1080p Does Matter – Here’s When (Screen Size vs. Viewing Distance vs. Resolution)

I’ve read various articles debating the importance of the 1080p. I want to set the record straight once and for all: if you are serious about properly setting up your viewing room, you will definitely benefit from 1080p (and even 1440p.) Why? Because the 1080p resolution is the first to deliver enough detail to your eyeball when you are seated at the proper distance from the screen. But don’t just take my word for it: read on for the proof.

There are a few obvious factors to being able to detect resolution differences: the resolution of the screen, the size of the screen, and the viewing distance. To be able to detect differences between resolutions, the screen must be large enough and you must sit close enough. So the question becomes “How do I know if need a higher resolution or not?”. Here is your answer.

Based on the resolving ability of the human eye, it is possible to estimate when the differences between resolutions will become apparent. A person with 20/20 vision can resolve 60 pixels per degree, which corresponds to recognizing the letter “E” on the 20/20 line of a Snellen eye chart from 20 feet away. Using the Home Theater Calculator spreadsheet as a base, I created a chart showing, for any given screen size, how close you need to sit to be able to detect some or all of the benefits of a higher resolution screen. (Click the picture below for a larger version.)

Resolution vs. Screen Size vs. Viewing Distance Chart

What the chart shows is that, for a 50-inch screen, the benefits of 720p vs. 480p start to become apparent at viewing distances closer than 14.6 feet and become fully apparent at 9.8 feet. For the same screen size, the benefits of 1080p vs. 720p start to become apparent when closer than 9.8 feet and become full apparent at 6.5 feet. In my opinion, 6.5 feet is closer than most people will sit to their 50″ plasma TV (even through the THX recommended viewing distance for a 50″ screen is 5.6 ft). So, most consumers will not be able to see the full benefit of their 1080p TV.

However, front projectors and rear projection displays are a different story. They make it very easy to obtain large screen sizes. Plus, LCD and Plasma displays are constantly getting larger and less expensive. In my home, for example, I have a 123-inch screen and a projector with a 1280×720 resolution. For a 123-inch screen, the benefits of 720p vs. 480p starts to become apparent at viewing distances closer than 36 feet (14 feet behind my back wall) and become fully apparent at 24 feet (2 feet behind my back wall). For the same screen size, the benefits of 1080p vs. 720p start to become apparent when closer than 24 feet and become full apparent at 16 feet (just between the first and second row of seating in my theater). This means that people in the back row of my home theater would see some improvement if I purchased a 1080p projector and that people in the front row would notice a drastic improvement. (Note: the THX recommended max viewing distance for a 123″ screen is 13.7 feet).

So, how close should you be sitting to your TV? Obviously, you need to look at your room and see what makes sense for how you will be using it. If you have a dedicated viewing room and can place seating anywhere you want, you can use this chart as a guideline. It’s based on THX and SMPTE specifications for movie theaters; the details are available in the Home Theater Calculator spreadsheet.

Recommended Seating Distances and Resolution Benefits

Looking at this chart, it is apparent that 1080p is the lowest resolution to fall within the recommended seating distance range. Any resolution less than 1080p is not detailed enough if you are sitting the proper distance from the screen. For me and many people with large projection screens, 1080p is the minimum resolution you’d want.

In fact, you could probably even benefit from 1440p. If you haven’t heard of 1440p, you will. Here’s a link to some info on Audioholics.com. It is part of the HDMI 1.3 spec, along with 48-bit color depth, and will probably surface for the public in 2009 or so. You’ll partially be able to see the benefits of 1440p at the THX Max Recommended viewing distance and the resolution benefits will be fully apparent if you are just a little closer. I’ve read of plans for resolutions reaching 2160p but I don’t see any benefit; you’d have to sit too darn close to the screen to notice any improvement. If you sit too close, you can’t see the far edges of the screen.

