What is the best height for a flat screen TV?

LCD TV image by Viktor Gmyria from Fotolia.com

Flat screen TVs are designed to be mounted on walls like a picture frame, which frees up shelf space for other items and makes an intriguing centrepiece to the room. But like a painting, a TV needs to be mounted with the overall aesthetics of the area in mind. Moreover, a TV will probably be watched far more often than a picture and the height at which you mount it needs to take the viewer's comfort and relaxation into consideration.

The position of the TV

The TV needs to be at a height which allows for comfortable viewing. This can be tricky when you're mounting a flat screen TV on a wall: The urge may be to place it high up, the way you might a picture frame. But when viewing a TV, you want to be able to look at it from a level angle, without craning your neck to see it. Sit down at your chosen viewing position and find a spot on the wall that is parallel to your gaze. That should more or less be where the centre of the flat screen TV should go. You can make it a little higher or lower if you wish, but more than 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) variance means you risk placing it in an uncomfortable position.

The area around the TV

Experts suggest maintaining a space of at least 15 cm (6 inches) around any flat screen TV free of pictures, windows or anything which may compete with the image onscreen. Measure the space accordingly and pick a location for the TV that provides plenty of space around it. If you're using an entertainment centre or similar piece of furniture, you needn't worry about the surrounding space, so long as the TV fits into the cubbyhole allotted for it. When measuring the space for your TV, include data on the distance between the set itself and the place where you intend to sit. Most flat screen TVs allow for a very wide viewing angle and don't lose their picture clarity if you view them obliquely. But many are also high definition, which can give you a headache if you sit too close. Experts suggest a distance of 2 to 3 times the diagonal width of the screen, or 4 to 6 times the height of the TV, for optimal viewing.

Wall studs

TV screens can be very heavy, particularly plasma screen TVs, which contain a lot of components inside. While TV mounts are built to support such weight, the wall itself may not. When choosing a height for your TV, consider mounting it onto the wooden studs within your wall. The studs can support a lot more weight than plasterboard and provide an additional level of stability for your TV. Use a stud finder to locate them and try to find a stud that matches the ideal location of the TV as closely as possible.

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