O'Reilly logo

Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Hack #60. Choose the Right Seating Distance

Sitting the correct distance from your television is the first step in getting the best picture from your display unit.

Although the location where you sit isn't technically a part of calibration, it's critical to enjoying a good picture. You also need to lock down the seating area before calibrating your display [Hack #61] or speakers [Hack #63] .

There are two schools of thought for determining proper seating distance:

  • Base seating location on visual acuity.

  • Base seating location on SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) and THX standards.

The visual acuity distances are interesting, but they change based on the source material. Because all TV programming is not HD (and even some HD programming varies between 720p and 1080i), you would have to move your seating based on what you are watching. This obviously isn't a real popular idea.

THX and SMPTE are standards used primarily in movie theaters. They calculate seating distance based on viewing angles: if the angle is too narrow, detail and perspective are lost; if the angle is too wide, it takes a lot of work to scan the entire screen. (Ever tried watching The Lord of the Rings on an IMAX screen? Get ready for a sore neck!)

THX places the optimal viewing angle at 36°; 26° and 30° are also popular angles, and generally are applicable for this discussion. Given these numbers and a viewing distance calculator (http://www.myhometheater. homestead.com/viewingdistancecalculator.html ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required