In conclusion

If you are a videophile with a properly setup viewing room, you should definitely be able to notice the resolution enhancement that 1080p brings. However, if you are an average consumer with a flat panel on the far wall of your family room, you are not likely to be close enough to notice any advantage. Check the chart above and use that to make your decision.

ISF states the the most important aspects of picture quality are (in order): 1) contrast ratio, 2) color saturation, 3) color accuracy, 4) resolution. Resolution is 4th on the list and plasma is generally superior to LCD in all of the other areas (but much more prone to reflections/glare.) So pick your display size, then measure your seating distance, and then use the charts above to figure out if you would benefit from the larger screen size. So be sure to calibrate your screen! I recommend the following for calibration.

Recommended Calibration Tools

“I don’t like reading charts – just tell me what resolution I need”

If you don’t like reading charts and are looking for a quick answer, enter you screen size below to see how close you’ll need to sit to fully appreciate various screen resolutions.

Enter screen size: inches diagonal

  • For 480p (720×480) resolution, you must sit:
    feet or closer to see all available detail
  • For 720p (1280×720) resolution, you must sit:
    feet or closer to see all available detail
  • For 1080p (1920×1080) resolution, you must sit:
    feet or closer to see all available detail
  • For 4k (3840×2160) resolution, you must sit:
    feet or closer to see all available detail
  • For 8k (7680×4320) resolution, you must sit:
    feet or closer to see all available detail

Note about “or closer” viewing distances calculated above: if you sit closer than the distances shown above, you will be able to see some (but not all) of the detail offered by the next higher resolution.

Written by in: Home Theater | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Last updated on: 2015-March-14 |


  • Anonymous says:


    I don’t know what your deal is, but you need to get real. You have almost no idea about what you are talking about, and yet you insult people and carry on.

    You sit 10 – 15 feet away? Which is it? 10 or 15 feet? There is a big difference! So lets assume 12.5 ft away from the TV. According to the chart (which is very accurate and has been reproduced several times by other people), you are not even close to seeing 1080P resolution details, so quit giving other people such a hard time! Even at 10 ft away, you can just barely make out a little detail from 1080P for that size TV.

    One more thing, very few PS3 games are rendered in 1080P, among which DOES NOT include Killzone 2!

    Get your facts straight and stop being such a douchebag!

  • william says:

    quick question.
    i have two sets, both 32″ lcd, one by polariod (sony) brand name vizio (if you ask i’ll explain how in the hell i got this set and why it still uses the polaroid/sony chipset) and the other a sylvania – both names of… controvesy, to say the least. i got my vizio a couple years back, before they started making their own sets. to compare, my friend has a polariod hdtv, with the exact same firmware. anyway, the point is, both sets look the same to me, both display 720p (the best resolution for 32inch, t hey do have 1080i but whats the point? the distance ratio is totally thrown off with 1080 and i have family members with bad eyesight, so i cant conviently go with 1080, even tho both sets have it)
    can someone tell me why the picture, side by side is the same? i was led to believe most companies do their own thing. yet on both occasions i found both teh sylvania AND the vizio to both be using sony chipsets..
    i’m talking 720p here, not 1080
    are we being ripped off here? i paid 300 bucks for my sylvania, it has qam and a atsc tuner as well as OTA.. so does the vizio.. i’m a little upset because i paid a lot more for my vizio (tho undboutedly dolby is nice :P) yet get the same picure clairty. i’ve tested this at several viewing angles that you point out, and can notice no difference.

    what gives? am i just blind or straight up, be honest, are we being given the shaft here?

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Neither Vizio nor Sylvania make their own panels / “chipsets”. Both use contract manufactures and their own branding. Pricing is largely based on brand perception and what they market will bear, in addition to actual product performance. Read as many reviews as possible before purchasing, including AVSforum.com.

