Find The Best Viewing Position For Your TV

Matthew Cox | February 22, 2023 8:42 am

Precious, well-earned money spent on the TV of your dreams can quickly become a literal pain in the neck if you haven’t aligned it properly with your viewing position. 

Setting up a new TV or readjusting your current TV’s positioning involves calculations and measurements. Still, a few minutes spent doing so will result in a far more pleasurable viewing experience for you and your loved ones or friends. When setting up a new TV, there are a few key factors to consider that can not only make you feel more comfortable while enjoying your favorite series or catching the game but accurately positioning your TV and viewing position will enhance picture quality, too, allowing you to take more from experience.

While larger TV screens are often more exciting and impressive, the wrong size can quickly send your money down the drain as you are presented with more problems than solutions. When buying a new TV, the most crucial factor to consider is the size and layout of your room: buying the largest TV you can find won’t improve picture quality if you’re watching it from too close a distance. Instead of an immersive picture, you’ll be presented with eye strain and pixelated imagery. 

television placement

TV Positioning: Some Tips to Follow

Positioning a TV isn’t as simple as drilling holes in the wall and calling it a day. While it will certainly get the job done, i.e., getting your TV onto the wall, you’ll often find that without proper calculation and planning, you’ll need to readjust your TV several times to find your ideal viewing position. Following these steps will save countless frustrating hours of hole patching, couch lifting, and spirit leveling.

TV Height

Before you buy a new TV, consider cutting a piece of cardboard to the same dimensions and mounting it on your wall. 

The size of a TV set is one of the main influencing factors of the price of the TV, and while bigger may seem better, a massive TV won’t always work in your living space. A TV that is too big can throw your interior design style out the window and may not be practically viewable, depending on the size and shape of your room. 

When it comes to positioning your TV, we recommend avoiding corners. Placing your TV along a flat wall and a good few feet away from any corners or major obstructions is recommended since this not only sets you up for a more easily obtainable viewing position but also allows space for a properly-placed sound system.  

Testing the height and angle of your TV using similarly-sized cardboard not only helps you decide if the TV is a suitable fit for your space but also allows you to make sure you have your positioning perfect before you start drilling holes and making semi-permanent adjustments- there’s nothing worse than settling in to watch your first movie on your new Tv to discover that the height or angle will cause neck strain or pain. 

If you’re certain the size of the TV is what you’re looking for, you can skip the cardboard mock-up and go ahead and buy the unit. However, I’d still recommend getting a friend or two to hold the TV in various positions to determine and mark the ideal mounting based on your viewing distance, height, and angle. 

If you’re placing your TV on a stand or cabinet, we’ve found the best height (for most couches, based on the average height of a person) to be around 20 inches from the floor, or if you’re dealing with a larger TV set, have the middle of the TV around 43 inches from the ground. If your TV cabinet is a little shorter or taller, it’s nothing to worry about too seriously. However, you may need to adjust your viewing distance accordingly. 

TV Angle

When it comes to viewing angles, you’d ideally want to be looking straight at the screen. However, you’ll need to do some calculations if you have an L-shaped couch or seating arrangement that isn’t exactly parallel to the TV. 

While there are no hard rules here, we generally recommend a viewing angle between 0 and 15 degrees. However, a few degrees on either side won’t do any serious harm, provided it isn’t greater than 30 degrees, or you’ll quickly experience neck pains and eye fatigue.  

If you mount the TV in your bedroom, your ideal viewing angle and height will change slightly since you’ll likely view it from your bed. We recommend a much higher mounting for these applications, with a downward slope between 90 and 100 degrees. 

TV Viewing Distance

The distance you position yourself from your TV is as important as angle and height. While larger TV screens are far more appealing and impressive than smaller screens, if your viewing distance is incorrect, you’ll be shot back to square one regarding picture quality and definition. 

Finding the correct viewing distance depends on your TV’s size and the type of screen it has. If your TV is a traditional 1080p HDTV system, you can calculate your viewing distance by measuring the diagonal width of the screen and applying a 1.5-2.5: 1 ratio of TV size to distance. Here are some common TV sizes for examples:

TV Size (1080p HD TV)Ideal Viewing Distance
40″5 to 8.5 ft from TV screen
43″5.5 to 9 ft from TV screen
50″6.5 to 10.5 ft from TV screen
55″7 to 11.5 ft from TV screen
60″7.5 to 12.5 ft from TV screen
65″8 to 13.5 ft from TV screen
70″9 to 14.5 ft from TV screen
75″9.5 to 15.5 ft from TV screen
80″10 to 16.5 ft from TV screen
85″10.5 to 17.5 ft from TV screen

If you’re running a 4K Ultra HD TV set, you can afford to get closer to the TV without straining your eyes. Refer to the below table as a guide to viewing distance for 4K Ultra HD TV screens:

TV Size (4K Ultra HD TV)Ideal Viewing Distance
40″3.5 to 5 ft from TV screen
43″3.5 to 5.5 ft from TV screen
50″4 to 6.5 ft from TV screen
55″4.5 to 7 ft from TV screen
60″5 to 7.5 ft from TV screen
65″5.5 to 8 ft from TV screen
70″6 to 9 ft from TV screen
75″6.5 to 9.5 ft from TV screen
80″6.5 to 10 ft from TV screen
85″7 to 10.5 ft from TV screen

What About Outdoor TVs?

Outdoor TV viewing angles are an important consideration when setting up a TV for use in an outdoor space. The ideal viewing angle will depend on the area’s layout and the TV’s position. Generally, it is best to place the TV at a high enough level so the viewer can see the screen clearly and comfortably. The screen should also be angled slightly downward to reduce glare and improve visibility. It is also important to consider the ambient lighting in the area and choose a TV with a high enough brightness to ensure the picture is clear and easy to see, even in direct sunlight.

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Author: Matthew Cox

A sound engineering student and musician, Matthew enjoys writing and performing music, working in the studio, and geeking out over anything audio-related.

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