What Are The Numbers For & Why Should I Care
TV Buying Guides
We’ve all heard the saying, “Size matters,” but how does it apply to TVs? In this article, we’ll also discuss why TVs aren’t always the same size as their screens and how viewing distance plays a big role in how big or small a TV feels.
The truth about TV screen size
Inches and diagonal measures are often the most popular ways to describe TV size. While some manufacturers employ diagonal dimensions, many use inch sizes. The distinction between these two is that although inches measure both horizontally and vertically, diagonals measure from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner.
TV sizes like 50 inches, 65 inches, and 75 inches refer to the screen’s diagonal measurement rather than the actual size of the TV. Despite being a commonly used measurement, the diagonal screen size is not the main element in evaluating whether a specific size TV can fit in a specific area.
A 50-inch TV, for instance, will sit comfortably on a wall that is at least 43.6 inches wide and 24.5 inches high and has a diagonal size of 50 inches. Although its screen size (i.e., its diagonal measurement) isn’t actually more than 48 inches across, if your walls are only 28 inches wide and 22 inches high, that same 50-inch television won’t fit on them since it will be too enormous.
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TV screen viewing distance and angles
The ideal TV viewing distance depends on the size of your room and furniture placement, but it’s generally between 1.5 to 3 times the diagonal length of your TV. This can be adjusted based on your preferences and the layout of your room. For example, if you have a large wall behind your sofa, then you may want to move closer so that you don’t have to strain your neck while still being able to see all parts of the screen clearly.
If you’re planning to use your TV as a monitor for your computer or gaming console, then you should position it so that the top of the screen is at eye level when sitting in front of it. This means that if you’re taller than average, you might want to invest in an adjustable desk to raise or lower the height of your screen as needed.
The viewable area (also known as the Screen Size) refers to how much of your screen you can actually see when sitting at a certain distance from your TV. The viewable area will vary based on where you’re sitting and what type of screen you have – but typically speaking, it will be smaller than 100%.
This is generally sound advice, but those who watch movies mostly on TV might benefit from moving closer in order to have a more cinematic experience. The THX suggestion and the SMPTE “reference” position for movie theaters are both around 40°. However, the minimum angle of vision works well for most applications, and most people should feel comfortable sitting at a distance where the screen occupies 30 degrees of their horizontal field of vision.
It’s also important to keep in mind that this perspective presupposes a single viewer seeing the TV directly at eye level. It’s better to use this as a general guideline because not all living room arrangements will perfectly match these requirements.
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TV Buying Guides
TV Buying Guides
How to figure out what size TV you should buy
Buying a new TV is often an exciting experience for the entire household (unless it’s because your remote went flying through the screen of your old set). Best of all, thanks to major strides in resolution, upscaling, and backlighting, we can sit closer to our TVs than ever before — without that dreaded pixelation. Do keep in mind though that regardless of the brand you choose, it’s still important to buy an appropriately sized TV for the room you’ll be watching it in. Yes, you’ll notice fewer defects in bigger-sized screens these days, but a large screen in a small room can still become overbearing, especially for your eyes.
- How to calculate TV size for a room
- How wide is the stand?
- How far away will you be?
- Measuring in field of view
- Best size TV for gaming
- Size versus quality
With all that being said, let’s take a look at what to consider when picking out the right-sized TV for your viewing space.
How to calculate TV size for a room
Before you decide whether you’re looking for an LCD TV, OLED TV, or Ultra HD TV, you’ll need to decide where you want your television to reside. Once you’ve chosen the location, measure the height, width, and depth of that spot (there may be limitations due to the size of an entertainment center or the amount of space on a wall). Later, when shopping, you can match this up with the measurements of the television itself, not its screen size, to make sure it will fit. You’ll find that some TVs have footprints that are physically larger than others of the same screen size, so always look at the dimensions to see whether it will slot into the space available.
How wide is the stand?
