Best way TV watching – Placing or hanging your new TV – A modern television delivers fantastic picture quality. They are often also very thin and light, which invites you to reconsider the placement of the TV. Perhaps you want to opt for wall mounting or an unusual arrangement? It is all possible, but it is best to take into account a number of basic rules of the game. This way you can enjoy your new television to the fullest.
Best way TV watching – Viewing distance: how far are you from your TV?
Possibly one of the most important factors in the setup is the viewing distance† How far can/should you sit from the television? Fortunately, there are guidelines for this, although there is a lot of room for your own preference. The ideal viewing distance depends on the size of your TV screen. That is why we use the screen diagonal (in cm) of your television as a starting point.
In general, we recommend the following:
- For film, sports, games, in short, for all content where you really fully focus on maximum experience, the ideal viewing distance is 1.2x to 2x the screen diagonal (in cm).
- For a more relaxed viewing experience, for example for news, talk shows, soaps, light series, you can go 2.0x to 2.5x the screen diagonal.
An example: You have a 65 inch TV. That means the screen diagonal is 165 cm (65 x 2.54). The shortest viewing distance we recommend is then 2 m (165 cm x 1.2). Even up to 3.3 m (165 cm x 2), the viewing experience is excellent and you get the maximum benefit from the size of your TV. For a markedly quieter viewing experience, you can even go up to 4.1 m (165 cm x 2.5).
These figures are of course not mandatory, you may deviate from them. But they do give a very good guideline. For example, those who want a cinema experience will be disappointed if they are more than four meters from a 55-inch screen. The image then fills a much too small part of your field of view and you never feel that you are being drawn into the action. Conversely, if you are looking for a quiet TV experience, it is better not to sit too close to the TV.
If you want some more background, you can read the article below about the ideal viewing distance.
Best way TV watching – Height: how high can I hang the TV?
Anyone who places the TV on a TV cabinet may not ask themselves this question. But with wall mounting you obviously have to make a decision about this. Always keep the following guidelines in mind.
- Try to position the TV so that the center of the screen is about eye level. And of course we mean eye level when you sit in your usual seat.
- You do have some leeway in that. As long as your eye level is somewhere in the middle third of the screen, the TV is set up properly.
- Above all, avoid placing it too high. A typical example is above a fireplace. That is absolutely not recommended. You then look up all the time and that is very taxing on your neck. Anyone who has already sat in the front row in some cinemas can undoubtedly confirm this.
- Yes, these guidelines also apply to wall mounting. It may be tempting to hang the TV higher, but we don’t recommend that.
- Most important conclusion: let viewing comfort prevail. Do you think that one piece of furniture is really nice for your TV, but is it much too high? Do your neck a favor and choose another solution.
Strong contrast gives the image a natural depth and makes colors richer. However, a television is not a perfect screen, so you have to take certain limitations into account. Because there are certainly factors that can have a negative influence.
For example, the viewing angle often has a significant impact on color and contrast. If you look at the image from an angle, you will notice that the contrast decreases, or that colors become faded, or even change hue. The effect differs from technology to technology. On LCD televisions, especially those with VA panels, the contrast drops sharply, even at a fairly modest viewing angle. High-end models use special techniques to improve the viewing angle. LCD TVs with an IPS panel suffer less from it, but start from a lower contrast even when you’re sitting right in front of it. OLED screens have the widest viewing angle, it is almost perfect for contrast, but there may be a slight tint shift at wide viewing angles.
Therefore, set up the TV in such a way that everyone is sitting as straight as possible in front of the image, preferably within an angle of 30°. For IPS and OLED screens, this is even more spacious. If you have an L-shaped sofa or seating arrangement, that may be impossible. In that case, you give priority to the most frequently used places. If you regularly look from a different place, consider a wall mount that you can rotate.
In the living room you also have to take into account windows and incoming sunlight. While TV screens are getting brighter, that’s less of an issue with bright scenes. But the reflections caused by incident light can be very detrimental to the contrast. In extreme cases, such as dark scenes, reflections can almost completely obscure the image. Also for this problem, top models are often slightly better equipped, with a film that significantly reduces reflections.
Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that you take it into account as much as possible when setting up the TV. For example, do not place the TV so that a large window is directly opposite. If that is the case, then provide curtains to limit the incident light. Of course you also have to take into account the lighting you use in the evening. In short, avoid reflections as much as possible, either by repositioning the TV or by intervening in the lighting and incidence of light.
The options for wall mounting are extensive, and you can do it with almost any television. Obviously it looks more spectacular with very slim models, but don’t let that stop you. Wall mounting looks modern and, with some attention, also very neat and tidy.
First choose the bracket. We distinguish three important types. Brackets for as flat mounting as possible, brackets that can tilt slightly forward, and brackets that can rotate left-right. In the living room you mainly choose the first and last types. Motorized versions are also available. Each mount also has a maximum size and weight for the TV it can support.
The most important tip for wall mounting: think in advance what you will do with all the cabling. Some high-end models from Samsung require only one cable that goes to the TV, providing both power and data. That is of course very useful. But for all other models you have to come up with a solution. A piece of false wall, a pre-placed conduit or a cable duct can neatly hide the cables. Make sure that your solution has enough space for multiple cables, even if you don’t use all the connections now. With a solution such as a conduit tube, you must provide pull wires, and the diameter of the tube must be large enough to allow the connectors to pass through in addition to the cables.
Best way TV watching – Choose the right settings
Is everything set up? Then dive into the settings. The solution with the best image quality is the ‘Movie’ or similarly named image preset. If your TV has Filmmaker Mode, you can choose that option, but keep in mind that it is relatively dark with some brands because it is intended for watching in blackout. We also invariably indicate in our reviews which settings we prefer.
If you often look at changing light conditions, be sure to activate the light sensor. It adjusts the image based on the ambient light. Light sensors are getting smarter. On some high-end models, they not only adjust the peak brightness, but also tinker with the gamma curve, color temperature and color saturation. It’s an easier solution than having to switch image modes regularly, but of course you give up some control.
Don’t forget the sound, different presets are available for that too. This is especially important when you opted for wall mounting. Most models have a specific sound setting to indicate whether the TV is wall-mounted or simply mounted on its base. The TV takes this into account with sound reproduction.
If you want to go one step further for viewing comfort, you can install ‘bias-lighting’. That is a neutral white light source around your TV. Philips Ambilight models can also display this. Why is bias lighting useful? It provides three benefits.
First, it reduces viewing fatigue. TV images can vary between bright and dark, and our eyes always try to adjust to it. Bias lighting is a continuous, neutral light source, so your eyes don’t try to adjust all the time to what’s happening on the screen.
Bias lighting also improves contrast perception. Obviously, the image doesn’t change, but dark tones look darker to our brain when you present them against a bright background. Bias lighting provides that background. And finally, bias lighting also improves color perception. She does this by herself as a neutral white reference. That is, if she herself has the right color temperature (D65 / 6500k), and the wall behind is not tinted.
Best way TV watching- Conclusion
Best way TV watching? Don’t put your television in a cupboard! That’s a disaster for the sound, and it’s terribly old-fashioned. A modern television is very elegant and slim, and can be seen. For the best results, you should take into account a limited number of guidelines. Choose a correct viewing distance, do not set the TV too high, avoid reflections and place your seats as straight as possible in front of the TV. You also have to take all these things into account when wall mounting. A rotatable wall bracket can ensure that you still have an ideal image in more different circumstances. When you opt for wall mounting, first think carefully about the cabling. When everything is installed, you dive into the settings and then you can fully enjoy it.