  • william says:

    and another thing, quit lying about the refresh rates!
    it doesn’t MATTER what your tv’s refresh rate is beyond 60 hz, because everything is recorded in 24hz. everyone knows this. its all about what you’re pluggin into your tv that matters, not the refresh rate of the television, tho a higher refresh rate might sell more tv’s there is no such thing as a ‘true hd’ tv because all hd is true hd, and all shows are recorded in 24 hertz, with MEANS that ALL signals must be upencoded (read: FAKE LINES, filtration, blending, interlacing, etc) etc to produce the minimum (which on most newer sets actually range from 30hz to 240, depending on the model of corse)
    so the real test is the televisions upencoding capapbilties, OR, your box’s upencoding abilities. NOT the television, its simply not the only thing to consider anymore..
    stupid buzz words.
    dont get caught up in the BS you’re being fed. i’m not saying this guy is wrong; he just posted a little chart.
    i just wish the entire industry would quit lying about so much!

  • Atavax says:

    this explains the advantages of 120hz TV’s for shows and movies http://pages.samsung.com/us/bluraysupport/art_new_whatsframerefreshrate.html

    and also remember that people dont solely use their TV’s for TV shows and movies.

    • william says:

      ITS NOT NECESSARY, and you bloody well know it. most name brand tvs have a refresh rate of 30, some even go 24, tho i see aboslutely NO, and i mean NO reason to ever get a set with 120 or 240
      To compare
      my Acer H223H HD monitor. strictly a monitor, ok, displays at 60 hz. this is because hdcp from my gtx 275 (pny technologies) works thru dvi and hdmi so i get to decide wheter or not i want dvi for refresh or hdmi for bandwidth. resolution is 1920 by 1080, scare is 16:9 (on my acer i mean)
      ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN A MONITOR FOR CLOSE VIEWING ANGLES 1080p is UNECESSARY AND IS NOTHING MORE THAN A MARKETING GIMMICK.. i’m not saying 1080p is bogus, or that 120hz is BAD, instead i am saying its UNECESSARY for the average user.. thats all. and atavax, i think i get what you’re getting at but that article i s worth shit. sorry. get another source and may listen, but samsung? get real dude. seriously. they are like vizio. just like vizio.

  • Elroy Cunningham says:

    I don’t understand the article or the graph, please help. *cries*

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Let me know your specific question. To summarize, if you have a small TV and don’t sit very close to it, you don’t need 1080p. To use the graph, start at the bottom axis with your screen size, go straight up to the line for your screen resolution, then go horizontally to the left to see what the minimum distance is to see what that resolution has to offer.

  • Atavax says:

    one of the things that annoys me is you guys act as if, if you dont get the full amount of detail, it isnt worth it. but if say you sit 10 feet away from the screen, 1080p will be noticeable at 60″ or larger; so if you are looking for the best picture quality possible at 10 feet with a 60″, the answer would be 1080p because although at closer distances you would notice more detail, at 10 feet, you would see more detail with 1080p then the next lowest resolution.

  • Carlton Bale says:

    I ask that everyone please remain respectful of one another in the comments.

    In my opinion, 120 Hz and 240 Hz refresh rates do add value because they eliminate the motion judder introduced when converting 23.976 frame/second film-based material to 29.97 frame/second (60i) video. The 4/5th ratio produces an extra frame that must be distributed between 2 interlaced frames, resulting in judder. Reverse telecine can convert the interlaced video back to 23.976 frames/second, and then multiply the frame rate (4x, 5x, 10x, etc.) to produce dramatically smoother video at 96Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz, etc.

    I suggest everyone do a side-by-side comparison between film sources (be it a movie or a TV show) viewed at 1080i@60Hz (the most common format of broadcast TV) and then again when reverse telecine is applied and the frame rate is increased to give 1080p@120Hz. Also, I recommend reading the following Wikipedia article:

    And again, please remain respectful of one another when commenting.

