Thoughts on a 32″ LCD HDTV

I have noticed that a lot of people have come to the Almanac as a result of using search engines to find information about 32″ LCD HDTVs. (Yes, I’ve got a nifty new tool that tells me all sorts of things about how people find the Almanac, and what they read when they get here; email me if you’d like to know more about it.) I have not evaluated any of these models, but I have some thoughts about them in general that you may find useful.

First and foremost, a 32″ wide format screen is small. It is about the same height as a 27″ standard definition set. This means that if you’re watching standard definition on these sets, the image would be about the same size. (Actually, the 27″ set would be slightly larger.) Now, would you buy a 27″ TV for your living room? Probably not.

Next, you have to sit very close to a 32″ 1080p set in order to be able to see the difference in detail that you’d get with a lower resolution model. The optimal distance is about 45″: less than four feet away. For comparison, the optimal distance for a 27″ standard definition set is about about 55″, nearly a foot further away. And keep in mind that most people would consider a 27″ standard set to be small for most rooms.

So if you’re thinking about a set for viewing close up, with no more than one or two people watching it at a time, then a 32″ 1080p LCD HDTV makes sense. If you’re looking for a set to be viewed at typical living room distances, however, it will be too small to see the extra detail that you’ve bought.