The second size-related consideration is the television’s attached stand. If you aren’t going to mount your new TV on a wall, this will play a big part in how much space it takes up on your console table, and many newer TVs have feet at the far edges. You need to ensure that wherever you plan on placing the television is wide enough to accommodate the stand. You’ll want to be strict here, too. Often, people think it’s safe to let the corners overhang, forgetting that it’s been designed to rest on a flat surface. Fail to do so, and the faintest breath of wind could send the whole thing tumbling over.
For situations where you can’t wall-mount your TV and can’t see yourself parting ways with a cherished piece of home theater furniture, you can always opt for a universal TV stand. Similar to a standard TV wall mount, VESA-certified arms are screwed into the back of your TV, while a mounting bracket is fixed to the base of the stand. Many universal stands also will tilt and pivot up and down, as well as left to right.
How far away will you be?
Next, think about where you’ll be sitting in relation to the TV. There are TV viewing distance calculators (here is another calculator) that recommend a TV screen size based on your seating distance. If you don’t want to bother with an online calculator, there’s a simplified calculation that you can do to work it out yourself: Measure the distance from your seat to the television in inches and multiply by 0.84. This should give you the ideal screen size and the right size for your space.
This method isn’t perfect, of course. For example, if you are sitting 8 feet from the TV, the calculation calls for an 80-inch screen, and that’s just not realistic for most of us. Most living rooms will do best with at least a 50-inch screen size and, of course, taste and style are going to factor in heavily, as will the viewing angle. You can technically go as big as you like and purchase a larger screen size — just make sure you’re sitting more than 4 feet from the TV itself, and you should be fine.
Measuring in field of view
Field of view refers to how much space the display takes up compared to what else your eyes are noticing. In a theater, for example, the field of view is very large because there’s not much else you can see. In a home theater, the field of view tends to be smaller, and larger based on where you place your seating, along with the height of your tv.
Experts generally recommend a field of view around 30 to 36 degrees. For a 50-inch TV, that would mean sitting around 5.6 feet away. If you have limited space, you can always use field of view in reverse to pick the size of your TV based on where people will be sitting.
Don’t confuse field of view with viewing angle, which shows how easy it is to see the TV from the side. Viewing angle depends on the panel type, but size can also help.
Best size TV for gaming
Remember, when gaming it’s common to sit a bit closer to the TV than when watching a movie. If your TV is going to be used for a gaming hub, it may not have to be as large. Recommendations are still around 40 to 55 inches, but if you know that you’ll be sitting closer to the screen, it’s alright to adjust those numbers down. Remember, the most popular PC monitors for gaming are around 24 to 27 inches because PC gamers are so close to the screen.
Size versus quality
If you’re trying to maximize screen real estate on a tight budget, you’re going to have to sacrifice picture quality. As such, we recommend — as per our comprehensive TV buying guide — striking a balance between the two factors for longtime enjoyment. So instead of going for that massive 65-inch 4K TV from an up-and-coming brand that’s on the shelves for just $500, consider opting for the smaller 55-inch, big-name model next to it for $550. Chances are, it has a far better screen and better resolution, and that’ll result in a much more immersive viewing experience, even more so when using HDR. Plus, 55 inches is still not considered a small TV!
You’ll also want to keep in mind the types of content you’ll be viewing. If you’re a Blu-ray enthusiast or 4K streaming connoisseur, your HDTV is constantly displaying the most high-fidelity image your set can deliver. If your larger TV screen size of choice is closer to 80 inches or you’ve opted for a 55-inch but you’re sitting closer to the screen, you won’t notice much distortion in the image. The other side of that coin is that if you’re a big watcher of older DVDs, VHS, and home video formats but your living room is rocking a TV with the same TV dimensions as above, you’ll notice more distortion and imperfections. Know what you like to watch, and how much you like to watch what you like.
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TsIU-01 – frequency response meter of television receiving systems .
- Measured signal input level range: 40 to 126 dBuV.
- Frequency range of the measured signal: 5-865 MHz.
- When working as a part of the complex for measuring the parameters of the reverse channel TsIU-01:
- measures pilot signals from GPS-01 generators;
- searches for GPS-01 generators operating in the network;
- measures the back channel spectrum;
- measures the frequency response of the return channel;
- accepts text comments from GPS-01 generators;
transmits the data of all measurements in digital form in a direct channel for their
subsequent reception of IT-08;
- transfers measurement data to a computer upon request.