    • William says:

      you just stated, without meaning to, my entire argument. in your case, a videophile, i would say yes, however, in my case, and in most users case who sit beyond the 6 foot range, 1080p would be totally wasted.
      and even ‘smooth’ video is nothing more than upconversion, which you must agree is entirely dependant upon the device that is encoding, or upconverting. beyond that, i would simply say that while what you’re saying is right, the entire argument is moot beyond 10 feet because you cannot notice it anyway. but once again, you stated very clearly that its CONVERTING 23.9 frames per second. which is film standard on 35/45mm, am i correct?
      if this is the case, than the only thing that beyond 23.9 thats necessary is 29.9
      i’m abbreviating here, and again beyond 10ft.
      in my case i sit 1 foot to 2 1/2 feet from my acer. but in most cases in families i can see where your graph could help, but we were always taught (incorrectly i found out, but i digress) to sit far away from the television, not close up. as i got smarter i figured out that it was because of the blurry image all of those older screens had. but since lcd, and progression standard, that wasn’t necessary anymore.. i’m getting drawn into semantics.. ok, point is. i dont see the reason why i should ever pay what you have for a television, when i sit about 10 feet away from my tv, and i sit 2 feet (approx) from my monitor. by your estimates i’m just fine, and i never even needed to be here.. cuz it’s obvious while you know your stuff, you don’t know what i need to know.. carlton.. thanks tho, at least i get it now. see you’re into the most expensive stuff, what we call a jet setter. well i dont have the funds to even think of a 60 inch tv, so.. yeah, you dont know what i need to know.. sorry to bother you
      oh and motion jutter can be corrected without a insanely high refresh rate, if your smart enough to know what to get, you dont HAVE to buy a 60 inch 6 billion dollar tv to get it. thats my point.

    • Carlton Bale says:

      William, this post does not solely advocate that you must spend a lot of money and purchase a giant TV to make sure to get the full benefit of 1080p. It points out that you don’t need to spend the extra money for 1080p if you’re not sitting close enough to benefit from it. I provide the information to support either perspective and I don’t advocate one over the other. The reader must determine which applies to them based on their objectives.

      It’s important not to confuse resolution up-conversion and frame rate up-conversion. I agree with you that most people don’t sit close enough to their HDTVs to benefit from 1080p. But I disagree with you that 120Hz frame rate is unnoticeable based on viewing distance.

      There is no way to display 23.976 Hz (24p) material at 29.97 Hz (60i) without interlacing/judder artifacts being displayed. It’s not possible to display it accurately at 59.94 Hz (60p) either; there will sill be artifacts due to it not being a Least Common Multiple of 24.976.

      To eliminate these judder video conversion errors, a Least Common Multiple frame rate of both 23.976 HZ and 29.97/59.94 Hz must be used. This is 119.88 Hz.
      These video deficiencies are noticeable regardless of video resolution. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 120″ 1080p display or a 27″ 480i display, film-based judder motion problems are noticeable. They can be greatly minimized by a high-end video processor but using a least common multiple frame rate of 120 Hz can give improvements beyond that.

  • scott says:

    I’m about to buy a 58 inch 1080p plasma samsung 650, I will be 11ft away and will be using it for blu ray,x360 and hdtv. By your chart are you saying I should be sitting closer or getting a larger screen to get the full benefit.Thanks

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Yes, the chart shows that you would notice additional detail if you got a larger screen or if you sit closer to the screen. Or if you would like to save some expense, and you can find one, a 720p TV may offer an equivalent viewing resolution.

  • William Miller says:

    I sit ~ 12 ft from a 126″ diag 16×9 screen (using a JVC RS20 projector). As I read your chart, it says that I would get ‘full benefit’ from 1440p resolution; is that correct? Most ‘gurus’ say that 1080p is all that one will ever need for such HT situations.

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Yes, that is correct, you would be one of the few to benefit from resolutions higher that 1080p. I think you and I have a very similar setup, but most people sit 12 feet from a 46 inch screen, so we are the exception.

