Q. I read your article about how you should sit really close to a 4K TV because the resolution is so high. But is that really true? You say you should sit just three feet away from a 55-inch set! I think you have your math messed up. — Quinn, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Quinn, you are referring to my September 19, 2018 article, “4K TV: How Far Away Should You Sit?” In the article, I explain that you do have to sit closer to a 4K set than a HDTV to truly see the increased number of pixels on the 4K screen. The extra pixels allow the 4K TV to deliver four times the resolution of a high-def set.
I also note in the article that Sony recommends that you sit 1.5 times the vertical inches of a 4K TV. For example, Sony says you should sit around 3 to 3.5 feet away from a 55-inch 4K TV while you should sit around 4 to 4.5 feet away from a 65-inch set. (See Sony’s web page on how close you should sit in front of a 4K TV.)
Since my article was published, several readers have sent me e-mails or posted comments here that say I have no idea how to do a math calculation. They are incredulous that anyone should have to sit just three feet in front of a TV.
“This guy needs a math lesson,” wrote one reader.
But what these readers fail to understand is that Sony says you should multiply the ‘vertical inches’ of the TV by 1.5, not the diagonal or horizontal inches. (I say ‘vertical inches’ in the article, but I can understand how someone might think you are supposed to use 55 inches, or 65 inches, depending upon the set.)
The ‘vertical inches’ is the inches from the top to the bottom of the screen, which is considerably less than the horizontal or diagonal inches. So when you multiple the ‘vertical inches’ by 1.5, you get a smaller number, such as three feet or four feet.
So I hope that clarifies the matter. And if you still don’t think you need to sit that close to a 4K TV, I’ll sum up by quoting from Sony’s web page on 4K TV:
“The recommended distance when viewing a video or a program from a 4K TV is 1.5 times of the TV vertical screen size,” Sony says. “The naked eye can’t differentiate individual pixels when watching a 4K TV from this distance. This means that pixels effectively disappear when viewing 4K images. Thus, creating an impression of watching the image with the same detail and resolution as real life.”
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— Phillip Swann