- Transmitter output level range: 60 to 120 dBµV.
- Output frequency range: 400-450 MHz.
- The following modes are available for measurements in the direct channel:
histogram mode that measures carrier levels
TV radio signal, as well as Video / Sound and Signal / Noise ratios;
- spectrum measurement mode with variable scan bandwidth.
- histogram mode that measures carrier levels
Specifications Planar TsIU-01
|Operating frequency range when operating in the reverse channel, MHz
|Operating frequency range when operating in the direct channel, MHz
|Input impedance in the operating frequency range, Ohm
|DC input impedance, kΩ
|Permissible total value of AC input voltage, V
|Permissible input DC voltage, V
|Attenuation of the built-in input attenuator, dB
|Input mismatch attenuation, dB, not less than
|attenuator off, dBuV
|with 20 dB attenuator included, dBuV
|with 40 dB attenuator included, dBuV
|Measured level resolution, dB
|Limit of permissible basic relative measurement error at tuning frequency, dB
|Measurement channel bandwidth -3 dB, kHz
|260 ± 30
|Signal attenuation in the stopband of the low-pass filter when operating in the reverse channel, dB, not less than
|Bandwidth of the low-pass filter signal when operating in the reverse channel, MHz
|Operating frequency range, MHz
|400-450 or 108-135
|Output level range, dBuV
|Output connector type
|Rated output resistance, Ohm
|Pilot generator timing:
|Pilot signal generator detection time, sec. , no more than
|Return channel spectrum measurement period, sec., no more than
|Number of simultaneously measured GPS-01 pilot signals
|Interface for connecting the meter to a computer
|The device is powered by
|Overall dimensions, mm, no more than
|Weight, kg, no more than
|Operating conditions, °С
|+10 to +40
Operation manual TsIU-01
No related products Interview of Mediascope Executive Director Ksenia Achkasova for Telesputnik.
What trends in TV media consumption did you record last year?
TV consumption is a rather conservative thing, and it rarely changes significantly. But last year, of course, showed a huge interest in football in our country, and broadcasts of football matches became the leaders in terms of views in 2018.
It is clear that last year there was a unique situation: the FIFA World Cup was held in Russia and our team took high positions in this tournament. But in any case, we saw an interesting trend: even those people who basically watch TV a little, watched iconic matches and thereby greatly increased the audience of TV channels.
In general, linear TV viewing does not change dramatically. Viewers like to watch TV shows, entertainment programs, they are interested in news, especially if something is happening in the world and the country. In addition, in 2018, the audience actively followed not only the World Cup, but also the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
You say that TV viewing is conservative and does not change much, but a few years ago Mediascope recorded that Russian adults began to watch less TV.
Here it is important to clarify what is meant by TV viewing. If we talk about the traditional way, when the audience at home watches the broadcast on the TV screen, then Mediascope really noticed that people began to switch to other ways of consuming content. If we talk about the same football, then there is a significant part of the population that watched the matches on the second screens. This is the same content that is shown on TV, but someone watched it in a more convenient form for themselves – in other places of viewing or on second screens. This is not taken into account when measuring a traditional linear view.
Researches based on Mediascope TV measurements created by various companies are regularly published. How well do they use your data? Have you experienced that they were misinterpreted?
We constantly work with our clients: we advise them, conduct trainings on working with software in our own training center, and annually hold a number of external events, including our client conference, where we talk about the development of the company’s projects. Over many years of close cooperation, our customers have learned how to use the data correctly, but sometimes, quite rarely, errors occur in the interpretation of individual figures.
So you can trust the studies, for example, Zenith based on Mediascope measurements?
Yes, we have been cooperating with them for over 10 years. Another thing is that now many advertising agencies have their own tools. They can take our television data and combine it with the results of their own or some other research. It is difficult for us to comment on such cases. I think they are doing it right, but I can’t confirm for sure that their methodology is built perfectly or just well, because I am unfamiliar with it.
At the same time, in the Mediascope mailing list for journalists there is a note not to use the data for independent calculations.