      It will be a long time before we get resolutions higher than 1080p. The technology is developed but the standards, implementation, and especially the source materials are all years and years away.

  • Charlie says:

    Still confused by the chart. I sit 12 feet from our tv and we will be soon be replacing a Sony that is on its last legs. New one will probably not be larger than 50″. Will we benefit by 1080p at that distance.

    • Carlton Bale says:

      No, you will not benefit from 1080p at 12′ on a 50″ screen. You need at least a 60-inch diagonal screen to even start to benefit at 12 feet and about 85-inches to fully benefit.

  • Wail Albuni says:

    Dear Sir
    How can I chack the brightness for projector is true or not

    What are the requirements for testing (screen size, distance, ligting..etc)
    Please provide us with the necessary information


    Wail Albuni

    • Carlton Bale says:

      The only way to check projector brightness is with a lumen meter. Or reading a review by someone who has used one. The configuration depends on the meter but it’s done in a completely dark room.

  • LEE says:

    Hello Carlton!!

    I just bought a new LCD Toshiba 40XF300C with 100/120 Hz, it is quite good. Although it is a OLD model, it is top model of Toshiba in 2008.

    Now I have a problem to watch DVD through a old DVD player w/o HDMI connection, so I plan to buy a new DVD player with upscaling function. Originally, I plan to buy PS3 that we can play game and watch DVD/VCD, as I still have a lot of DVD/VCD. Do u have any recommendation to improve the quality or any DVD player? thanks a lot

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Lee, HDMI by itself won’t add any quality to the DVD player. An upconverting (to 1080p resolution) model may. But I strongly suggest a cheap Blu-ray player instead. Generally great upconversion of DVDs and fantastic picture quality for Blu-rays. You can find an older model online for as cheap as $99. Checkout the hot deals forums on anadtech.com and fatwallet.com.

  • Bolas says:

    So what you’re saying is, I can enjoy 1080p programming with a 40″ depending on how far I sit from the TV? Because a lot of people say you need a 46″ or higher for that.

  • dovercat says:

    In my opinion the pixel fill factor is critical, flat pannels often have a very poor fill factor due to using seperate red, green, blue sub-pixels, while dlp front projectors can have fill factor >95%. It is the ability to resolve the pixel structure – screen door effect that is more a limitation.

    The resolving ability you are using is true if you were viewing black/white line drawings on a bright flatscreen display. They are not applicable to color images, moving images, and relatively dim displays like front projectors. In practice I think you would need to be alot closer to see a difference watching films.

    The “resolving ability of the human eye (with 20/20 vision it is possible to resolve 1/60th of a degree of an arc)” is based on black and white lines in bright lighting conditions with at least several seconds looking at the image. The ability to resolve fine detail is dependent on contrast and display brightness. Front projectors are dimmer than the brightness used. Contrast between black and white is alot higher than between shades of grey in a black and white film. Most films are in color and perception of contrast between colors is alot less than between black and white or shades of grey. Finally movies involve moving images not still pictures.

    • dovercat says:

      Would a black 45 degree diagonal line on a white screen be a good test, if it looks staircased you might benefit from higher resolution. If it looks smooth you probably will not. I say might because as I point out above for color moving images acuity is going to be less.

      Using the limits of human perception you could argue that higher resolution is noticeable at even greater distances. Visual acuity may average 30 line pairs per degree (1minute of a degree per line) but can be upto 45 line pairs per degree (40 seconds of a degree per line) and vermier acuity the ability to notice a line is not straight but offset is 10x visual acuity (6seconds of a degree average)

      Or you could argue that higher resolution is less noticeable as contrast sensitivity – perception of shapness is highest at 1/3 to 1/7 of visual acuity (3minutes to 7minutes of a degree). So details larger than 4 line pairs per degree are most important.

