Q. I am always unsure how many feet away you should sit from your TV. And it gets even more confusing when you’re talking about a HDTV or 4K TV because I know it’s different for both of them. So can you give us a guide to how close you should sit when watching either one? — Terry, Hagerstown, Maryland. 

Terry, that’s a complicated question without an easy answer. It depends on the size of the screen, and, yes, whether you have a 4K TV or a regular High-Definition set. You do need to sit closer to a 4K set than a high-def one.

Why is that?

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.

So below are my recommendations for the optimum viewing distance to watch a 4K TV.

4K TV Viewing Distance
40-inch — 3 to 3.5 feet.
43-inch — 3.5 to 4.5 feet.
50-inch — 4.5 to 5.5 feet.
55-inch — 5 to 6 feet
60-inch — 5.5 to 6.5 feet

65-inch — 6 to 7 feet
70-inch — 6.5 to 7.5 feet
75-inch — 7.5 to 8.5 feet
80-inch — 8.5 to 9.5 feet
85-inch — 9.5 to 10.5 feet

There are some videophiles who would recommend sitting even closer, but at these distances, you will likely feel most comfortable while also ensuring the best visual experience.

Now, what about a HDTV?

As you’ll see below, I would recommend sitting around three to four feet further away for a high-def TV.

HDTV Viewing Distance
32-inch HDTV — 4 to 6 feet
40-inch HDTV — 5 to 7 feet
50-inch HDTV — 6 to 8 feet
55-inch HDTV — 7 to 9 feet
60-inch HDTV — 8 to 10 feet

65-inch HDTV — 9 to 11 feet
70-inch HDTV — 10-12 feet
75-inch HDTV — 11-13 feet

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

Final note: These are recommendations. Don’t be shy about making adjustments based on individual preference, room dimensions and lighting factors. I tend to prefer sitting closer to a TV than some people. So if you feel more comfortable being further away, it’s your choice.

Terry, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann