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This is FANTASTIC!! It confirms what others have said, on CNET, as well as on Hometheaterreview.com (where the authors claimed NO difference for 1080P content on a JVC 1080P projector vs the Sony 4K projector on a 110″ screen from 8-10′ away). For those who claim that the 4K still looks better… that’s probably because it’s brighter, or has better contrast, or better color… You are not comparing apples-to-apples resolution only. A 4K projector is 4-5X more expensive than a very good 1080P projector. Unless your screen size is >120″ and you’re sitting 10′ away or closer (approx., better to… Read more »

Mike McG

Ever notice the authors on CNET are wearing glasses? As a person with better than 20/20 vision (which is the population norm), there is a MASSIVE difference between 4K and 1080P from the same viewing distance. See for yourself, select 20/10 or 20/15 in the calculator.

I’d suggest reading Katzmaier’s take on the recent Panasonic 4K set, where he compares it directly with a 1080p set of the same size, using the same 4K content, and the closest THX recommended viewing angle:


Not sure why you’re bashing glasses. So we shouldn’t believe people that make sure their vision is corrected to be at least average, if not better?

Mike McG

I’m not bashing people with glasses, I’m just tired of the misleading and inaccurate reviews. I’ve seen the TVs myself, side by side, with the same content vs 1080p, in person, and the difference to me is night and day. If you make the mistaken assumption that 20/20 is “average”, then you’re going to come to false conclusions.


20/20 IS Average! Research what the term means.

Mike McG

Thanks, I have! You should too! Let me get you started with studies of visual acuity by age. http://www.oculist.net/downaton502/prof/ebook/duanes/pages/v5/v5c051.html By definition, 20/20 vision is nominal, or “normal”. Check Wikipedia…or anywhere really. This does not imply in any way that it is a statistical average in a given population. In fact, it’s not even a scientifically chosen measure! It just so happens that Snell, who invented the chart, had an assistant who could read a standard lead size print from 20 feet. As he was considered to have good eyesight, that became the starting point for the test, but they later… Read more »


Regardless of whether the normal or average number is 20/20 or 20/15, the words ‘normal’ and ‘average’ both apply to whichever number you prefer. Normal means average (unless it’s in the context of function).


Nope. Norm vs average. Wake up dude.


Nope, norm IS average. That’s what normal means. Wake up dude.


Chris, You article is rubbish. Thankfully we reply on science and not your objective opinion that has no basis or support in science. You are assuming all people has 20/20. That is the normal and not the average. The majority of people have a better vision than 20/20. The average is 20/14, so 4k matters at normal viewing distances. What we see if a reconstruction of our mind based on input provided by our eyes. It is not the actual light (photon particle-waves) received by our eyes. The human eye can resolve the equivalent of 52 megapixels (assuming a 60%… Read more »

Mike Boone

Surge, you made an important point in stating that it can be factors other than resolution that will cause a 4k TV to look better than a 1080p TV of the same size. In the last year that the famous Pioneer Kuro plasmas were still being made, Home Theater magazine conducted viewing tests with a panel made up of video editors and reviewers who compared a bunch of 1080p flat panels in the 50 to 52 inch size range. The viewing panel had no idea that the 50 inch Pioneer was a lone exception among the group of TVs, in… Read more »

Jacobus Maximus

“The phrase ’20/20 vision’ refers to NORMAL vision…A person with 20/20 vision can see what an AVERAGE individual can see on an eye chart when they are standing 20 feet away.” (Emphasis added)

—Dr. J. Kevin McKinney MD, OD Eye Health Northwest Oregon City, OR


In case you think a Medical Doctor/Ophthalmologist doesn’t know what they’re talking about…


How do you translate the findings for a 2.35:1 screen?


The Limits of Human Vision
Michael F. Deering



And the THX setup guidelines:


These are interesting because they are designed for comfortable viewing. You can’t simply change the angles to 2x or 4x (the distance to 1/2 or 1/4) to accommodate 2x or 4x resolution.

In effect, increasing resolution does not make much sense over 2K because of the comfortable viewing factor that limits the angle, and the fixed resolution of the human eye. I would rather invest in higher bitrate instead, because this will provide a true advantage, a more natural image with less artifacts.

Mike McG

I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. An increase in resolution to match the capabilities of the human eye makes a huge difference. Human visual capabilities average from 20/10 in young people, to 20/14 on average, to 20/20 at age 55 as our vision slowly degrades. At 20/10, even a moderate 40″ TV sees a nearly 300% benefit at 4K from 6ft. At 55″, 4K isn’t enough, as 5K resolution would be ideal. When you’re doing calculations, base it on your vision, but don’t assume 20/20 is average, because it is not.



Tom Ldn

THX actually recommend a 40 degree viewing angle, for a fully ‘immersive’ experience. This means you have to sit quite close to the TV – most people are more comfortable with a 30 degree viewing angle. If you sit as close as THX recommend, a 4K UHD will make sense, but usually Full HD resolution will be sufficient. You can see a comparison and optimum viewing distances in this infographic http://www.kagoo.co.uk/blog/how-to-find-the-right-size-tv-infographic/


The equation for optimal 20/20 viewing distance in feet (in decimals) is:

* where x = screen’s diagonal length
* where aspect ratio isn’t 16:9, change 16 & 9 in the above equation with appropriate aspect ratio
* 1080 is the resolution used in the above equation; change if required to the appropriate resolution
* the last part of the equation ’12’ is to convert the final figure into feet. For applying this equation to a smaller device, say a smartphone or a tablet/laptop, not incl this 12 would show results in inches.


I have a 2007 model Toshiba.. still has a pretty good picture, but when I went to see the Sony 4k I was blown away.. I have 20/15 vision. You have to be right on top of the tv to see any kind of pixels But, I do believe it makes a difference. I have a 1080p 5″ phone an my wife has a 4.7″ 720p phone an I can tell the difference in the two as far as resolution.. I don’t care what Steve jobs said.. some people with near perfect vision can distinguish the resolution even at that… Read more »

Mike McG

I’m with ya ;) I have 20/10 vision, and I still see the pixels on the retina displays. 4K is ideal for me for a 40″ TV. Anything larger, and an even higher resolution would be beneficial.

Richard Barg

Amazingly brilliant. You nailed it.


Nope, he assumes all people has 20/20. That is the normal and not the average. The majority of people have a better vision than 20/20. The average is 20/14, so 4k matters at normal viewing distances. What we see if a reconstruction of our mind based on imput provided by our eyes. It is not the actual light (photon particle-waves) received by our eues The human eye can resolve the equivalent of 52 megapixels (assuming a 60% angle of view, 20/20 vision). However, if we consider a 20% off-center we perceive 1/10 as much detail. At periphery we detect larger… Read more »


“Nope, he assumes all people has 20/20. That is the normal and not the average”

The normal IS the average. That’s what normal means (unless we’re talking about function, i.e. a ‘normal’ eye vs an eye with any kind of physiological condition).

Mike McG

Thanks for sharing this calculator! It’s great to have a tool that can show what improvement real people will see, vs. all these misinformed articles claiming there is no noticeable difference, written by authors in glasses, assuming 20/20 is average vision (it is not). Average human vision is closer to 20/14, with many people in the 20/12 to 20/10 range. I have 20/10, and your calculator tells me on a 40″ 4K TV at 6ft away, I’ll perceive about a 278% improvement over 1080P, which matches what I’ve seen in person with 4K TVs…the picture is SOOOO much sharper! Now,… Read more »

Except what you are writing makes no sense. 20/20 vision means that someone sees at 20 feet what an average person sees at 20 feet. If 20/14 was actually “average” then the scale would be reset and that would become 20/20.

Mike McG

Hi Chris, no, that is not what 20/20 means. That’s an inaccurate assumption made by most people when discussing 4K. 20/20 is not a statistical average of human vision (at least not until you look at people about 60+ years old). 20/20 is what they consider “normal” vision, meaning that your vision is considered within the normal range. The population average is closer to 20/14, with some people seeing as well as 20/10. At 20/10, I can resolve the same detail at 40ft as a person with 20/20 could see at 20ft. Which means for me, and many others (under… Read more »

Jacobus Maximus

And if you needed further proof that you are wrong:

Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision – ABC News

The State of Vision, Aging, and Public Health in America – CDC

Statistics and Data | National Eye Institute – NIH

Eye Health Statistics – American Academy of Opthamology

Jacobus Maximus

McG: Are you an MD/OD? Probably not. And you probably don’t have 20/10 vision either. Chris Heinonen is right:

“The phrase ’20/20 vision’ refers to NORMAL vision…A person with 20/20 vision can see what an AVERAGE individual can see on an eye chart when they are standing 20 feet away.” (Emphasis added)

—Dr. J. Kevin McKinney MD, OD Eye Health Northwest Oregon City, OR


In case you think a Medical Doctor/Ophthalmologist doesn’t know what they’re talking about…

Mark Rejhon

An interesting test for 4K benefit is computer graphics aliasing — http://www.testufo.com/aliasing-visibility

Surprisingly, this is actually visible 10 feet away from a 50″ 4K display (or 24″ 1080p monitor — almost the same ppi). The line aliasing/antialiasing artifacts translates to a bead-type artifact that shows up at wide spacing intervals, which then becomes visible from a farther-than-expected viewing distance.

Mahmoud El-Darwish

Correct but there is a missing parameter. Field scanning by the viewer! Since it increases with larger screens, it affects the experience. Note how the benefits of 4k are derived from a larger panorama. This mimics movie theater experience at overly close seating to screen, which we know to be counter productive!


I think most people here are confusing increased resolution with improved color representation and brightness. As for resolution, I have 20/20 and am unable to discern the difference between 720p and 1080p on a 46″ screen at 2 meters distance. I have absolutely no interest in 4k, but am very interested in better and brighter colors.


4k is not only better resolution, the more pixels and updated standards yield more colors. A 4k panel also helps 1080p content look better, especially if the content is 4k (although it does not have to be); upscaling. 1080p TV’s use hdmi 1.4 which is limited to 30 frames per second (or 30Hz), 10.2Gbps TMDS throughput. Some 4k tv’s on hdmi 1.4 is only 24Hz for the 4k content. HDMI 1.4 can deliver 4k content, but will be at 24/30fps and with some luck most likely with 8 bit 4:2:0 color. 4K panels with HDMI 2.0 supports 50/60 fps, with… Read more »

Jens Emil Ravn Nielsen

I know you posted this a long time ago, but I just want to point out that watching 4k content on a 1080 screen won’t look as nice as 1080 content on a 1080 screen. Just like upscaling 1080 content on a 4k screen won’t look as nice as 4k content on a 4k screen, downscaling/sampling 4k to a 1080 screen just won’t look as nice.


That is incorrect.
2160p content on a 1080p panel would look better than 1080p content on a 1080p panel.
1080p content on a 2160 panel would look better than 1080p content on a 1080p panel.
2160p content on a 2160p panel would look better than 1080p content on a 1080p panel.

The first assertion is almost certainly wrong, the second is up for debate, and the third is of no debate. Downsampling 2160p to 1080p isn’t going to look better than 1080p because there a 99% certainty that the scaler inside the TV is worse than the one being used to master the content. Studios are already taking a 4K master and converting it down to 1080p and when they do that, they have someone there doing that job to make sure there aren’t jaggies, moire, and other artifacts when they downsample. If they are there, they can tweak the master… Read more »


Sigh. You did not read the link I posted, did you? I have not stated claims, I stated facts and provided the source. You, however, think that your opinion can graduate to fact merely because you posted it. ***roll eyes*** 1) 2160p content on a 1080p panel would look better than 1080p content on a 1080p panel. Why is this a fact? Because…wait for it…wait for it… wait more… here goes .. Downscaling somewhat reduces the quality, but the end result is still better than a 1080p content due to the bit rate of 4k content. Not depending on Chris… Read more »

This will be my last reply to this thread as I’m not going to continually engage with name calling trolls. Nor will they be allowed to post. You can disagree, and you can do it in a civil manner. Downscaling somewhat reduces the quality, but the end result is still better than a 1080p content due to the bit rate of 4k content. If you give one signal a much larger bit-rate then it can look better. However, if you are sending a 4K signal to a 1080p display, you are effectively throwing away 75% of your bitrate. Why? Because… Read more »

Remedy Ailment

Hmm, i think John’s assertions about downsampling based on higher bitrates are fatally flawed, I also agree that his attitude is terrible I’m not sure what calling people idiots achieves, maybe he spent $$$$ on 4K. the main problem i have is that the assertion that downsampling from a higher is obviously better because to him it appears a perfect conclusion logically, far from it. Much like those who misbelieve that hi-res audio is better, when sampling from higher bitrates the error margins are much larger and therefore so are the errors. I also think that some 4K sets look… Read more »


This is the best destruction of an idiot comment I’ve ever seen. Bravo.


John was banned for calling Chris an idiot, so how does calling John[‘s comment] an idiot make your comment any better?

bruce livingston

Watching that disrespectful arsehat get schooled is the best thing I’ve seen today. Well done sir.


Criticising someone for name calling and then using an abusive term yourself is not very intelligent or respectful.


4k video will always look better on a 1080p screen. It’s because a 4k video downsampled 4x will have 4:4:4 chroma subsampling on a 1080p screen. Basically, bit for bit, pixel for pixel uncompressed 1080p video is what it looks like.

That isn’t always true. A lot of this is going to depend on the scaler in the 1080p TV or 4K player and how it outputs the video. Yes, it can have full chroma resolution, but if the scaler is poor and adds moire or aliasing, it will look worse than a proper 1080p transfer with full chroma resolution. It’s pretty much impossible to say always about something.


I know this article is now getting ancient and 4K TV are more readily available so many people are going to end up with one intentionally or otherwise – call it herd instinct, sheep do it and even people do it, whether they like it or not. And manufacturers and marketeers are the shephards. That is why we ended up with VHS videos instead of Beta max. I came here to seriously find out if 4K was worth the hype, I now realise for most people living in average houses it doesn’t matter. My comment is about name calling and… Read more »


Agreed. I can see a need for banning for sites like this for the sake of maintaining a pleasant atmosphere of discussion. However I don’t believe that others should use the same name calling and I think the one with the control to ban should not have the last word. To his credit Chris very patiently re-iterated his point and his reply helped me to understand scaling issues even better. But Chris started by calling John a troll. Unfortunately I think that that takes away from the justification that name calling got John banned. Sometimes people require a lot of… Read more »


Troll (noun): Digital Technology. Informal. a person who posts inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments online for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response. [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/troll] Idiot (noun): Informal. an utterly foolish or senseless person [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/idiot] John, by his behavior, was the literal definition of a name-calling troll. That’s an accurate description, not an insult or judgement. In no way is that equivalent to calling someone an idiot, which is saying they’re dumb, and always meant as an insult. It’s like saying you shouldn’t say someone is a shameless liar, because it’s mean. If they lie all the… Read more »

Michael Cunningham

Wow Chris. Have fun with your echo in your silo. This whole thread is full of caveat and supposition masquerading as science. There are so many actual factors having to do with the sensory discernment of video quality that I have to take this steadfast anchoring to a narrow argument as just “stuck on stupid.” Technology is advancing rapidly. 4K is simply part of it, and is a new resolution baseline that supports and drives so many other advances. Processors are getting faster and more accurate – and pictures are getting better – mainly to take advantage of 4k. Excellence… Read more »


Dear poor John,
Just wanted to let you know 2 points:
1. As soon as you name your opponent names, e.g., ‘you idiot’, – you become one, i.e., an idiot. It’s just a fact. Ask your wife.
2. The issue is RESOLUTION. It’s a specific anatomo-physiological term, well defined (look it up). NOT ‘looks better’. So, regarding RESOLUTION, everything the author (Chris) wrote in the article AND answered to you is correct.

Simply hook up a blue-ray dvd to SD tv and see what happens WITH THE RESOLUTION.


Well, I think it’s much more likely than not that all those engineers working so hard on 8K and then 16K etc ad nauseam are just a manifestation, like driverless cars, of a computer and electronics industry facing a saturated market finding solutions to questions no one is asking that they hope the public will, lemming-like, find it popular to purchase. What say you?

Mike Magnum

I agree with Angry_Dad. 4k is just a gimmick to get people who have perfectly good tv. To go out and by another one.


It has absolutely nothing to do with scaling. 2160p content looks better on 1080p screens because of chroma subsampling and compression. 1080p content on a 1080p screen is not 4:4:4 chroma. Almost no video is 4:4:4 chroma unless uncompressed. Every 4 pixels shares brightness with one pixel in a 4×4 grid. Most video is 4:2:0 chroma. 2160p content on a 1080p screen looks better because it is in effect full 4:4:4 chroma. Because the other 3 subsampled pixels are not there, every pixel has it’s own value for brightness. 2160p content on a 1080p screen, in effect, looks like uncompressed… Read more »

Jens Emil Ravn Nielsen

Your link doesn’t have anything to do with downscaled resolution. At least, I didn’t read anything that mentioned it. I stand by my original comment. By the way, I wasn’t trying to be contentious, and I am still not, but resolution is resolution. I am not talking about color fidelity

Ryan Doyle

This is what I feared….until I bought my new Sony 4K TV. BIG improvement.

Sakanawei l

I’m sure the writer of this article is one of those many “tech gurus” that back in the days claimed things like “you don’t need an expensive 1080p t.v, 720p is just fine because you won’t see any difference between these two resolutions”.

I didn’t claim that back then, because I wasn’t writing about AV then, but I will now. Look at the reviews here for TVs and you’ll find two Vizio 32″ displays from this year. One is a 720p set and one is a 1080p set. Having reviewed and watched both extensively, the 720p set is the one I’d recommend 99% of the time. It has deeper blacks, better contrast ratios, and more accurate colors. Having compared them side-by-side, using a 1080p signal from a Blu-ray player going to both, once you are more than 3-4′ away you cannot see the… Read more »


Those who argue about TV resolutions remind me of the people who argue about absurd megapixels on cameras or the ones who think that having true “1080p” on a 5″ phone screen actually makes a difference. The notion that higher numbers equals higher quality is something electronics companies have used for years to seduce people into buying next years model. Its easier to advertise those “40 MP” or “4K Ultra HD” than explain to people the complex web of factors that go into real image quality.

[…] might notice it more. But if that’s case, you might want to consider a 4K TV instead. Check out Chris Heinonen’s 4K calculator to see if 4K’s worth it for your […]


Standing even 20′ away the UHD is more immersive than any standard HD TV. With nothing more than a blueray player and a 20BB/sec cable or better. If retail stores have anything the consumer doesn’t it is for sale. They are not hoarding anything. Getting the consumer ever better stuff is how they stay in business. What is there to hold back? Also I live in a google fiber hood. Google hosts Netflix servers. The 4k stream is great and really beats everything for 4k, if you can have it. I am sure Fios and Uverse are awesome also. There… Read more »


Remember something else. If you walk into the store and expect to see the best possible 1080p screen next to the flashy new 4k display they are trying to upsell everyone to, you are out of your mind. Most stores will display a 5 year old LCD from the bargain bin next to their newest 4k model to highlight the vast difference. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the settings were fiddled with to give the 4k even more advantage. There is a difference, but it’s hard to argue with the facts. For most of us, in normal living rooms… Read more »


Agree….The techies are out with their logic but the fact remains….I am a professional photographer and absolutely know how to look at an image for flaws and resolution detail etc. The 4K’s seem better to the human brain. Crank all the numbers you want. People come to my home, stand 10-15 feet away from my 60″ 4k TV and stand there with their mouths open !!! They cannot believe it. We tell them nothing about the TV…..until they ask.


I seriously question this. 10-15 feet away with a 4K screen makes zero difference to my eye and I’ve yet to encounter someone who can prove otherwise, I honestly think you’re just experiencing a placebo effect – you’re arguing with cold hard science, sir. It also makes a big difference to just have a TV setup properly which frankly most people don’t know how to do, as well as having a TV which displays great colour and blacks. Like the OP said, there is so much more behind a great display than resolution. This is coming from someone in video/TV… Read more »

Mike Magnum

Either that or your the people who come home are easily impressed. Ive seen enough of at stores. With optimized video. Can i see the difference. Yes from a foot away. but once i get into normal viewing distances. It might as well be a 1080p screen. I think people who want to jerkoff to 4K. Must have confirmation bias. People tell you its amazing. so it must be amazing.

Chase Payne

I think many people are being mislead on how TV’s handle lower resolutions. To make a long story short, a 1080p image theoretically looks exactly the same on a 4k TV. Let me explain to you how it works: Pretty much all modern TV’s today feature a technology called upscaling, which means instead of reducing the televisions resolution entirely, it doubles the pixels to fit the same screen space as it would originally. It looks exactly the same as you would be running on that resolution. This doesn’t work on everything, but if you’re just ana average American who only… Read more »

A bit of this is off, so I’ll quote those bits. Pretty much all modern TV’s today feature a technology called upscaling, which means instead of reducing the televisions resolution entirely, it doubles the pixels to fit the same screen space as it would originally. It looks exactly the same as you would be running on that resolution. That’s incorrect. First, you’d be quadrupling the pixels and not doubling, but otherwise almost no TVs do that anyway. That would be a dumb scaler which no TV uses now. They use interpolation to attempt to create detail. So if you have… Read more »

Chase Payne

I can run 600×480 on my 4k TV, and then run the same image on a CRT screen which doesn’t suffer from resolution issues like LCD’s and the 4k TV looks better. There’s probably more to it than pixel doubling (it’s called that because it was mainly done for 720 -> 1080p, hence why it’s not called quadrupling. ) 4k TV’s are an advantage for video gamers, especially those who use 3d (passive) as it is true 1080p 3d for each eye. Some tvs also feature enhanced upscaling like Xreality which is really good, but sometimes can backfire and looks… Read more »

Actually, you just don’t really know what you’re talking about here, as this makes clear. I don’t think its fair to compare OLED to it, I only claimed 4k offers better color and contrast compared to a normal 1080p LED TV. Your original statement was “You can’t achieve the same levels of contrast and brightness on a 1080p TV vs a 4k one, so they will always look better regardless of what people claim.” with zero caveats about display type. OLED is also not related to the display at all, it is simply a change in the backlight much like… Read more »

Chase Payne

I don’t know why anyone would buy an OLED tv, for better blacks and whites when the artificial effects applied on modern tv’s are fairly accurate, for significantly cheaper. Not to mention that OLEDS have a shorter lifespan, they lose brightness much faster than a LCD TV. If you buy a 4k TV that’s an LCD, you can expect it to last 15-20 years under moderate use before it reaches half brightness. If you an OLED TV, it will last 7 years under the exact same usage but it will run into half brightness. And the big issue is the… Read more »

Obviously nothing is going to convince you that OLED is good, even though you don’t seem to understand it. Current OLEDs have a half-brightness of 25,000-40,000 hours for the blue sub pixel. That’s 17+ years at 4 hours a day of usage, and then it reaches half brightness. The OLED hardware is made to compensate for this as well so the colors don’t skew. You’re really overstating the lag issue. That’s the panel response time, whereas LCDs have a panel response time of a whole 5ms now. Every panel has much, much higher lag than this because of video processing.… Read more »

Chase Payne

OLED will be worth it once it gets cheaper, there was a time were LED costed a ton of money but after mass production it became worth it. There will always be video enthusiasts who actually do want the best picture possible, but the fact the matter is most people don’t even change the default settings on their own TV and it would be hard to convince people that staying the same resolution for the same color is worth the price as opposed to 4k where you are sitting a certain distance (<5 feet) and you notice a huge difference… Read more »

If you put a true 65 1080p display and a 4k 65 display next to each other with the same image, at five feet the customer will be able to tell a huge difference. This is the entire reason for the calculator. No one sits 5′ away from a 65″ TV at home, but stores are setup to make you be this far away. Of course you can see a difference at that distance, but no one will do that in real life. However, sit the normal 10-12′ away from an LCD, plasma, and OLED and you’ll be able to… Read more »

Chase Payne

You’re right Chris. OLED is significantly better, I actually sold my 4k TV and got an LG OLED 1080p and it was miles better than the 4k LCD I had. I also discovered that field of view is a huge problem (our vision is actually only 20/20 in like a 10 degree field of view) that it made no sense to get 4k at all. I appreciate your time pointing out my ignorance because I have an amazing TV now and everytime someone comes over they think my tv is 4k when it’s actually 1080p =)


I heavily disagree with this calculator, it tells me that there is no
difference between fullhd and 4k for a 60 inch screen at 9 feet and I
have seen them on the store and you can really notice a difference (and
without even having to compare them side by side). I just have not
bought one because the content to apreciate it is not really here.


Store floors are the worst place to view content on a TV. They tailor-make demo content specifically meant to play on a 4K TV, playing nearby HD TVs broadcasting lower quality content, to convince buyers of their advantage. You’re also generally standing much closer to the screen than you will be in your home, unrealistically highlighting the details. They also usually don’t play them side-by side, rather a few feet away at perpendicular angles. Why? Because you can’t make a true comparison that way. Ask a store rep to play the content on a 4K TV on their best 1080… Read more »


Yes, you are correct, however I have seen the 4k demos from a bigger distance that the calculator says and I can apreciate a better image than the ones I get on any fullhd screen. (the one of the rubber ducks is one of my favorites).


Once again that calculator is adding up distance vs screen resolution, its hard for people to get their head around it because they associate one with the other but TV resolution is not the same as UHD content, in store your watching UHD content played on a 4k TV, I’m sure its beautiful, what would be a more accurate test is Full HD (1080p) content played on a 4k TV compared to a 1080p TV there would be hardly any difference I’d wager. 4k can play UHD natively a 1080p TV has to downscale it so the advantage would lie… Read more »


Where 4K TV shine is in watching 3D content. Now you get a full 1080p per eye and you can really tell the difference.

You already are getting 1080p per eye with a 1080p set with active glasses. Only passive glasses are giving you 540p per eye but those are gone now I believe. 3D on 4K can be better because you get to wear passive glasses so the image is brighter and it is easier on the eyes usually. However, on all the TVs I’ve seen this year or others have done (Panasonic AX900U, LG 4K OLED, Samsung JS9000) the way that 3D is done is with a polarizer. If you are closer than 10′ to the set the angle is too sharp… Read more »


I have a 50 inch 1080p active plasm TV from several years ago along with 10 pair of expensive active 3d glasses. I was actually very much inticed to by new TV only because of the idea of having 1080p passive 3D through a 4K TV. Could not believe no 4K TV made last year or this year supports 3D. I hear again and again 3D is dead but honestly if I’m buying a $3,000 + TV again it shore better support every playback and not just convince me I should by over something my two eyes can’t actually see.

William FitzPatrick

Did you ever stop to think that the content that they were playing on the two displays weighted towards the 4K display? There are things in that can be done to images, such as reduction in contrast and other atrocities that would give an otherwise stunning 1080p panel a bad rep. If they put the same content on both displays, then I can undoubtedly say that they would look the same, except if the 1080p panel was garbage. That brings me to my next point you could be comparing an absolute crap 1080p display to a 4k IPS display. That… Read more »


4k content is the key here in this comment, there is a difference that some people don’t grasp when comparing 4k TV resolution benefits to UHD content benefits. A 4k resolution is going to make your TV sharper in terms of pixels so the benefit in a 4k TV comes with the size of screen i.e bigger the screen more pixels = better image however UHD content is where the real issue is because that content is what’s really carrying the quality of image delivered to your TV screen ……. problem right now and in the future is apart from… Read more »

Blackbart Jones

First there is very little true 4K video to watch on a TV and the up scaling does not do that much. Also hdmi ver 1.2 cannot handle the bitrate needed to play a full 4k video, at 80mbs or higher. That is why it is too early to by a 4k tv unless it is just a great deal. Sony sells a few movies on a proprietary disk but those movies are reduced in bitrate. Once the h265 encoding takes off more then there will be movies that are small enough to be practical and look good A h264… Read more »

Every single UltraHD TV this year, and I believe everyone last year, have inputs that are full bandwidth HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2. That’s enough bitrate to handle UltraHD with full 4:4:4 chroma subsampling at 60Hz or even 120Hz. No UltraHD TV shipped with HDMI 1.2 that I’m aware of as that was long outdated when the first models came out. All UltraHD content currently available (Netflix, Amazon) also already uses H.265 as the TVs need to have internal HEVC decoders to handle the content today. UltraHD will also use HEVC and their discs are larger than standard Blu-ray (66GB… Read more »

Blackbart Jones

2.0a still has the limit of 18gb, which will not give you full 4K, and thought it says 4K, you are not getting true 4K from netflix, they just do not have the bandwidth to push that.

It will be a while before you get true 4K and until you get players that support h265 that dont just upscale, you wont

You’re just wrong on the HDMI 2.0 bandwidth. I laid out the data requirements for raw, uncompressed UHD signals in a piece for HDGuru a couple years ago: http://hdguru.com/hdmi-2-0-what-you-need-to-know/ Or to make the math more plain, we have a limit of 18,000,000,000 bits per second. To calculate the number of bits you need for UltraHD, it would be 3840×2016 (pixels) x 30 bits per pixel (for 10-bit color, which is HDR) x 24 or 60 (for frames per second). That comes out to 5.98 Gb/sec (for 24p) or 14.93 Gb/sec (for 60p). Both of those are less than the 18.0… Read more »


Lol, this is the most hilariously misguided “calculator” I’ve ever seen. According to the calculator, I shouldn’t be able to see the difference between my HTC One m8’s 1080p screen and my brother’s LG G3’s QuadHD screen at arm’s length. I have pretty dang bad eyesight and the difference is PLAIN to see even for me. Did you even bother to check the results of your calculator compared to reality? Your chosen formulae are way, way off.

Paul Duggan

Is the resolution the ONLY difference between those two screens? Answer: No, it is not.


