So, you’ve gone and purchased that beautiful flat panel TV that you’ve been eyeing for a while now at your local electronic store. Great, but where are you going to put it? Up over the mantel or the fireplace?
Imagine splurging on a beautiful new TV only to find out that it gives you a neck strain or the picture is washed out. Most people who buy flat panel TV’s do so with the romantic notion, probably created by ads for these TV’s, that they will place it high over the mantelpiece or the fireplace in their living rooms. Not only will that detract from the viewing pleasure, it could also cause the viewer, a fair amount of discomfort.
The ideal height at which a television should be mounted is the height at which it will be roughly at the eye level of the viewer when she is seated i.e. the center of the screen should be at eye level. This will relieve neck strain and allow for a comfortable viewing experience because the viewer will be able to adopt different postures comfortably. For example, if the viewer wants to kick back and relax in front of the TV, she will be able to do so without having to look too far up at the TV. Or she could decide to sit up straight to relieve some of the tension that might have built up in her neck and shoulders and she would not be forced to look down at the screen.
If the TV were placed high on a wall as it would be if it were mounted above the mantelpiece or the fireplace, the user would be forced into adopting a single posture when watching the TV. This will strain the neck and shoulders when the viewer has to maintain such a posture for an extended period of time which could happen when one is watching a long-duration program such as a sports event or a movie. Something similar would happen if the TV were placed very low.
The other important thing to do with a flat panel TV, since the position straight in front of the TV is the best viewing position, is to place it dead center in the viewing area. This is because some flat panel TV’s, usually LCD TV’s, tend to experience some degradation in the quality of the picture when viewed at an angle. Ever approached a desk with a flat panel computer monitor on it and realized that the screen was too dark for you to read it? You probably corrected the situation by adjusting the angle of the screen. Anyone who has worked with a flat panel monitor on a computer or a laptop will have experienced this phenomenon in varying forms. Having the TV in the center of the viewing area ensures that the viewing angle for people sitting on the periphery of the viewing area is minimized and the consequent deterioration in the viewing experience is restricted to the minimum possible.
While most television manufacturers have incorporated technology to correct this flaw, it has not been eliminated totally.
You might also want to consider the various sources of light in your room when placing the TV. While the criteria of height and position explain above should always be prime in your consideration when deciding where to place your flat panel TV, you might want to make minor adjustments to the position of the TV to account for the light in your room. Natural light tends to ‘bleach’ color from the screen. Therefore, blocking out natural light and minimizing reflection from windows will enhance the viewing experience. You may also consider dimming the lights in your room when watching TV during the night.
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