Math for couch potatoes: how to get the best view

What is the best ratio of TV size-to-room size for HDTVs?

Curiously enough, this is a question about the your couch, cleverly disguised as an HDTV query. When choosing a TV, size you have to take into consideration how far away the couch is from the screen for optimal viewing. (Caution here because I am going to use some icky math. For those who are a bit challenged in that area, go to the last paragraph for a cheat on this.)

For the mathematically inclined, you can use this formula: C2TVD = 1.8664 x TVW. C2TVD is short for couch-to-TV-distance (in inches). TVW is the TV’s screen width (in inches). Now a quick note here. On TV specifications, manufacturers usually display the diagonal width – that’s bottom-left corner to top-right corner. So you’ll have to look carefully to determine the actual width or horizontal measurement corner to corner.

So calculate distance from your couch to the wall that the TV will sit against or be hung on. Be sure to allow 6 to 12 inches for the TV bulk if it’s on a stand. Now use this formula to figure out how wide your TV width can be TVW = C2TVD divided by 1.8664. Of course, you’ll also have to calculate if that width will fit on your wall.

Also, don’t forget to factor in that your calculation is the shortest distance that you’d want the couch to be to the TV. Further away is ok as well if you have the room to play with.

If all that is too much work, an easier solution is to simply pull coach back approximately two to five times the width of the screen.

Here is a list of places to find DLP TVs online:

  1. Buy.com
  2. Amazon.com
  3. Buy online at Best Buy, choose store pickup