Viewing is Everything…

When designing your dedicated home theater room, viewing angle and seating play a key roll. Screen height, platform or riser height, etc., are more important than you think. Off angle viewing on wider rooms and long rows of seats could be a problem.

The temptation is to equate size of your screen or display with increased viewing pleasure, but there are limits based on distance from the screen and viewing angles. You want the Movie Theater experience, but how often do you sit in the first two rows? If you have to you’re move your head, side to side, or sit with a kink in your neck looking to the left or right because of your outside seating angle, you will pay for that tomorrow. You’re looking for the right combination of display size and viewing angle that fits your room

Screen manufacturers and home theater experts and institutions like SMPTE (the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers) place the best viewing angle at about 30 degrees. Meaning, if you would draw a triangle from the edges of the display to your nose, the angle of the apex (the angle that points at your head) would be 30 to 40 degrees. THX (yes, they do more than just create seat-rattling trailers) previously recommended a 36-degree optimal viewing angle for TVs, and 40 degrees for home theaters with projection screens. If the room is wider than the screen, we recommend the last one or two seats on the outside of the rows be angles toward the screen.
Optimum distance. Ideal viewing angle can be expressed simply as distance, too, usually 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal width of your screen. That means you should sit no closer than 7.5 feet from a 60-inch-wide TV, and no more than 12.5 feet away. There are no shortages of distant to screen calculators on line. Most will agree with the number listed here. The placement of the screen to seating for viewing, or your head in proportion to the seat. is best to have the center of the display screen at eye level when seated. While that might seem elementary, too many times I see screen pushed up to ceiling height, again causing you to tip your head up to see. That assumes a high ceiling, if a normal 8-9 foot ceiling, it may be mandatory to be right to the ceiling height for the projector. If you do elevate your display, assuming a flat screen/LED and not a movie screen, you could tilt it so that it faces your seating area. If your seating in a reclined position, so that your head is resting on the pillow top, higher may be fine.

Michael Laurino PremiereHTS www.premierehts.com