What Size TV Do I Really Need?

In Resource Center

Which size TV do I need? Yes, it’s a question we all ask ourselves at some point or another. We know what size TV we want in our home. But which one is right for us and meets our needs.

With all the new technologies that accompany TVs these days - like 4k and curved screens - it’s important to make an informed decision about what size TV is right for your situation.

Quick TV Tips

First, let's get some basics out of the way. If you want quick tips on how to find that perfect size, this is your section.

How is screen size calculated?
A 75-inch TV isn't 75-inches wide -- Televisions are measured diagonally from corner to corner (a top corner and bottom corner). A 65-inch TV is closer to 55 inches wide.

TV Resolutions and what they are
The TV's you'll find at the store or online today are going to be commonly in these resolutions: 720p, 1080p, 4K (2160p) and 8K (4320p). With the current streaming availability (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+), we recommend going with 4K if its within your budget.

We'll talk more about this more in-depth below. 

Consider room size and position
Your TV stand or wall is only so big, you don't want to overcrowd the area. Consider what would look good. For a TV stand, you want a TV that isn't bigger the your TV stand, it is the same size or smaller. If you're using an entertainment center, measure the opening.

Screen Size and Resolution

TV's are measured diagonally. Sorry to break it to you, but that 80-inch TV is not really 80 inches wide! Instead it is around 70" wide. This makes a world of difference when determing the right TV size for an entertainment center, a TV stand, or when mounting on your wall.

After you find the perfect size, the next step is to figure out what resolution you need. Resolution is the quality of the picture on your television, or by definition "the number of pixels (dots) that make up the picture". The more dots, the higher the resolution. 

Resolution matters to you in a couple ways.

1. Do you want better quality picture?
If you want better quality picture, the higher resolution, the better. Most streaming services offer 4K, we recommend getting that if it's within your budget. 8K isn't available everywhere yet, so it's a good choice for future proofing. 

2. How close are you going to be?
If you are sitting close to the TV, a higher resolution will show less pixels and look significantly better. If you are sitting closer to the TV, you won't need the largest TV to fill your field of view.

Room Size & TV Position

Consider where your going to place the TV and how you're going to display it, on top of a TV Stand, an entertainment center, or mounted to the wall.

MORE: Best Viewing Angle and Height to Mount Your TV

TV Stands

With a TV Stand, our rule of thumb is to get a TV that is less or at least equal to the same width as the TV stand. We believe the former to be a better option for aesthetics, while the latter is okay but not suggested. With a TV Stand, the TV is going to sit closer to the viewer, keep the resolution in mind.

Entertainment Centers

Entertainment centers are a great choice for living rooms, they offer a lot of storage options, styles, and sizes. When purchasing an entertainment center, pay close attention to the dimensions of the TV space. Some of these openings are way too big for even the largest TVs, which leads to too much empty space.

The suggested setup for entertainment centers is to get a  TV large enough to fill up most of the open space. Aesthetically, having equal empty space (negative space) on all sides is ideal. How much space is really to your preference, but we recommend less than 12 inches on all sides otherwise the TV will look smaller. Additionally, if you get a movable mount, you'll want some extra space to move things around.

Tip: If mounting, get a quality TV mount that can be easily adjusted. We recommend getting an EchoGear Full Motion TV mount, it's reasonably priced and works fantastic. 

Mounted TVs

Minimalism is big in todays market -- hidden wires, mounting TVs on the wall, and thinner TV's are in high demand. 

Mounting a TV is a great option, but will add a foot or more to the viewing distance, which can really change the size TV you should get (and resolution). In this case, the bigger the better. Resolution doesn't to be the highest (4K/8K) since the benefits are negligible, but that will ultimately be your preference.

When mounting a TV, we recommend getting a high quality mount that is adjustable and can move around. Check out the best TV mounts articles here.

How To Calculate the Best TV Size

For most people, this is preference, there is no sure way to calculate the best TV viewing distance. I personally like to sit on my couch, look at the wall where I want the TV and determine where my peripheral view is -- that's the TV size I want to get. You can have someone stand by the wall and help you determine what size that would be.

Some popular manufacturers say you should be at least 1.5x the distance away from your TV for the best experience. For example, if you have 50-inch TV, be at least 6.25 feet away (75 inches). I have a 75-inch 4K TV and I sit about 

As larger TV's get more affordable, don't always go for the largest size if it's not best for your setup -- follow the guidelines we've highlighted above and determine what you're comfortable with for the best experience.