How to Select the Best TV for Your Room
How do you select the best TV for your room? There is a plethora of choices, sizes, and an alphabet soup of acronyms like OLED, QLED, LED, UHD, etc. It can send you into a rabbit hole of Internet research. You should also think about the TV’s sound, how you will mount it, and what height it should be. The purpose of this article is to provide clarity to this purchasing decision and get you closer to sitting on your sofa enjoying a great entertainment experience.
What Size TV Should You Purchase?
What is the right size TV for you? Most consumer complaints are that their TV “could be larger," not “my TV is too big.” So, the first piece of advice to avoid schlepping the TV back to the store, paying re-stocking fees, or managing an unpleasant return process is…think big!
Just how big should your TV be? Since today’s televisions are very high resolution, you can get quite close to the TV without seeing pixels. Using the formula for “minimum viewing distance”, which is 1.5x the screen width, you will come to the realization that you only have to be about 8.75 feet back from the TV for an 85” diagonal display (all sizes in this article refer to diagonal TV size). This is probably much closer than you expected to be away from the TV.
As an exercise, we recommend placing some blue painters’ tape on a wall to represent the outer dimensions of a TV. By doing this, you probably will conclude that the TV you thought was “too large” looks smaller than expected on the wall. This is a no-cost and easy exercise to do prior to finalizing your TV size.
If you are debating between two sizes (a 65” and 75” for instance), always choose the larger size. An important note: Manufacturer’s websites always list two heights – with a stand – or without a stand. Choose “without stand” if you intend to mount it on a wall. Choose “with stand” if you plan to place it on top of a piece of furniture.
TV Size by Location
You typically have your larger televisions in rooms like your Family Room, Living Room, Den, Recreation Room, or Media Room. The smallest size we recommend for those rooms is a 65”. Most rooms like this can accommodate a 75”, 85”, or 100” with ease (If you are planning on a dedicated Home Cinema space, the screens are typically much larger than this and will not be specifically addressed in this article. Read ‘Home Theater vs. Media Room – What is the Difference?’ for more information on this topic)
Secondary locations like your Exercise Room, Office, or Main Bedroom, are generally going to require a smaller television. We typically recommend a 55”- 65” in a standard sized gym, a 55" - 65” for your home office (mostly used as background sound/video though 65” is great for videoconferencing), and a 55” - 65” in the main bedroom. Guest rooms usually require a 43” - 55” and Kitchens require smaller screens in the 24” to 32” range. Don’t rule out an iPad as a small TV for the kitchen. With a beautiful base station like the IPORT LUXE, this is a decent option for a small countertop TV.
The above are simply standard guidelines. If you love to watch a lot of blockbuster films in your bedroom, by all means go big!
A vital consideration for TV selection is the room width. If you have some critical viewing seats that are out to the side of the TV and not near the center line of sight, you may want to select an OLED TV. These TVs have a wider viewing angle than typical LCD and LED TVs so the viewers to the side don’t see a darker image just because they are not in the center seat. OLED TVs are premium quality options within a particular brand, so you are not just paying for the wide-angle capability, you are also paying for improved black levels and a more dynamic image. In short it is worth the extra spend.
How High Should You Mount Your TV?
This is an area that almost everyone gets wrong. In current home designs, there are far fewer places to put a TV and most of them are far from ideal. A standard Family Room design uses the fireplace as a focal point and the rest of the room is all windows with no wall space. This design generally requires you to place the TV above the fireplace, which is always too high. Your eye wants to land in the range of the middle to the bottom third of the screen when you are seated. This is by far the most comfortable viewing angle. If you are mounting a 65” TV at the correct height, the bottom of the TV is roughly 2 feet off the floor. A standard fireplace mantel is 5 feet off the ground. Less than ideal! Place that TV as low as you can when the room design allows. There are specialized TV lifts that can fix the TV height problem as they mount above the fireplace mantel and then articulate out away from the wall and lower to a more appropriate height when watching TV. Your home technology integrator can guide you to these solutions.
Also make sure to keep any obstacles in mind that could create a blocked view. This is referring to coffee table decor, stacks of books, bed footboards, and other furniture. Be sure that you are not going to block any part of the image once you select your height.
How to Get the Best Sound for Your TV
When finalizing the height, also consider the height of a soundbar or center channel speaker. For this article, we are assuming you will use either one of these sound options, as the built-in speakers on TVs leaves a lot to be desired! The laws of physics dictate that you cannot have a powerful and enveloping sound experience that pulls you into the action using the tiny speakers built into the TV. Therefore, we highly recommend a dedicated surround sound system for the best sound, or a soundbar if budget and room design dictate.
You want to locate your center channel speaker or soundbar as close to your ear level as possible, which typically dictates that you are mounting the soundbar beneath the TV. A premium quality soundbar is typically about 2.5” - 7” high. Center channel speakers vary in height, and even can be flush-mounted into the wall. Take your center channel or soundbar height into consideration before finalizing your TV height. As always, consult a qualified home technology pro for advice on what best suits your application.
Mounting Your TV
What type of TV mount is appropriate? Or should you just place the TV on a piece of furniture? Either one will work so it largely depends on your desired TV height and the look you desire. If you are in an apartment, you may not be allowed to drill into the wall to hide wire. You also may not have an electrical outlet where you want to place the TV. In this case, a piece of furniture may be your best bet.
If mounting your TV on a wall is your final decision, you need the correct bracket type. Your options are tilt brackets, flat brackets, or an articulating arm. Select a tilt bracket if you need to mount the TV high. The tilt mount will give you the flexibility to angle the TV towards a lower seating position. This can also eliminate seeing ceiling lights reflected in the TV.
Tilt brackets are a little deeper than a flat bracket so your TV will stick off the wall an extra inch or so. If you have more than one location for viewing the TV, an articulating arm TV bracket is a great choice, though again, this is an even thicker bracket and will make your set protrude off the wall an additional 3 or 4 inches. There are motorized versions of tilt brackets and articulating arms available, too.
Assuming you can mount the TV at the correct height, and you have a single viewing position, a flat bracket is the lowest cost, thinnest, and best option. A qualified home technology installer can take the installation to the next level with a recessed TV mount for any of these mounting options that allows the bracket to completely recess into the wall.
A home tech pro will also give you options to hide a TV behind a mirror or with a motorized lift that hides the TV in a cabinet, under your bed, in a ceiling, or under the floor when not in use.
Enjoy your new Television. We hope you can “go big” and we hope this helped you create an immersive home television viewing experience with the perfect size TV in the perfect location. For expert advice on TV choices, sound systems, and installation, reach out to a local HTA Certified home technology pro here.