Our data is the subject of complex algorithmic calculations. Journalists who rarely write about television and media, unfortunately, can often simply mismatch the data with each other or confuse the definition of statistics, for example, share with rating, or forget to specify the target audience, which is very important. The end result is a misleading description.
We have a number of formulas that we are happy to share and which are not our know-how. We are interested in our methodology being as open as possible. It is only necessary to take into account that people who do not “boil” in this every day can quite rightly not know it and make mistakes.
Let’s talk about what’s new in Mediascope. In particular, about your new project aimed at measurements in the cities of “100 minus” (Russian cities with a population of less than 100 thousand people – approx. “Telesputnik”).
I would like to note right away that it is not entirely correct to talk about cities “100 minus”. These are measurements in settlements, which include both small towns and villages. We are launching this study on our own initiative and therefore do not promise the market that we will release the results at a certain time.
Mediascope has long been offering the market to start telemetry in small towns and villages, because we firmly believe in the need to measure the entire country, not just half of it. In addition, TV viewing is becoming more and more complex and complex. It is not enough to measure only what people watch on large TV screens – other forms of consumption of television content and video content in general must also be measured. Here we come to the fact that we need to measure co-viewing on different screens: TV, computers and laptops, tablets and smartphones.
We also need a panel in small towns and villages in order to better combine the measurements of TV content viewing in different environments, because in Internet measurements it is technologically difficult to divide the audience into those in large cities and those in small cities. settlements. In order to obtain high-quality and accurate data on TV viewing on all screens, TV measurements and Internet measurements must have the same general population, in this case, the whole of Russia.
When RBC was the first to write about the beginning of measurements in small towns and villages, the publication noted that they are needed in order to understand how the transition from analog to digital will affect television viewing. Is there such a task?
It has nothing to do with the transition from analogue to digital, as it occurs in all types of settlements. These are completely unrelated things.
Is there a market demand for viewing data in small towns?
Inquiries in various forms have already appeared before, and advertisers said that they were interested in understanding what was happening outside of large cities, and TV channels were also mildly interested in this. Although the most important thing, as I said, is the need to combine television and digital data. That is why it was decided to take such an initiative step and go beyond the audience of only large cities.
Can you share preliminary data on TV viewing outside major cities?
The panel has not yet been deployed, but we have already done the installation research that we do every time before launching large projects. The results that we got as a result of them do not differ much from what we see in cities with a population of more than 100 thousand people. There are differences in the fact that in villages and small towns there are slightly fewer televisions and about half of the rural population receives a television signal using satellites.
We need installation studies in order to build panel studies correctly. This is not a separate product that exists on its own, but an auxiliary tool for expanding the panel.
But do you already have panelists in the Tver region?
Yes. It was a pilot to install peoplemeters in households in rural areas and small towns. We have never done this before, and we had to start somewhere – we started from the Tver region. Now our technical specialists understand much better how they can build their work in the next six months or a year.
When will the first data on TV viewing in small towns be available?
Now I’m afraid to give specific dates. This is our initiative project, we do not promise anything to the market and do not take money from the market for it. I cannot say that, for example, Mediascope will be ready to show this data in July or August. We will have some data for internal analysis in the second half of 2019 or even closer to its end.
In which regions will the panel be deployed next?
It will be installed in towns and villages of different subjects of the Federation. Households will be distributed among the regions in proportion to the population living in small towns and villages. For example, suppose that 15% of the total population of Russia lives in the villages of a federal district, living in settlements with a population of less than 100 thousand people. This means that our panel will be built in such a way that 15% of its panelists are located in the villages of this district, and which village we go to first depends on logistics and organization.
By the way, do telemeters in other countries measure small towns?
The vast majority of economically developed countries measure the entire country as a whole.
Is it connected with the fact that, let’s say, in the USA there is a solvent population that is interesting for advertisers in small towns as well?
In this case, it is not so much important where people live, but the fact that the market is ready to pay for telemetry throughout the country. People who live in even the smallest city or village consume largely the same products and consumer goods as residents of large cities.