  • Rusty says:

    Great reading.
    Multi part question.
    Details- We have a long and narrow room (12’x24′) with full bay window (south west exposure) at one end. entrance door is on front wall where TV lives opposite bay window. Entrance door reduces front wall to less than 8′. Most common viewing area for wife and I is 15′ from front wall, other places people sit range from 7′ to 14′. (really long couch on one wall)
    At 15′ I interpret your chart to indicate that unless we install a 115″ screen we will not see the benefit from 1080p resolution. Is this correct?
    The largest screen we think we can aesthetically accommodate is in the 50′ range. At this size your chart indicates that there is not a significant viewing perception difference in 720p and 1080p. Is this an correct interpretation.
    Next if I take into account the other viewing areas in the room your chart leads me to the conclusion that we could install a 46′ to 52′ tv at 720p and fall within acceptable viewing perception parameters. Is this correct?
    Last question. One issue we have will be glare on high gloss screens. We have found models that have lower reflectivity screens but have had trouble finding any empirical information on how to compare different screens. Samsung has models that end in *****630 that have a more matte screen. We are not finding a lot of choices in the 50″ range that have more matte screens. Any suggestions for models/manufacturers?
    Thanks, Rusty

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Rusty, you are correct on all of your interpretations. You would need a very large screen to benefit from 1080p at 15′.

      As for screens with matte finishes, I’m not sure as it changes from year-to-year and model-to-model. In general, I think Samsung has higher reflectivity, Sony has moderate reflectivity, and other brands are generally more matte, but you should go to a retail store and compare them with the screen turned off to identify the matte screens.

  • Jon says:

    So I’m looking at the differences between two different budget LCD TV’s, and I would like a little direction. Here are links to the two TV’s.



    Which one seems better to everyone based on the fact that I will use it for not only normal viewing from 8-10 ft.(depending on which couch I’m sitting at) but gaming as well(5 feet away – PS3 and PC). I’m mainly worried about the extra size and better contrast ratio (RCA) vs. the better response time and seeming color depth of 1.06 billion colors (Vizio – skeptical on the colors).

    • Jon says:

      Oh, and I meant to say as well that the RCA is priced at $598 + tax and the Vizio is $578 + tax.

    • Jon says:

      I have found out that the display on the Vizio is manufactured by LPL, a division of LG. Still researching the RCA. I called Union Electronic Distributors to figure out about the RCA, but I didn’t have the proper “y-z numbers” to differentiate between three panel companies. Also, I have seen people complaining online that the RCA does not work with universal remotes. So I guess just add that into the mix as well (although it isn’t a major problem to me, only a minor annoyance).

    • Carlton Bale says:

      I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews of Vizio if you’re looking for the best bang-for-the-buck. They are the #1 seller of LCDs by volume. As for RCA, I didn’t even know the RCA brand was still being used.

    • Jon says:

      To be honest I have actually seen a lot of negative reviews in the customer service area for Vizio. They always say that Vizio is great until something goes wrong with your t.v. That is what I’m worried about.

  • Jon says:

    I do respect the fact that more and more companies seem to be having customer service problems as time goes by.

  • Should I Buy a Blu-Ray Player? | Techronos says:

    […] size of your screen (32″, 42″, etc) and the distance at which that screen is viewed (see this explained in detail).  If your setup doesn’t really take advantage of higher resolution video, it obviously […]

  • Do you really NEED Blu-ray? — Always Go Right says:

    […] Mr. Bale has done a lot of research on HDTV resolutions and seating distance, and he does a good job of explaining it on his web site. […]

  • […] http://carltonbale.com/2006/11/1080p-does-matter/ this site shows a charter showing the tv size and when you would slightly start to notice. http://www.thebestplasmatv.com/guides/720p-vs-1080p/ "For 8 feet, the optimal size is 42″ for 720p, 60-65″ for 1080i/p and 32″ or smaller for 480i/p" __________________ Desktop x2 7750 2gb 1066 Gskill ram 250gb hdd x1650 pro pcie gpu 2x memorex 20x dual layer sata burners […]

