Gizmodo: How to Buy an HDTV


Do you really need 1080p?

The dirty secret about 1080p is that you don’t need it if you’re TV’s not big enough and you’re sitting too far back to see it. If a set’s under 40 inches, you don’t need 1080p—unless you’re going to be wiping snot streaks off the glass. The Lechner distance, named for this guy, is the optimal viewing distance at which your eye can fully process all the detail offered by an HDTV’s resolution. It scales, based on how big your TV is. (In English, it’s how far away you should sit from an HDTV.) An example: The average viewing distance in an American home is 9 feet from the set. In order to fully see all of the details 1080p offers at that distance, you’d need a 70-inch set. So if you’re sitting more than six feet away from your TV—or just buying a smaller set—considering saving some cash by going 720p. You literally won’t be able to tell the difference.

via How to Buy an HDTV.

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