Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Size Isn't Everything....or is it?

Size isn't everything...........I have once again spent a fair amount of time with somebody who is looking at buying a new flat screen TV. This client is in the process of renovating his new home. One of his goals is to have a nice home entertainment system including a flat panel TV and new speakers. He told me he was strongly considering a 60" LCD. He also told me that the couch (primary viewing area) would be about 14' away from the screen. According to AV industry best practices, this TV is either too large, or the couch is too close. Since he's not going to be knocking walls down to make the viewing distance work, then he should really consider a smaller TV (gasp!)

Here's the math folks: For full motion video/ entertainment content it is recommended that the closest seating position to a screen be about 1.5x the height of the screen followed by up to 6x the height for the furthest viewing position. By my calculations, he should be buying a 50" to 53" TV. If he were primarily viewing text and other detail oriented images (like CAD drawings, etc) that are static, the numbers change to a 4x height for furthest viewer.

So what, right? Hey, I'm an equipment reseller and you would think that selling a bigger TV means a bigger profit right? Maybe. Here's my take on it: get in the car with your significant other and go to your nearest cinema (if there is one!), pick the latest blockbuster action flick and go immediately to the front row and park yourself there with the silly 3D glasses on and an overpriced bucket of popcorn. After the show, tell me how you feel. Here's my prediction: you will be more tired than normal and possibly nauseous from sitting too close to the screen. Watching full motion video on a very large screen is exhausting! This is an extreme example and having a TV that's 6-10" too big for your room isn't going to give you the same effect, but it's similar.

Here's something else to keep in mind when buying that dream TV- viewing height. After sitting in the front row for an exciting film, your neck will be sore from looking up at an awkward angle and you may have whiplash from trying to see the whole thing all at once. If you mount your new TV over your fireplace mantle (very common!!) you will be looking up at that sucker until your physical therapist tells you it's not your mattress, it's your TV silly. The TV should be mounted in a fashion that you can sit in your favorite chair and look straight ahead at the center of the screen. That puts the center of your TV at home at about 32-40" or so. Go ahead - go look at your current TV's location. Maybe it's not your pillow's fault after all.............

So size does matter. I go out of my way to counsel my clients on sensible purchases even at the expense of my profit margins. Really. Ask any of my clients. Now go shop wisely!