That said, I really liked the way you dealt with John. Don’t think I can’t disagree and still highly respect someone ;-)


the 4k rabbit hole is deep

Group of Oceninfo

I am planning to buy 4k 3D tv 55″ screen and my room size is 19’0″x10’6″. I’ll go to some showroom and check resolution from 18 feet distance and it was perfect so same here I don’t care what calculator says or show, just go and check resolution by your own.

Wookie Groomer

I hate to say it but watching movies isn’t the ideal way to tell 1080p from 4k. Many aren’t shot well enough to make a whole lot of difference in some cases. Hooking up a capable gaming PC that outputs a pristine 2160p/60 image on ultra settings vs it’s 1080p counterpart will absolutely demonstrate the effective power 4k. On my 70″ UHD it is a night and day difference.

John M.

For my money, nothing improves a picture better than a good contrast ratio and good color accuracy in the pixels. Far, far more than extra pixels that are imperceptible by the human eye. I’ve seen many a sub-par 4K display due to poor black levels and color accuracy, but hey, you gotta give the people what marketing tells them they want. Speaking of contrast, Chris, would you care to explain what you meant by the LG 55EG9100 OLED winning out due to “infinite contrast range?” I will assume you weren’t referring to contrast ratio because as anyone with industry knowledge… Read more »

No, the LG 55EG9100 and the other OLEDs have functionally infinite contrast ratios. Since they are emissive displays, when it’s black they are completely off. Even with a 4×4 ANSI grid, the Klein K-10A flips between 0.0001 foot lamberts and 0.0000. The LG E6 OLED this year in HDR mode can do a 10% white square at 640 cd/m2 while the surrounding area is 0.0000 foot lamberts. With a plasma, I can measure 45,000:1 or so for a contrast ratio. With a great LCD, I can get 20,000:1 or so, but the OLEDs are infinite.


Can your calculator please clarify the caption for units on “screen size (inches)”?
Are these diagonal (corner-to-corner) inches, horizontal inches, vertical inches?

TVs, at least in the USA, are always measured diagonally, so that is the size used for the calculator.


Old comment, but I agree. There is no comparison to 4k content on a 4k TV and 1080p content on a 1080p TV at ANY reasonable viewing distance. I can see the difference easily in flipping BJ’s, for gosh sakes. Anyone who can’t see the difference…well, they need their eyes checked. It’s no comparison. I’ve watched 4k TV’s (65″ at 20 feet) and there has NEVER been a 1080p set you could put next to it with the exact same content that I couldn’t easily tell the difference. Maybe if I watched it from across the street, through the window… Read more »


Help, I am confused,
I am sitting 8 feet in front of my TV, and after reviewing all the comments,
it looks like the 4
k 49inches is a bad choice, or money in the drain..
and I should go for a sony 60 inches 1080p
Is that right ??

It depends on more than just screen size and resolution. The 49″ TV might have other features (like a dynamic backlight, or wide color gamut or HDR) that can make a noticeable difference in picture quality compared to a 1080p display. Perhaps if you specify the exact model numbers we could provide more insight.


You’ll see a difference, you will just see more of a difference with the 65″ from that distance than you would with the 55″.

Randy Levine

At 1:1 a photo being displayed on 1080P or 4K TV (from a PC) will certainly follow your chart of distances, however, if you zoom into that same photo, the 1080P will ‘break down’ much faster than the 4K image. (Showing pixels)… You can sit much further away from a 4K display while zooming into an image before you will see the pixels.

Your chart assumes 100% viewing… The real benefit comes to Photographers who want to zoom in to their images and not have them break down as quickly as 1080P due to the increased pixel density.

John Leonidou

Hello there.. I bought 4k tv 65″.. worth to watch from 9 feet away? For kids are safe too?


At this point it’s so hard to get a TV that isn’t 4K, there isn’t much reason to worry about it. Though improvements like HDR and wide color gamut can be more noticeable, but only if your content supports it.

Daniel Padia

TL;DR: 1080 tv’s are lacking support technologies that used to be available before 4k went mainstream, that are only available in 4k tv’s anymore. This is what makes 4k look better at a distance, not the pixel ratio. And in big box stores, the difference is even more pronounced because you are standing a couple feet away from the screen. Gaming monitors have these technologies for much less premium price over 1080 tv’s, and can be bought in the middle sizes, like 1440. Everybody can talk about how their 4k screen is better looking than their 1080 screen they have… Read more »

Daniel Padia

TL;DR of my other post. Buy a “pc monitor”, not a tv. You’ll save money and have living proof of why 4k is marketing BS. IPS, LED vs LCD, and other technologies that used to be in 1080 “TV’s” are no longer in 1080 TV’s to make 4K TV’s look good by comparison. 4K makes sense in my fancy smartphone because I am usually watching it less than 6 inches from it’s 6 inch screen size. PC monitors have those technologies (the technologies were around before 4K) in screen sizes from 1080 through 1440 up to 4K and beyond. Buying… Read more »

Thomas Ktwentyone

Come on – this way of calculating viewing distance is absurd – the end state is sitting with the screen touching your nose as resolution increases.

