Choosing Your Screen Size

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Generally speaking, everybody loves a big screen TV! There’s nothing better than watching your favorite NFL team play on Sunday afternoon on a HDTV flat screen or gankin’ nubes on your gaming console of choice. But what screen size should you buy? Is bigger always better or is there a good reason to stay small? When choosing an HDTV, there are a few things you need to know about screen size as it relates to your home viewing area in addition to just getting a big screen HDTV. The lighting, number of inputs, and picture quality are all important, but the screen size is the first factor to consider.
Viewing Distance
TV Viewing Distance

Should You Be Concerned?

In the past, it was very important to calculate the distance from your chair to the TV set before purchasing a new HDTV. Because television resolution was relatively low, it was possible to make the mistake of buying a screen too large for your room. The result of sitting too close to a larger flat panel TV was lack of clarity and sometimes a screen-door type of effect where individual pixels became visible. To overcome this issue, a simple calculation would help choose the appropriate screen size:

Old Rule Of Thumb

The size of the screen is measured diagonally, from the top corner to the opposite bottom corner. Generally, one should not sit more than three times the measurement of the screen size away from the HDTV. In other words, the further back you sit, the larger the screen size needs to be. For example, if you purchase an HDTV with a 42 inch diagonal screen, you should be sitting within 10 feet of the television to appreciate the true feel of a big screen TV. Sitting further back will cause you to lose the surround feel that everyone enjoys with the big screen.

4K Saves The Day!

With the release of 4K Ultra HD displays, this rule-of-thumb is largely obsolete. Because these gorgeous screens have four times the resolution of standard 1080p sets, individuals can stand just a few feet from larger TVs and still enjoy incredible clarity. In addition, cinematically released movies have been filmed in 4K for several years and future HD content will be primarily in 4K UHD as well. In order to future-proof your new purchase, it may be prudent to invest in this cutting edge technology the next time you’re in the market for a new big screen.

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Room Lighting
TV Placement And Room Lighting

Does It Matter?

Improving picture quality is probably the biggest reason for buying a new television. While the latest generation of brand-name TVs all have an incredible picture, your room lighting can still effect the overall experience. The vast majority of HDTVs being sold today are LED or LCD sets. This technology does very well in bright or dark rooms alike.

Why Don’t TV Screens Have A Matte Finish?

In the past, manufacturers designed the screens with a matte finish to diminish reflection from windows or lights. Although this worked well for reducing glare, it also diminished the contrast on the screen and made it nearly impossible to achieve a true pitch-black on the screen. In addition to dismal contrast, these older matte finish displays lacked a protective screen and were open to destruction from flying Wii remotes, small children or accidental damage.

Why Glossy Screens Are Best

By adding a protective screen, manufacturers are able to not only protect the delicate LCD screens but also improve the overall viewing experience. Unfortunately, this brings back glare problems for individuals with bright rooms or a preponderance of windows. If most of your programs are viewed at night, placement is typically a small problem and is easily solved by moving a lamp or two. If, however, you are enjoying your TV during the day and have many windows to content with, it’s best to either invest in heavy curtains or find the best spot for your TV through trial-and-error and furniture movement.

Wall Mounting Can Solve Glare Problems

Eliminating on-screen glare can usually be solved by mounting your new flat screen TV on a tilting wall mount. By simply adjusting the tilt feature on these flexible brackets, most glare can be easily removed in a few minutes. For added convenience, choose a full motion TV bracket to enjoy effortless tilt action along with left and right movement. This supple hardware makes fine tuning adjustments a snap no matter what the lighting situation may be.

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Aspect Ratio
16:9 Aspect Ratio

What Is It?

The aspect ratio of nearly every TV today is 16:9 meaning for every sixteen inches of width, there will be nine inches of height as shown in the illustration. This is the standard ratio for most movies, HD television shows and even video games. Occasionally there will be a small black bar on the top and bottom of the screen when watching cinematically released movies, even when being viewed on a wide screen TV. This effect is called letterboxing and occurs when the film being watched was recorded in a wider format than your 16:9 screen. Throughout the years, studios have experimented with various aspect ratios for their films resulting in a wide variety of aspect ratios in film. Released in 1953 by Universal Pictures, the 1.85:1 ratio is very common but by no means exclusive.

Older TVs had a 4:3 aspect ratio and appeared more square in shape. When watching re-runs of older television shows on a wide screen TV, you may notice a prominent black bar on the left and right side of the screen. This effect is called pillarboxing and is necessary to preserve the integrity of the older video. Some TVs allow users to zoom in to fill the screen or stretch the picture. Although this eliminates the black bars, the resulting image will be either a lower resolution or distorted. Luckily, most TV programs are now filmed in 16:9 HD and will fit your new screen nicely.

TV Inputs

What Inputs & Outputs Should A TV Have?

Other factors to consider include how many inputs the TV has and the types you need to connect all your gear. Luckily, HDMI connections are very common now and make connecting HD components very easy. One cord provides both digital sound and amazing HD picture with little hassle. With newer televisions sets, however, you may be out of luck if you own older analog technology that you would like to plug in. Because modern TVs are very thin and compact, many manufactures are eliminating older RCA and Component Video connections to save room. Are VCR and Wii owners out of luck? Not if you add an AV Receiver to your home theater! Most receivers have plenty of older analog red, white and yellow AV inputs as well as component video, digital, and even S-Video connections on some models. These flexible devices will convert all your older video sources to digital and allow the video to be transferred to your new TV via an HDMI cable. Although the analog video is being converted to digital, keep in mind the quality will not be high definition and won’t compare to a true HD signal. Shop AV Receivers
Wall Mount or TV Stand
Once you have your HDTV purchased, you will have to consider mounting it or placing it on or in a TV cabinet. The easiest method is to use the stand that comes with the HDTV and place it on the entertainment center. Should you choose to mount it on the wall; you need to consider the glare from windows, correct height for viewing, and ensure that the TV is mounted and leveled. You can always hire a professional to mount your new flat screen HDTV, but with the right tools, it is something most of us can do on our own (Watch How To Mount Your Large Screen TV ). For more information on this topic, or any topic related to HDTVs, browse our Learning Center or shop OneCall for the best deals in electronics. We provide a number of products and topic areas for any and all related inquiries. Shop TV Stands