At what stage of development is the Big TV Rating project now?
In general, the project is already more than a year old and it is successfully developing. Since the end of 2017, Mediascope has been commercially supplying data on viewing television content on desktops through those channels that were ready to show this information to the market – to be in open reporting. Now we provide Big TV Rating data for 7 channels of the Gazprom-Media Entertainment TV sub-holding, Channel One and Russia 24, but we measure many more TV channels. Some of them, for various reasons, prefer not to show the data of these measurements to the market.
Does Mediascope already measure TV viewing on mobile screens?
Yes, in September last year we created a tool that allows you to calculate the basic indicators for viewing TV content on mobile screens throughout Russia. This is not a panel study, but calculations based on data from Internet meters, but we have this information. TV channels that participate in the project receive this data and can make their own forecasts based on it. We do not publish them in the public domain and do not provide them to other clients, because, as with the desktop Big TV Rating, the decision to open this data to the market is the channel’s prerogative.
When you say “non-panel studies”, what do you mean? Is this data for those households that are outside of your panel? So people you don’t know anything about?
If we are talking about technology, we use special counters for digital measurements. If a copyright holder or a channel wants their products to be measured, he puts a special counter in his content – I’m simplifying now – which is called every 30 seconds when a person, or rather, this or that device, accesses this content. And we can process this information from all counters and calculate ratings based on it.
Unlike panel data, there are significant limitations here. Counters allow you to receive figures throughout Russia, but without highlighting a specific city. It is even impossible to divide by settlements with a population of more or less than 100 thousand people. This is limitation number one. The second is that we get data on the entire population without the ability to distinguish between young people, adults, men, women, and so on, that is, we do not know the socio-demographic characteristics of the audience. However, in order to understand the big picture, these data can be used. Of course, in the future we will combine them with panel studies and receive more familiar information for the market, but for now this is in our plans.
Does Mediascope plan to receive data on viewing on Smart TV as part of the Big TV Rating project?
What do you mean by watching Smart TV?
This is viewing on a TV that is connected to the Internet and receives a TV signal via the Internet.
If I’m watching Smart TV Channel One, receiving a signal via the Internet, or even the content that this broadcaster showed yesterday, then this is automatically already processed and reported in our current data for the main study TV Index. Our technology uses people meters with an Audio Matching system and does not parse the signal source that a person uses to watch television. We do not share viewing via antenna or Smart TV app.
Other technologies are needed to measure views of content that has aired on the channel some time ago. In principle, the dimensions of such a deferred lookup are realizable. Now our estimates show that the volume of such TV viewing is not very large. Therefore, we agreed with the market that we are only continuing research in this direction. In general, this is some complication and rise in the cost of the technologies used.
If we are talking about watching content or advertising that was not on TV, then this is a separate area that Mediascope can also deal with. Such a study will be able to take into account the viewing of films or series, say, in online cinema applications, that is, not television, but video content. If there is an industrial need, then we can measure it, but so far there is no clearly expressed request for such measurements from the market.
Is there any interest in Big TV Rating data from thematic channels?
Yes, there is interest, although the amount of viewing of such channels on other screens is not very large. But if we consider individual products of TV channels, then for some, the increase in viewing on the desktop in relation to TV can be gigantic – 20-30%, and in some cases even 40%. If we talk about TV viewing in general, then the numbers are small. This is not our unique Russian feature: a similar situation is observed in the UK and the Netherlands, where Internet penetration is 100%.
Why am I talking about this? Because when we get a conditional 1-1.5% increase in the rating from viewing on desktops for large channels, then this can be measured with acceptable accuracy. If we are talking about plus 1% for a thematic channel, for which we do not even provide data on a daily basis (in the TV Index Plus project, – approx. “Telesputnik”), then the issue of accuracy and statistical error becomes very, very important.
Thematic TV channels are periodically interested in measuring Big TV, and we can start doing this in a test mode, but so far there has not been a single case of a commercial data delivery after the test period – the numbers are not very large.
Why has Mediascope started measuring country and guest TV viewing only relatively recently? After all, unlike Big TV, they could have been made 10 years ago.
