We have already looked extensively at the optimal viewing distance for a TV at SD and HD resolution, but what about 4K Ultra HD? In this article we explain what the optimal, or ideal, viewing distance for a 4k UHD TV is.
4K Ultra HD
Of course we all know Full HD by now, a resolution of 1,920 to 1,080 pixels that we find on almost every flat screen TV. However, we are already ready for an even higher resolution which has been given the name 4K or Ultra HD. This resolution consists of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels and, at the time of writing, can be found on a number of high-end TVs that are sold at premium prices.
So there are already a number of models for sale, but in 2014 we will also see cheaper 4K Ultra HD TVs, so this resolution will play an increasingly important role.
Another part that is also important, but that we have not looked at extensively yet, is the viewing distance. With a higher resolution, it is on paper that you can sit closer to the TV without being able to perceive the pixels. It must be said that at a relatively large distance from a 4K Ultra HD TV you can no longer perceive the added value of the extra pixels compared to Full HD and the great advantage of such a high resolution is therefore lost. In short, what is the ideal viewing distance?
Viewing distance Full HD TV
As we previously described in an article , the ideal viewing distance for a TV with Full HD resolution is 2 to 2.5 times the screen diagonal of a TV. For example, for a 50-inch TV, this amounts to 250 to 320 centimeters. If you sit at 3 meters from your TV, you have a good image on paper, without seeing individual pixels, but you can still enjoy the higher sharpness. You can also calculate it the other way around; Your couch is 3 meters from your TV, how big should the TV be? This also gives you a size that is around 50 inches (127 centimeters).
Viewing distance 4K Ultra HD TV
With a 4K Ultra HD TV you have to deal with four times as many pixels, so theoretically you can sit closer to a TV without being able to perceive individual pixels. In addition, you only really benefit from the higher resolution at a shorter viewing distance and you can observe the subtle details. There is one problem though; is it still possible to sit on your TV shorter, and if possible, is it still comfortable?
The ideal balance must therefore be sought between what is ideal and what is comfortable. After conducting a number of tests ourselves and asking various test subjects for their opinion, we arrive at a viewing distance that amounts to approximately 1.2 to 1.7 times the diagonal of a TV. For a 55-inch (140 centimeter) 4K Ultra HD TV, the format that we currently encounter a lot, this equates to a viewing distance of 168 centimeters to 238 centimeters. If you really want to take full advantage of the higher resolution and also perceive this perfectly, a viewing distance of 100 to 120 centimeters would be optimal, but this does not appear to be a comfortable distance, partly due to the large screen with high light output and simply the short distance to the TV that is in many a living room is impossible.
So we can actually conclude from this that the really ideal viewing distance for a 4K Ultra HD TV is virtually impossible and even uncomfortable for 90 percent of the users. If you still want to make the most of the higher resolution at a comfortable distance, it is advisable to sit at a distance between 150 centimeters and 220 centimeters, based on a TV with a size of 55 inches.