The dynamic chart and calculators on this website are derived from studies done by various television and movie industry organizations such as SMPTE and THX. These recommendations are based on studies that reflect the visual acuity and comfort of the viewer with respect to the display of motion pictures. The current trend in televison is to provide increasing amounts of detail and contrast in the displayed picture. This provides a perception of detail unparalleled in earlier television systems. The detail is most apparent when the viewer is within a certain distance from a given size screen.
These calculators address widescreen 16:9 ratio displays regardless of the screen composition. While modern television sets are capable of displaying astonishing detail, the program source may limit the quality of the picture. VHS video tapes are at the low end of detail. Increasing in detail are DVDs, HDTV, and UHD TV. Due to this span of program quality, the chart suggests a television in the middle of the range for any given distance. For High Definition TV sets, this will allow old tapes to be shown without excessive blurriness, but still allow the detail of HD to be enjoyed. For UHD TV sets, this will prevent blurriness with HD material on the larger screens while allowing the superior detail of UHD material to be seen.
If the viewer is not interested in a mid sized screen, a size calculator is available to determine minimum and maximum screen sizes. The maximum size is suggested for those viewers interested in simulating a theater experience with the exclusive use of either 2k for HDTV sets or 4k programming for UHD sets. The minimum size is suggested for those viewers who want the ability to enjoy a library of lower resolution programming - VHS tapes for HDTV sets and HDTV programming for UHD sets. If the viewer already has a TV and wants to know the best viewing distance, a distance calculator will provide the best range. The minimum distance is suggested for those viewers interested in simulating a theater experience while the maximum distance is suggested for those viewers who want the ability to enjoy a library of relatively lower resolution programming.
The chart and calculators are basic guidelines for use at the viewer's discretion.
Originally written by George Stantial as an aid to technical staff in the cable television industry, TelevisionTutor is now designed to help the television consumer seeking additional information.