According to electronics experts Steve Kindig of Crutchfield, you should sit between 5-1/4 feet and 8-3/4 feet from a 42 inch HDTV if you want the best viewing experience. HDTV's have smaller pixels than analogue televisions, allowing you to sit much closer than normal.
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2-1/2 to 3-1/3 Times The Height
According to computer expert Jake Ludington, you should multiply the height of your screen by 2-1/2 to 3-1/3 to get the best "critical viewing distance." For a 42 inch screen, this is 95 inches to 139 inches. This distance masks any aberrations, while not sitting so far from the screen as to not enjoy high definition.
The critical viewing distance for a 42 inch HDTV varies from expert to expert. Electronics makers, such as Hitachi, often recommend 3-1/3 times the height of the screen, but you may have to adjust you viewing distance based on the resolution of your TV and the space in your living room.
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