Barb Shuman

Very helpful. With the new x box that came out with the x box one s I thought I would have to ditch my brand new 1080 tv. Thanks to the calculator I won’t need to.


1080p or 4 K is it not a big difference. A lot of consumers are confused between USHD, 4K and HDR. ONLY HDR make sense to buy 4K TV. However, there are no more 1080P TV left. I tested LG OLED C7 vs QLED Q9F vs Sony XBR940E. Test was done for HDR only using Youtube video HDR Peru 8K. My personal choice is QLED. QLED provides the most realistic color which is extremely important for HDR. Not a Infinite contrast from OLED LG or 1500 nits brightens from XBR940 made my choice. ONLY color is a true deal for… Read more »


im thinking to buy Dell UltraSharp U2718Q 4K HDR monitor…but im worried whether it is quite a big or not..because im going to use this for my PS4 PRO . i will be sitting 6.5 or 7 feet away from monitor….will it be big enough ?? can i take the full advantage of 4k with 27 inches ?? OR i wont be able to see full clarity due to its size i.e 27 inches…


Calculator is broken for me, I tried two browsers.


why do you think your viewing distance calculations are different to other sites such as RTINGS?

For example, your calculator says be 3.8′ away from a 50″

RTINGS says 2.9′ (0.89 m)


Im trying to get my head around this.

If im using content on the ps4 pro that is actually 1700p and upscaled to 4k will the calculator still be correct for the distance given for 4k?
or will the optimal distance change to one that is suitable for 1700p?

[…] Theater has a 4K calculator chart that says a 50 inch set should be between 39 and 78  inches from where you sit while a 60-inch set […]

Mike Stones

None of this talk or discussion has helped one but with my situation… my living room is 22 feet long, tv on one wall couches on the other… based on these ridiculous charts I need a TV 285″ diagonal to take in full effectsof 4k…I honestly could careless, I justwasn’t to make sure any new tv I by is better then then the 15 year old 42″ plasma i have now… that looks perfectly fine at the distance, but is just too small…i am looking at 65″ as it will fill the space on the wall nicely, and hopefully still… Read more »

[…] This isn’t to say that resolution is not important. Obviously 1080p (HD) was a big step up over 480i (SD). The issue is we’re limited by the resolution of the human eye. So with a 50-inch TV, you need to be sitting about 4 feet away to be able to resolve all the resolution this TV is capable. Most people sit a lot further away than that. Check out HDGuru contributor Chris Heinonen’s excellent 4K Calculator. […]


I’ve stood in front of the Sony 4K display, and have a 60″ Panasonic st60 at home. At 6 feet, the Sony looks dramatically nicer that my Panny.
Maybe you can’t see individual pixels, but the overall picture difference was stunning to me..


There is a limit in angle of view for comfortable viewing. If you have more resolution that what you can see when you match that angle, it’s useless resolution. You get dizzy with some material and want to throw up. That’s the typical response of the viewer. Computer displays are different, because we can work on a small part of the screen at a time, so we can put large displays very close. The diagonal of the screen is a safe bet for getting a maximum angle of view. 50″ screen at 50″ distance and so on. At that distance,… Read more »


One side comment about 4k TV’s: They use about twice as much power than 1080p TV’s. If you have it on a lot, you will see a noticable increase in your power bill.
Something to think about…hmmmmm.

The difference is around 60 watts, which really isn’t that consequential. If you watch your TV for 8 hours a day, 365 days a year, and pay $0.12 per kW/hour for electricity (fairly common), then you’re paying slightly over $20 more per year for it. Given that you’ve been using it for almost 3,000 hours that isn’t a large difference, and still less than a plasma would use.

Mike Boone

2 to 3 years ago, Consumer Reports stated that a 50 inch 1080p Panasonic Plasma that they’d tested, if actually operated under average U.S. electric costs, and being on 5 hours a day, would cost just $50 A YEAR for the electricity it used for that level of use. And LCD/LED TVs, and certainly OLED TVs, are more efficient than plasmas. So even if a 4k TV today somehow managed to only be half as efficient as that Panasonic plasma, depending on its size, it would only cost about $100 to $150 a year to operate, if watched that same… Read more »


All you retards are arguing the stupidest bullshit. Does the resolution of what your watching make it worth watching ? South Park proved a long time ago that the visuals, and sound effects don’t mean shit. Good story and content is what matters. Not how pretty it is. Arguing the size difference of gnats asses until you’re blue in the face for what?! If you can’t afford the damn thing and need to do all this research and discussion back and forth to make sure you’re making the right decision to purchase 4K or not, then you can’t afford the… Read more »

Feel free to disagree, but name calling will get you banned, so please clean up the language in your post.


Bahahahahahahaha you think I give two shits about being part of this lame conversation?

I do what I want and say what I want. I could not care less about being banned

Bottom line is everyone on here is blowing hott air about this same bullshit. Trying to convince themselves as to buy a 4K tv or not.

If it’s that scary and needs that much thought then you can’t afford it and need to wait a couple years


Did you delete my last comment like a fucking a punk?

Cry baby little twat. Go hit the gym meekling


Chris you are a pathetic wimp. Grow a pair pussy