Projectors vs. Fixed Displays – Resolution and Viewing Distance

In the days before remote controls were commonplace, circa 1980, children sat within arms length of the TV so that they could quickly change the channel by hand upon the command of their caregivers and older siblings. During this time, a generation of American’s learned that being 6-inches away from the TV was an appropriate viewing distance. After the remote became ubiquitous, however, parents began telling their children they were sitting too close to the TV – and thusly – the concept of viewing distance was invented.

Ok, that’s not exactly true. But back when a “big screen TV” was 16-inches with 525 lines of interlaced resolution, you could be as close to your TV as you wanted and still have a pretty fuzzy image. In fact, getting too close allowed viewers to see more flaws.

Today, however, there is a wide range of affordable big fixed-screen HD (1080p) and UHD (4K) displays and video projectors. One criticism of these new UHD displays – if too good is a criticism – is that as resolutions have climbed from 1080p to 4k (with 8k on the horizon) the picture improvements are hardly noticeable.

For example, if you’re choosing between a 1080p and a 4K 55-inch display for your space, you won’t notice the added detail of 4K unless you’re within five feet of the image. Check out the chart below from (an independent tech guy) to see what we’re talking about.

display resolution and seating distance

“…What the chart shows is that, for a 84-inch screen, 4k resolution isn’t fully apparent until you are at least 5.5 feet or closer to the screen. For a “tiny” 55-inch screen, you’ll need to be 3.5 feet or closer… research by Bernard Lechner (former VP of RCA Laboratories) found the average viewing distance of American TV viewers is 9 feet. This is substantially farther than the 5.5 ft. distance required to fully resolve normal-sized 4k screens.”

As Carlton Bale points out, most people prefer not to sit within five feet of their TV, just as they don’t typically choose to sit in the first row at an IMAX theater. What’s the worst that can happen if you sit too close? Well, depending on what you’re viewing you might suffer bit of motion sickness, headaches, neck cramps, or other general discomfort. These are coincidentally the same things my mom complains about when I take her to a 3D movie

So, you can go one of two ways with this information:

  1. Save money – Don’t buy a display or projector with a resolution higher than you need for your space.
  2. Go big – Get the size image you need to enjoy UHD resolution – immerse yourself in awesome images.

The choice is yours to make.


As resolutions keep climbing, the best way to enjoy them is with an image large enough to show them off. If you’d rather wait to take full advantage of UHD we understand. If want to have the best available today, we understand that too. But from our point of view, if you want to get the best and truly enjoy it, you should seriously consider a 4k projector.

Quick Tip: Make sure you have access to true 4K content to get the best quality. Streaming content won’t typically stream to 4K without a premium added to the service. Remember we had a similar situation with 1080p content just a few years ago and the industry quickly caught up with that. Expect the same kind of progress in the coming years for 4k. And keep expecting improvements until we finally have our holodecks.

For example these are viewing range recommendations from two different sources:

Screen Size Recommended Range
35″ 3.5′ – 5.0′ (1.0 – 1.5 m)
40″ 4.0′ – 6.0′ (1.2 – 1.8 m)
50″ 5′ – 7.5′ (1.5 – 2.2 m)
60″ 6.0′ – 9.0′ (1.8 – 2.7 m)
Screen Size Recommended Range
40″ 4.0’ – 6.3’ (1.22 – 1.92 m)
42″ 4.2’ – 6.7’ (1.28 – 2.04 m)
50″ 5.0’ – 7.9’ (1.52 – 2.41)
60″ 6.5′ – 10.3′ (1.98 – 3.14 m)

We thought it made sense to share a bit more about emerging new standards for “viewing distance” so that you can be sure you’re watching screens from a ‘science-y’ smart distance. So let’s talk a little about what the AV community recommends for the distance between you and your screen these days. We won’t get into all the different theories on specifically why the viewing distances are suggested (you can read more on that here). We’ll just share the key points so you can make a wise buying decision when purchasing a display for a particular space.

