How to Calculate What Size TV to Buy

By Perry Piekarski

Size is a key factor when shopping for a new television. A key consideration is how close people will be sitting to the set. In a small room, pixels may be visible on a television too large for the space, making it difficult to focus on the picture. Calculating the appropriate television size for room in your home is essential before making a purchase.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Notepad and pencil

Step 1

Select the location of your new television. This is important before determining the size of your set, because you'll need to make a number of measurements before making a purchase.

Step 2

Determine where you'll be sitting in relation to the television.

Step 3

Measure the distance from where you will sit to where the television will be, using your measuring tape. Record this measurement on your notepad.

Step 4

Use the distance measured in Step 3 to determine the best size screen for the room in question. Remember that screen size/distance ratios are generalizations. These are only estimates and vary based on price-range and personal preference.A 26 to 30 inch screen is best for distances between four to seven feet. A 32 to 42 inch screen is best for distances between five to ten feet.A 44 to 56 inch screen is best for distances between eight and thirteen feet.

Step 5

Make sure your television will fit in your home. Measure the area in which the television will be placed using the measuring tape to get an idea of any restrictions regarding the physical size of the set. Consider any stairs or lifting you must do in order to get the television safely into your home.

Step 6

Shop around for a television, taking note of the screen size and actual size of the set. The screen size is measured diagonally from the top corner of the screen to the opposing bottom corner. The actual size of the set is measured horizontally. Physically seeing the set you are considering will give you an idea of how it will look in your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Larger televisions are generally more expensive than smaller sets. Picture quality and the number of inputs built into a set should also be considered when pricing.
  • Shop around and read reviews before investing in an expensive television. Often inexpensive models are rated as highly as name brand sets.