Choosing the Proper TV Size

Choosing the Proper TV Size

Three important questions to ask yourself as you hunt for your new flat screen.

What Room Will It Be In?

The TV should be in proportion to the size of the room and the number of people who will be viewing it. With that in mind, CNET recommends at least a 32-inch screen for a bedroom or other small area and at least 50 inches for a living room or other entertaining space, with 60 inches and up being ideal. Considering a full-blown home movie theater? You’ve got a whole other set of questions to ask yourself.

How Far Away Will You Be Sitting?

Measure, in feet, the distance between the spot where you’ll most often be watching TV and the spot where your new TV will be positioned. Then take a look at this chart from Digital Trends, which will give you a rough idea of the screen size that works best for your particular minimum and maximum viewing distances.


Note: These are more general guidelines and are meant for aiding in—not making—your decision. If you want (and can afford) to go huge, do it!

Will It Be Wall Mounted?

Finally, decide whether you’ll be mounting your TV on the wall or simply setting it on a table, console or other piece of furniture. This is where the television’s weight becomes just as crucial as its screen size. When you’re hanging a TV, the easiest way to find the proper mount is through its manufacturer—but cheaper options often abound online. Once you’ve scored the mount, Popular Mechanics can walk you through the four-step hanging process, which doesn’t require a handyman. If you’re just setting your new TV on a console, there are still important safety tips to remember: Flat screens are deceptively easy for small children and pets to knock over, but anti-tip straps can prevent that from happening.

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