Save Money By Sitting Closer To The TV?

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Sorry for the lack of posting, I am actually at a conference in Park City, Utah this week. Add in that fact that my computer is now giving me the blue-screen-of-death, and I’ve been somewhat disabled. Looks like it’s time for a fresh Windows install. The good thing is that I’ve been able to tune out all the Obama stimulus talk until they finally pass something, and instead catch up on a bunch of financial books and magazines that I’ve been meaning to read.

While flipping through a Money magazine, I ran across a often-repeated piece of advice about buying an HDTV: that the size of the TV you should buy is determined by how far you plan on sitting from it, not just bigger is better:

Which always begs the question – why not just put your couch closer to your TV? 🙂 You could buy a much smaller set and save hundreds of dollars. I guess it’s just another by-product of buying a house that’s too big. You need more furniture to fill it, and now also a bigger TV to see from across the room.

In addition, doctors now say that sitting too close to the TV is not bad for your eyes. Well, I guess it can’t be worse than most of us sitting inches away from an LCD screen all day long already.

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  1. One valid reason for buying a bigger TV is to entertain with it. I could buy a smaller TV and sit closer, which would be fine for 90% of my TV watching. But if I get a bigger TV, I can throw a Superbowl party and have a movie night with more than 3 or 4 people comfortably viewing it.

  2. What Ian said, and you also have to keep into consideration room layout. If it looks really odd to have your sofa 5 feet away from your TV, or if it gets in the way of having a proper 5.1 speaker setup, you need to get a bigger TV

  3. Although, I do not personally own an HDTV, yet… I’ve used this calculator many times to plan out an appropriately sized tv.

    There may be better calculators, but this one seems fairly advanced, and it’s the first google hit.

  4. Project Manager says

    Hehe, yeah, I think Ian has a point:)

  5. Size of the TV conveys the social status to potential mates and rivals in modern human society.

  6. haha save money by not having a TV!

  7. If you get too close to the television, your surround-sound system will be useless. I’m thinking about getting a big TV and a couch, so I can rent seats on the couch to sports fans.

  8. Google “begs the question”, I think you meant to say “raises the question”.

  9. Why not just go for a projector? Then you can size the screen to the size you wish. Additionally, they generally use quite a bit less power than those big ass boxes.

    The hot new kid on the block appears to be slightly pricy for the LCD crowd, but you still might want to check it out:

  10. EE, average DLP for personal use consumes about the same 250-300 watts as 46″-52″ LCD HDTV. And the answer to your “why” question is poor contrast ratios of DLPs, as well as hassle with wall or ceiling mounts and wiring. There’re pros and cons as with any other choice.

  11. Haha, yeah this is def. an interesting one. We actually had to push back our couches because the tv we got a cple years ago was so big it started giving me headaches! We didn’t save money buying smaller, BUT we did by picking up a non-flat screen HD tv – you know, one of those huge box-like ones that takes up a bit of room? The $2k saved was def. worth it.

  12. Now I am going to have to get out a measuring tape to see if my T.V. is more than 7 feet away, I think I am safe though.

  13. I laughed when I read that title because the first thought that came into my head was my dad’s voice, “Don’t sit close to the tv or your brain will turn to silly putty” — now 30 years later I have an answer for him… the tv is too small!

  14. or why not just stop watching TV altogether…pick up a book. it is an option…

  15. @ Sam, I think this is a finance blog and not one of your students or childrens homework that you’re grading for gramatical errors.

    I own a 50+ inch tv and sit further away, and like everyone stated it depends on the size of the room and how many people watch the tv. Buy what you can afford.

    as a movie lover and sports fan, my tv ranks up their with the best things i’ve purchased.

  16. The reason why people feel they need a big TV is the same reason why everyone in this country needs to drive a big SUV, super-size everything, buy mcmansions, etc, etc.

  17. Tyrone Biggums says

    I have a 61″ DLP and love it. I’m a big sports and movie fan and definitely get my money’s worth. In fact, buying the bigger size TV has saved me money because now I have no interest in going to overpriced movie theaters. DLP’s are also highly energy efficient compared to LCD and plasma.

  18. One reason you might not be able to move your couch closer to the TV is it might end up being out in the middle of the room or a high traffic area.

    Ever think that people with larger families might want an SUV for convenience and safety? You forgot to mention minivan owners too; they guzzle just as much gas. Luckily now you have a president who will regulate what people can buy and (soon) say.

  19. I have a 50″ DLP and I have been considering upgrading to a 67″ DLP. I had my seating closer to the TV in the past, but my wife hated it and I had to move them against the back wall of the room.

    To me, if you watch a lot of TV then you should invest in the TV you want (within reason). This is the same line of thinking as why you should buy a nice bed since you will be using it for 8 hours a day. The amount of use should be a strong factor in determining value.

  20. By the way, you can get a 50″ Plasma HDTV for $800-900 these days from a quality maker like Samsung or Panasonic if you look for the right bargains. Although plasmas take a bit more power than LCDs, the differences isn’t huge. You might end up paying $25-50 more in electricity bills per year if you use your plasma a few hours a day.

    I also have to agree with Tyrone that you can offset some of the money you spend on the TV by going to movie theaters less often and staying in the comforts of your home. While not as good as a movie theater, you’ll still get a pretty good experience.

  21. I bought a projector for $700 and have a 96″ screen. Bang for your buck is incredible.

    Sitting closer doesn’t always work. Is sitting with your face up against a 19″ screen the same experience as a theater?

  22. Jennifer @ Money Saver 101 says

    If you can afford the bigger tv, then buy it. If not, buy the smaller one. It’s as simple as that.

    If you have to use credit in order to buy the tv, then you can’t afford it. If you can pay cash, you can afford it.

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