Debunking the myth behind sitting too close to your TV

“Stop sitting so close to the TV, do you want to go blind?” I am sure many of us have heard this from our loved ones time and again, and again, and again when we were kids. Sulking while walking back to the sofa, we ask ourselves why we have to sit so far away from the TV, everything looks so small from back there!

How does it affect my eyes?
Contrary to what you have been told, sitting too close to the TV does not physically damage your eyes – yes, you heard me right, stick your face right in front of your TV all day and you will still maintain that crystal clear vision of yours. However, that does not mean you can start shifting your sofa ever so much closer to the TV. Even though watching TV at a close distance does not damage your eyes physically, it does result in eye strain and fatigue.
Although eye strain is rarely a serious condition, the effects are quite uncomfortable – such as sore and irritated eyes, blurry vision, and trouble focusing. At times, eye fatigue can lead to headaches and even pain in the neck, back, and shoulders.

Image quality

To give you another reason to keep your distance, sitting too close to the TV actually worsens the image quality you perceive! Being too close to the screen will allow your eyes to pick up the pixels, even if you own a HDTV, it cannot escape such fate, and it all comes down to what is called “angular resolution”.
The further one is to the screen, the less details the eye can pick up, and at a certain distance your eyes will not be able to distinguish all the details. That is the distance you would want to have between your couch and the television set because at that point, your eyes will not be able to pick up the minute details of each pixel resulting in a crisp image.
Let’s present the information in another way. Ever zoomed into that fantastic selfie you took and realised that it is extremely pixelated, but it seems so clear when it is zoomed out? The principle here is exactly the same. When the photo is zoomed in, the details are enlarged and our eyes will then be able to pick out the pixels we weren’t able to before.

So how far should I sit away from the TV?

Here’s a chart you can refer to give yourself a rough estimate on how far apart your couch should be away from the TV for optimal viewing pleasure:
Keep the above chart in mind while planning your living space, make sure there is enough room for your TV and couch to maintain an optimal distance, after all, you’ll want to enjoy your drama-marathon on HD while preventing your eyes from too much strain, do you?

Tips to help you plan your room arrangement

1. Television size

For many of us, we do not get to enjoy the luxury of having the entire living for the sole purpose of television entertainment, our living room is a common space for all sorts of activity among the entire household. When planning your living room for multipurpose arrangement, always keep in mind other furniture and space required.
So how does this translate to planning for your television? Do not rush out and purchase that ginormous TV to accomplish your dream of emulating a cinematic experience right in your home. With such a large piece of television, you will have to set a larger distance between you and the screen, by then you will realise that you have no more space left for your dining tableunless you are a fan of having it placed awkwardly between the couch and the television!
Depending on how much space you can play around with, refer back to the above chart and purchase a suitably-sized television that is just right for your room layout. You might not be able to enjoy your fantasy of having your very own movie theatre, but your living room will be so much more cosy and practical, you can thank yourself later.

2. Natural lighting

Natural sunlight is a great way to liven up your living room (saving you electricity bills too!). However, these streams of light not only illuminates your room, but it also invites glare onto your TV screen if it is placed in a bad position.
One way to prevent glare is to place your television in front of your windows, this way the light will shine behind the TV rather than on it. If having the TV in front of your windows is awkward and spoils the aesthetics you have in mind for your room, a curtain will do the trick.
Many people tend to focus too heavily on the aesthetics of their room layout instead of the practicality, hence the implications of television positioning usually slipped out of our minds. Keeping the glare issues in mind during planning will prevent any future frustrations during viewing.