Find the Optimum Viewing Distance and Height for Your Plasma TV

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/25/2010

Give your home theater the best configuration possible - find the best viewing distance and height for your plasma TV, and experience the benefits of a finely tuned home cinema!

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Set Viewing Distance and Height for Plasma TVs

Find the optimum viewing distance for your home theater and you will get the most out of your setup – that’s the theory, but how easy is it to find? What about finding the optimum height for plasma TV home cinemas?

Each of these two factors can have a negative impact on viewing if unsuccessful – as such you should be careful to give as much credence to each when setting up your home theater and seating.

Whether using a static TV or one with an adjustable mount, getting the balance right is important. Position your TV too far away, and suddenly the plant pot comes as interesting as the movie; place your TV too high and your local homeopath will be earning enough out of you to buy her own plasma TV.

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Optimum Viewing Distance

As a rule of thumb, viewing distance in your home theater should be calculated based on the diagonal measurement of your plasma TV.

It’s a good tried and tested rule – put simply, if your plasma TV display dimension is 48 inches (screen size is measured diagonally) then your seating should be positioned 12 feet from your TV.

This measurement offers a viewing angle of between 26-36 degrees; it’s vital to build your home theater around this angle in order to gain the optimum viewing experience – too close and the TV becomes a sea of pixels, too far away and your wedding photos become a part of the movie.

A viewing distance calculator can be found at My Home Theater – this free tool can be used to calculate the perfect distance based on industry standards such as THX. This calculator will also tell you what your current viewing angle is – all you need to do is enter the current distance and the TV size.

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Optimum Viewing Height

While viewing distance can be altered in most cases, viewing height is a different matter. In many cases, plasma TVs are fixed to the wall, and in most cases this positioning will be unsuitable for comfortable viewing.

As a rule of thumb and assuming your viewing distance is correctly adjusted, the optimum viewing height for your plasma TV should be based on your line of sight when in the usual seating position. Your eyes should be level with the middle of the plasma display, requiring no adjustment to neck position in order to experience comfortable viewing.

While many TVs come with stands, these can be adjusted – as such getting the much needed correct positioning shouldn’t be a problem. However getting a wall mounted TV positioned so that your eyes are level with the middle of the screen is in many cases going to prove troublesome if your mounting bracket isn’t equipped with suitable adjustment options.

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