What size TV should I buy?
What size TV should I buy?
By Martin Pratt
Article 1 of 5
When shopping for a TV, one of the first things you'll need to decide on is size. Too small and you'll squinting at your favourite shows, while too big a TV will dominate the room and you won't be sat far enough away to take it all in.
It can be tempting to try and save money by opting for a smaller set, or to just 'go big' with the largest you can afford, but finding the optimal size for a living space can really help to enhance the experience.
With modern TVs offering thinner bezels, it's surprisingly how neatly a larger screen might fit in a space, but conversely, a model that's too small could look out of place.
Fortunately our TV screen size calculator can help you make the perfect choice. Simply work out the distance between where you'd sit and the position of the TV, and adjust the slider below.
No matter what price, size or type is right for you, we've got you covered with our expert TV reviews
How to measure your TV screen
Rather than measuring the width of the screen you need to check the distance from corner to corner diagonally. Don't include the bezels, just the screen itself.
If you can't find your tape measure then check the model number of your TV instead. You can usually find it on a label on the back of the body. The first number in the model name is always the screen size in inches. The LG 49SK8500PLA, for example, has a 49-inch display, while the Panasonic TX-65FZ802B has a 65-inch one.
How close should you sit to a 4K TV?
The suggested viewing distances in the tool above are based on high-definition televisions, but many now come with 4K ultra HD screens, meaning you can sit that little bit closer. Pictures on these TVs can have four times the detail of a Full HD set, but you really need to go 40-inch or larger to appreciate the jump in picture quality.
So if you're expecting to watch 4K content, don't be afraid to opt for sets at the upper end of the scale shown above - or even a bit higher. For example, with a 40-inch 4K TV, 7 feet should be a comfortable distance.
Ultimately, though, how close you sit to your TV - whether it's a HD or 4K model - is down to your own personal preference and the way you've set up your living room.
After you've decided which size TV is best for you, the other pages in this guide round up the best 32-inch, 40 to 43-inch, 49 to 55-inch, and 60 and 65-inch TVs from our rigorous, independent testing.
Other things to consider
Viewing angle: Some TVs can lose colour accuracy and contrast when you're not watching the picture directly straight on. It's a bit like the image is being washed out. With TVs, this can be a problem if you have a narrow living room or often watch TV with a big group of people. Check our expert reviews for viewing angle ratings for every television that we test.
Curved screens: Many TVs from the big brands now have curved screens rather than flat. They're claimed to 'wrap' the picture around you like with IMAX, but the effect is subtle at best, and you have to sit straight on to really see it. Also, the screens can occasionally appear a little warped, particularly when lights reflects off them.
The stand: generally, the bigger the TV the bigger the stand will be and while this is usually the case buying a new big-screen TV doesn't necessarily mean you need to throw away your old media unit. Some TVs have a central stand, while others have separate feet at each end of the screen. If you have a smaller unit then look for a set with a central stand.