When is a TV Too Big?

TVs are getting bigger and bigger. Screen sizes that once seemed like the sort of thing you would only find in a sports bar are now turning up in suburban living rooms. Bigger is better is the mantra for many products these days, and the increasingly low price of televisions has resulted in bigger sizes becoming more affordable. The depth and clarity of 4K also mean that these 60-90” behemoths are still capable of displaying a very high-quality image.

But when is big simply too big? One complaint about television heard since the dawn of the medium is that it is the bastion of low-brow entertainment. Anyone who feels that way is probably not that comfortable with having a TV at all, let alone one that would dominate their living room.

Men tend to love large televisions more than women. Perhaps because sports and action movies are more accommodating to that bigger display, while romantic comedies seem more intimate on a screen that does not take up half of the living room wall. Let’s face it, though, the truth is probably simple: men love their gadgets and need to impress their friends, so they always buy into bigger is better.

From a scientific perspective, you really ought to be at least 9 feet back from a 60-inch screen (here’s a handy calculator that will provide the right distance for your TV and viewing area) to get the optimal effect. However, anything above that size and you will likely drive your interior decorator over the brink. Think about it: how would you create a lovely living environment in a room dominated by a giant black rectangle? You can always compromise and have a separate TV room that you keep out of view from strangers, like some oddball relative.

We suspect this argument won’t be settled anytime soon and might get even stranger when holographic displays become the new norm.