It’s Game Day: Go Big and Stay Home this Football Season

Hey. Do you love football? I mean really love football? If you’re anything like me you live for Sundays. You get pumped up to go to the game. You love the roar of the crowd. The bone crushing hits of the defense. The precision of a quarter back’s game winning pass.

You love football. Down to your core. It’s in your soul.

But do you also suffer from the game day blues? Does your enthusiasm wane as you battle through traffic and spend an eternity trying to find stadium parking? Does your frustration overtake you as you wait in line for overpriced, mediocre beer and snacks? Do your buddies and significant other run in terror, as you turn from football fanatic into just plain fanatical?

Well, why not bring the game home to you?

Why not avoid the lines and traffic and obnoxious Eagles fans (just kidding, Philly) and post up at home with a larger than life set-up? Have the beer of your choosing and all the snacks that you want. Without traffic. And crowded parking lots. And the frustration that overshadows your pure passion for the game.

Don’t hail Mary through another football season when you can drive for a touchdown. Own your block. Experience the bone crushing hits and game winning passes on a huge video screen in a HD, surround sound setting also known as the sanctuary of your home! Invite the neighbors over and make them stand in line for beer, because you’re the one with a big screen home theater.

Go big and stay home is our motto at Projector People. And we have a game plan because we’re football fans too. Just give us a call. We can make fun of the Eagles together.

What you Need to Know about the Hitachi Short Throw Series

With so many uses, short throw projectors are rapidly growing in popularity. They can be ideal for traveling businessmen who don’t want the fuss of figuring out the best spot to set up a projector or used for classrooms and conference rooms where presenters don’t want people walking between the screen and the projector, blocking the image. The Hitachi Short Throw Series offers ultra-short throw units in both 4:3 and widescreen versions. These projectors are designed to be some of the brightest ultra-short throw units on the market.  The Hitachi CP-AX3505, for example, shines at a bright 3,600 ANSI lumens and boasts a 10,000:1 contrast ratio for vibrant image quality.  Weighing in at under 9 pounds, this projector can also be easily moved for travel or at the end of class.

Hitachi Short Throw Diagram
Hitachi Short Throw Diagram

If you are interested in short throw projectors but aren’t sure if they are right for you, give our experts a call at 1-888-248-0675

Why Go Short Throw?

Ever been in the middle of a presentation when someone accidentally moves in front of the projector or has to walk right in the middle to get to the bathroom? It seems destined to happen every time. This is where short throw projectors can be very useful. The NEC NP-M352WS, for example, is a portable projector that can delive

r an ideal short throw distance mere inches away from the screen but still pr

oject a large image. This can be useful for many reaso

Shadow Blocking Projector

n. The first is avoiding the awkward moments when people walk in between the projector and screen, throwing shadows on the presentation and distracting the audience. The second benefit is when there is no space for a projector to be mounted at the normal distance away or if you are traveling and can’t mount the projector anywhere but up close. NEC has perfected the short throw model, which is ideal for education (including interactive white boards), corporate offices, and for the traveling businessman.

If you are interested in a short throw projector, give us a call at 1-888-248-0675 and our experts can recommend the perfect one for you.

How To Simplify Presentation Setup and Increase Attendee Engagement

Barco ClickShare
Barco ClickShare

We have all experienced those meetings where half the presentation time is spent trying to share the content from computer to screen. Luckily, there is finally a solution. The Barco ClickShare is a one-click wonder that makes connecting to a video system easy. It not only gets the presentation on-screen in a second, but works with both Mac and PC. With wireless content sharing from one screen to another through the touch of a button or the click of an app, this technology results in attendees being more engaged and meetings become more efficient.

There are 2 Simple Ways of Sharing Content:

  • ClickShare Button: the no-installation necessary USB that can be started by simply double-clicking
  • Smartphone or Tablet App: allows you to connect content as well

Both of these options lets up to two people show their content on-screen simultaneously!

As always, if you have any questions our experts are just a phone call away: 1-888-248-0675