Q. My husband and I are constantly fighting over how far we should sit in front of the TV. He says it should be six feet or so while I say that’s too close. What say you? What’s the right distance? — Mickey, Dunkirk, Maryland. 

Mickey, that’s a complicated question without an easy answer. It depends on the size of the screen, and whether you have a 4K TV or a regular High-Definition set. Let me explain, starting with 4K.

4K TV offers four times the resolution of a typical High-Definition TV. But to really appreciate the extra pixels on screen, you need to sit closer to the screen than you normally would. Otherwise, you may not see some of the details that are visible in 4K that may not be displayed in the high-def picture.

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So, how close should you sit?

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Sony, which makes a myriad of 4K TV models, recommends sitting 1.5 times the vertical screen size of the TV, which is twice as close from where you should sit in front of a High-Definition model.

For instance, if you have a 55-inch 4K TV, you should sit roughly 3.5 feet to 4 feet away from the screen. If you have a 65-inch 4K set, you should sit about 4.5 feet to 5 feet away. And if you have a 75-inch 4K TV, you should sit around 5.5 feet to 6 feet away.  (Please note the calculations are based on ‘vertical size,’ not the diagonal or horizontal size of the set. Here is the calculation done on Sony’s site.)

Now that may sound like it’s a bit close. Well, it is. And it’s one of the little secrets of 4K TV. You definitely have to sit closer to the screen to get the full experience. That’s why I recommend never buying a 4K TV smaller than 55 inches in vertical size. And if you can afford it, go bigger.

Now, what about a HDTV?

According to Sony, you should sit three times the vertical size of the HDTV screen, which translates to the following:

22-Inch HDTV — 31 inches away (2.59 feet)
26-inch HDTV — 39 inches away (3.25 feet)
32-inch HDTV — 47 inches away (3.92 feet)
40-inch HDTV — 59 inches away (4.92 feet)
46-inch HDTV — 67 inches away (5.58 feet)
50-inch HDTV — 75 inches away (6.25 feet)
55-inch HDTV — 83 inches away (6.92 feet)
60-inch HDTV — 90 inches away (7.55 feet)

At those distances, Sony says you will best experience the high-def picture without straining your eyes, and your noggin.

Mickey, hope that helps. Happy Viewing!

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— Phillip Swann