TV Answer Man, I have a 4K TV and I watched both the ESPN and Fox games in 4K on Saturday. I have to tell that I was not that impressed with the picture. It seemed about the same as HDTV. A friend told me after the games that you need to sit closer to the screen for 4K or it will look no better than HDTV. Is that true? And how close should you sit? I have a 65-inch 4K TV and I sit about 10 feet away. — Mark, Huntsville, Alabama.

Mark, there are usually three or four college football games in 4K every weekend during the season and hardly a weekend goes by without at least one reader sending me an e-mail that says he or she does not think the 4K picture is any better than HD. There are many reasons why this could be the case, but today I want to tackle your particular question:

How close should you sit in front of a 4K TV?

The answer: Thisclose!

Yes, Mark, your friend is right. 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 but may not be displayed in the high-def picture.

Give it a try the next time you watch a 4K game. You will be surprised at how the picture will look more realistic and vivid.

So how close is close?

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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. (Mark, it’s interesting that you are sitting 10 feet away from your 4K TV, which is about the right distance for a HDTV. Old habits are hard to break.)

Of course, 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. If you feel more comfortable being further away, it’s your choice.

Final note: Fox this week is streaming two college football games in 4K. See this article for more details.

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

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