We discussed the possibility of measuring total out-of-home viewing with the market 5-7 years ago and even earlier. There was even a pilot launch of such measurements in Moscow, which went well from a technical point of view. But the market at that time was not ready for the transition to new technologies.
In 2018, it happened so happily that there was a persistent interest in dacha data, and we deployed a dacha panel – the only one in the world, nowhere else like it. We learned how to work with this panel, and data on country TV viewing has been successfully delivered to the market since the summer of 2018. What will happen to them next, will the National Advertising Alliance integrate them into its sales system? These questions are not for us.
As far as guest browsing measurement, there was not much interest in such data. Nevertheless, in 2018 we decided that even if there is no pronounced interest in them, we still need to continue to improve our research in this direction.
Why is there a demand for this data only now? Why did the market want to measure such a look only last year?
We discussed what other forms of television viewing could be measured, and realized that “dachas” and “guests” are forms that were not previously measured, but now, according to many, should be measured.
Do you attribute this to the fact that TV channels are reducing their advertising inventory and are trying to increase it by collecting new data?
This could be due to anything, but we don’t know all the reasons.
In an interview at NATEXPO, you said that you had an unsuccessful pilot project of cooperation with pay TV operators, but also noted that you are planning to try cooperation in this direction again. Tell us what you want to get from such interaction?
I’ll start from afar. Each consumer of content, including television, has more and more opportunities. The number of channels is growing, they are watched on different screens, and viewing fragmentation occurs. This has led to the fact that the total amount of viewing does not increase, and viewers spend less time on each specific channel than they did five years ago. Based on this, we used to have enough sample of X people so that we could calculate the rating of the program relatively accurately. Now, in order to maintain the accuracy of the result, this X, that is, the sample size, must be significantly increased. At the same time, you cannot increase the sample size indefinitely, because it is expensive. This means that in an ideal world other sources of data would have to be used, and one such source would be the return channel data available from digital television operators.
It is clear that it is categorically impossible to simply use such information – they must be combined with Mediascope panel data. This data is not about all TVs in the household, but about the TV to which the set-top box is connected. The statistics of one of the largest operators shows that the average number of set-top boxes per household is somewhere around 1.1 or 1.2 pieces, and there are significantly more TVs – about 1.8. That is, operators can provide data on the operation of the set-top box, and not the TV. From them it is impossible to find out who exactly watches the TV channel.
However, there are tools that allow you to combine TV panel data with operator data and get the best of both worlds. We are ready to try to do this, and in our opinion, this can significantly improve the possibilities of our measurements for regional and thematic TV channels without a multiple increase in the cost of such studies. That is why we are ready to launch such a project and start cooperating with operators.
Recently, Mediascope has been actively introducing new dimensions. Does this affect your pricing policy?
When we talk about telemetering, where summer data are taken into account, then customers have to pay a little more for such measurements. It `s naturally.
We are launching measurements in small towns and villages on our own initiative, and, as I said earlier, we do not have a decision on what will happen with these data further. We continue to invest in this area, but what they will be called in the future, how they will look, and even more so how much they will cost – there can be a huge number of scenarios.
If we are talking about a standard Mediascope product that does not change in any way, then only the inflation component affects the growth of its cost. But if there is a significant development, then it costs extra money.
Tell us about router meters: what are they and what are they for?
We are now installing router-meters (equipment for passive collection of data on media consumption on all devices in panelists’ households – approx. “Telesputnik”) in our TV panel. This is done in order to make our data on the Big TV Rating project even better. It will also ensure that mobile viewing information is properly included in our telemetry. It cannot be said that router meters are a valuable tool in itself, on the basis of which Mediascope will have a new product. Routers help us multiply the quality of the current product.
How many households currently have router meters installed?
We are at the beginning of a long journey: we have been installing router meters only since the end of last year, so now there are not very many of them.
A classic question. Tell us about your plans: what will you implement and develop this year?
If we talk about TV measurements — although the further it gets, the more difficult it is to separate the TV component from the digital component — we will move to the measurements of viewing on four screens (TVs, computers and laptops, smartphones and tablets, — approx.