD (full-array local dimming). It also produces brighter HDR highlights than the LG OLED. However, the LG OLED produces better blacks, which is important for movies but not as much for sports.

The Sony X900E does not support Dolby Vision high dynamic range, and it won’t get a firmware update to do so because it’s processor isn’t up to that particular task. The LG 65C7 OLED TV does support Dolby Vision. While Dolby Vision isn’t all that important right now, I believe it will become more so in the future, especially with streaming content. Plus, the Apple TV 4K supports Dolby Vision, which I would want to take advantage of.

You’re right to be concerned about lower-resolution content on a very large screen. The larger the screen, the more difficult it is to hide any imperfections, including those created by the upscaler. Generally speaking, Sony’s video processing—including upscaling—is very good, but I haven’t had an opportunity to compare the X1 processor in the X900E with the X1 Extreme in Sony’s higher-end models.

Another factor is off-axis viewing. If you expect to have people watching from more than just a bit off axis, the picture quality of the Sony—and virtually all LCD TVs—will deteriorate. From the photo you sent (seen above), people sitting on the side leg of the couch will be pretty far off axis, so the image quality will be obviously degraded for them. On the other hand, the LG OLED will look just as good to them as it does to those sitting directly on axis.

Motion blur during fast motion is excellent on both sets, so that’s a wash. I don’t watch sports, but they should look great on either set.

For your room, I’d get the LG 65C7. I know that most people have recommended the larger Sony for you, but I would be concerned about off-axis performance, especially with people sitting on the side leg of the couch. Also, I would rather have the deeper blacks and Dolby Vision capabilities of the LG over the larger screen size of the Sony.

But those are definitely my preferences, which may or may not match yours. Which is more important to you, a larger screen or off-axis performance? Also, deeper blacks and Dolby Vision are important for movies, but not so much for sports. So, the LG is better for movies, but either one will work well for sports. The good news is that both sets are excellent, so you can’t really go wrong either way.

I’m sure that other AVS Forum members have their own opinions on this, and I welcome their comments.

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