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TVs look small in the shop but huge in your living room - How to choose the right size

Although many people shop for their televisions online and pick a set based on nothing more than the manufacturers specifications and a few user reviews, there is a better way to make your choice. Head to your local purveyor of HD TVs and have a look at their display models, then head back home, get online and get a much better deal. Comparing TVs side by side will certainly help you to determine which set has the best image quality, but the next big issue to face up to is which size screen is right for you. These days screens vary in size from 15 inches right up to 60 inches or more and often similarly priced screens can have very different sizes. Seeing them in a showroom is a little less helpful in this instance and the best way to pick a television that is the right size is to think about the space in which you are planning to use it at home.

If you are going to be using the television in your kitchen or bedroom, where it is not going to be the main focal point for attention but just something you will have on from time to time, then a smaller screen will probably work out fine. This will obviously take up less space, leaving your work surfaces freer and something of around 15 to 22 inches in size will probably be suitable, depending on the size of the area you are working with.

For a main television set which you will use in your living room as part of your home cinema setup, you will probably want something much larger. It is worth pointing out at this stage that HD TVs have both a minimum and maximum viewing distance from which they can be comfortably watched. As such if you get a television that is too large, you could end up with the picture looking less than perfect because you are sitting a little too close.

The smallest size TV which most consider for their living rooms is usually 26 inches, although in the current market the most popular size of choice is 32 inches. This gives you the perfect balance between size, cost and viewing distances. For a 32 inch screen the minimum recommended viewing distance is around 4 feet and the maximum distance is a little under 9 feet. This is perfect for the average living room, where your sofa might typically sit comfortably within this distance range.

If you really want to receive a cinematic experience in your home, you will definitely require a larger TV. If you are looking at televisions with screens of 42, 47, 50 or 55 inches and upwards then the minimum viewing distance will be of greater concern. This range covers between 5 and 7 feet and these distances are recommended because getting any closer will compromise the image fidelity and could result in eyestrain as you struggle to take it all in. An inordinately large TV will also look a little ridiculous if it is occupying a small room.

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We compare TVs from these retailers. Click a logo below to go directly to the web site.

Ace Audio Visual Online B & Q BeyondTelevision Co-op Electrical Shop Currys Partmaster Currys PC World Electrical Discount UK Electrical Experience Euroffice Expert Verdict Go Electrical House of Fraser Hughes Ideal World UK John Lewis UK Mankind Marks and Spencer UK Mattress Man Rapid Online - Rapid Electronics Ltd. Simply Electricals The Hut UK TV Cables UK Office Direct Limited Westfalia Mail Order Zavvi UK

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