  • Gabriel says:

    Hi Carlton,
    I am almost ready to buy a 58″ 1080p Plasma Panasonic TV (TC-P58S1 to be more specific). I do not know how many inches it will be diagonally (I do not have the TV as yet). I will be using it for hdtv, X360 and potentially for blu-ray as well. The distance that I have available to sit and view the TV is 15 feet maximum. Is a 58″ TV a good size for the distance I have to play with?. Considering the distance that I have available, what TV size (54″, 58″ or 65″) can I benefit more from?. Please consider the TV to be 1080p Panasonic Plasma and money is not an issue. Thanks

    • Carlton Bale says:

      At 15′, you should get the largest screen possible. 65″, or ever larger, would be ideal. For example, I sit 13′ from my 123″ front projection screen and that is an ideal setup (but requires an absolutely dark room.)

  • Sean C says:


    I’m looking for a LCD/DLP projector for my large 25’x20′ living room for a 100″+ screen. Since this room has windows, I need a unit that projects a very BRIGHT image. What specs (ANSI lumens, contrast ratio etc.) should I be looking for? Of course, I’m considering 1080p HD projectors only. Any suggestions for the model/brands will help me further, thanks!


    • Carlton Bale says:

      Use my home theater calculator to get answers to all of your questions. In general, you need a very bright projector, a very high gain screen, and a relatively small screen. Bright rooms are not an ideal environment for front projection.

  • I’m looking to get a 32" LCD flat screen TV and was wondering if 1080p really makes a difference.? | Product Review Blog says:

    […] http://carltonbale.com/2006/11/1080p-does-matter/ […]

  • Focus PRO says:

    thanks for information, now i’ll buys LCD monitors only!

  • s h says:

    good job. excellent chart.

  • charizard says:

    i got the ION 330 SERIES and i contect it to my LCD tv (MODEL GR320HS) Grunding 32 LCD , i downlaod the Nvidia drivers form them website everything is working great –beside that windows 7 isnt find my LCD, insted he get the default microsoft HISENSE TV
    which isnt give me the higher resolution that my lcd should be
    please need help

  • Raj says:

    So here’s one to test your expetise:
    I am planning an outdoor dine-in-theater setup and after several plan changes,we decided for front projection since rear would conflict with lights under a canopy behind the screen.Now what I would be interested in finding out is,IF the image resoultion+contrast+depth of colors would be better when the throw distance is about 32ft front projection(thats the max the projector does) or would it be better on a rear projection at 6ft throw distance.Pls advsie

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Raj, the screen is going to impact the picture much more the the distance between the screen and projector. The gains from reflective front projection screens and translucent rear projection screens are quite different. Pick a screen size and compare the resulting brightness based on the specs of the 2 screen materials.

      In general, all projectors are slightly brighter when at minimum zoom and close to the screen and have slightly better contrast ratios when at minimum zoom and far away from the screen. The result isn’t usually dramatic and room design considerations are more important than are the performance differences resulting from that mounting location. Go with what makes the best sense for the room.

  • Raj says:

    hmmm..I still have some Q’s.Is there a # I can reach you at.All your advise is appreciated and will help us make a smarter $3-4k investmet

  • Smith says:

    I guess i wont see a difference between 720p and 1080p rips on my 21.5 inch 1080p monitor then. LOL

  • eva says:

    I m loking for a lcd tv fullhd and i ll be seating at a distance not lower from 15feet.My place is very bright and i need a little help from you cause i dont know which is the best model to buy.Also i ll be using it for wii,as pc monitor and bluray device.Please advise me.

    • Carlton Bale says:

      I’ll keep this simple: you need the biggest matte-finish TV you can get. I recommend the LG TVs because of great performance, low price, and matte finish on the screen. You could use a 55″ TV, get the biggest size that makes sense for the room and your budget.

