Angles, Distance Key to Home Theater Design
Get a shiny, new flat-panel TV for the holidays? Placement of your new toy can have a dramatic impact on how much you enjoy it.
December 25, 2007 by Barbara Roth

Tis the season when consumers are most likely to purchase a new high-definition television. Whether this will be your first HDTV or an upgrade from a previous model, it is extremely important to install your TV in the proper location. Comfort angle and seating distance are two crucial elements of home theater design which are often overlooked.

The Right Angle
The comfort angle limit is 15°. This means the display should be installed no higher than 15° from where your eyes rest looking straight ahead while sitting in your seat. By installing your display at the correct position, you achieve the visual optimization intended by the designers for the necessary sharpness, brightness, contrast and color accuracy.

Have you seen displays mounted over fireplaces? This trend was created with advertising in mind. Displays were shown like paintings and most thought it was a cool idea. But mounting at this height can create unnecessary eye and neck strain.

There are exceptions to this rule. A display installed in a bar or lounge needs to be placed higher as to keep employees out of the line of sight. Also, hopefully, you are not going to be spending the same amount of time watching this TV at the bar that you would at home!

Let’s not forget the horizontal or “viewing angle.”  This is the maximum angle that a display can be viewed for the best performance.  This will clearly affect your seating arrangement. Plasma screens tend to offer the widest viewing angles. But you’ll find most major LCD and Plasma manufacturers offer screens with a 170° viewing angle. Let your eyes be the judge. 

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