  • Rivaldo Ribeiro says:

    Please, I really dont know much about all it but I want to buy a new TV and I have a offer of a LG50″ plasma TV with internal HD to safe programs from a big store, but it is just 720p. My TV room have about 15ft each wall square around. Does this TV attend my TV room best resolution and features?
    Thanks in advance and my best regards from Brazil.

    PS.: I am starting building a MEdia Center, what you can tell me about best OS and softwares to use?

    • Carlton Bale says:

      You’ll be fine with 720p at that distance, but if the price isn’t too much higher, an upgrade to 1080 is something to consider.

      For a Media Center PC, I recommend Windows Media Center (comes with Windows 7 Home Premium) and the My Movies plugin. You’ll also need TotalMedia Theatre for Blu-ray playback.

  • Nathaniel says:

    Hi Carlton brill article, im thinking of buying a projector and a screen for my room. all i really need to know is how far away (ft) does the projector have to be from the screen in order for it to work? i only wish to buy a projector that is worth the money like a 1080 because i dont want to fork out too much but first i need to know if it will work. i have a fairly small room its 10×10 in feet. thanks if you could give us a bit of direction.

    • Carlton Bale says:

      The throw distance and ratio are specific to each projector. Some are designed for short rooms and some for long. Figure out what screen size you want and go to ProjectorCentral.com to get throw distances for popular projector models.

  • Rivaldo Ribeiro says:


    Thanks the help and to share your knowledge to all.
    Yes, the price diferency is big. the LG 50″ (with TimeMachine of HD80gb) is about $3.500 in my currency (about U$1,500) and the LG 50″ 1080p is about $9.500 in my currency (about U$4,500). Maybe i can upgrade in a soon future.
    Thanks to all and a amazing 2010 to you and all your family.
    Rivaldo Ribeiro

  • Qbert says:

    I’m looking to purchase a TV for gaming purposes, only. I sit about 2 to 3 feet away from my current set-(in my room. What size & brand flat screen should I buy?

  • MossOne says:

    Im trying to decide what size and res tv to buy. I have a relatively small condo living room. my couch sits straight on and about 9 to 12 feet away max. i was thinking 42 – 47 inch and 1080p. But i was unsure if it was worth the extra money for 1080p??

  • quang cao online says:

    I still have some Q’s.Is there a # I can reach you at.All your advise is appreciated and will help us make a smarter $3-4k investmet

  • Lara says:

    Hi Carlton,

    I am looking to buy a Sony F series laptop ( I don’t play video games, but watch a lot of TV/movies on line). My question is – do I need HD Display 1920×1080 on a 16.4′ laptop? Would it make any difference? I know it is not exactly about TV’, but I would appreciate it if you can clue me in. Thanks

    • Carlton Bale says:

      Hi Lara. This is definitely a related question. Higher pixel density is always better, but it can certainly reach a point of diminishing returns. That being said, base on how close people typically sit to laptop screen, the increased resolution is still beneficial on a screen 15″+ screen. The biggest benefit is the increased desktop space available on which to fit multiple applications. Some people have issues with the fonts being too small on high pixel density screens such as this. The best solution is NOT to decrease the screen resolution setting, but rather to increase system font size. This give a very readable and usable screen, regardless of age and eyesight.

  • Hillel says:

    Hi Carlton,

    You’ve probably heard this question a dozen times at least, but I have an HD ready 50″ plasma (Panasonic 50X10). I sit about 12 ft. away. I’m pleased with the satellite HD images, but will I benefit from a blu-ray player?

    Incidentally, I haven’t calibrated the tv – is there a site or software you may know that can help me?

  • Hillel says:

    Thanks for the help re the disc…I’ll get it.

  • DK says:

    I’m setting up my game room with a Panasonic ae4000u about 14ft away. How big of a screen can I get with seating at 12ft away to view 1080?


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