TV Viewing Angle Explained

Viewing Angle Overview

In short, a viewing angle is the maximum angle a display or TV can be viewed at and still have an acceptable amount of quality. There are other names for this such as a viewing cone, or viewing directions. I just prefer to call it a viewing angle.

It’s important to note that there is technically no failure under this metric. This is because it depends entirely on how many people you will be viewing the TV with in your living room or bedroom. Less people means a more narrow viewing angle is acceptable where as more people means a larger viewing angle is needed for everyone to get the same experience from the TV.

What it is: When a TV is viewed from the side.
Why it matters: Preventing the loss of intensity and depth of colors in the TV’s picture.
When it matters: Larger living rooms when sitting directly in front of the TV is not an option.

When viewing the TV from the side there are only three things that I look for. The shifting of colors. This is important as red needs to be red and green to be green. Not green looks like blue and red look like purple. Black levels are another metric that is looked at. How intense the details are is important so as to keep the mood of the program you are watching. The last is the level of brightness that is kept true throughout the screen as you view the TV at an angle. This is important for details to stand out and be realistic in the image or scene.

Color Shift

This is tested in 10° increments both to the left and to the right. This is not only to spot a noticeable difference in color, but also to check the screen for blemishes. I like to ensure that the TV is as best as it can be to produce reliable results.

A 0° angle means that it is only good directly in front of the TV. I measure all the way up to 90° , but this is an impossible stat to actually achieve. My goal here is to get as close as possible. Many other people I’ve worked with in the past stop at 75° , but I believe there is room for improvement.



Level of Darker (Black) Colors

Similar to the shift of colors, I also test the levels of black in the TV at an angle. I test all the way to 90° just as before, but the largest difference is that black levels do no decrease. They actually increase because at a wider angle, more colors are slammer into each other than normal that emit from the TV. This produces are darker image or scene. Not only that, but effectively will lessen the contrast ratio of a TV. The current standard is when the black levels are double what the brightness of the picture is, but often times the black levels become much more annoying before that happens.


Brightness at an Angle

This metric of a good viewing angle goes hand-in-hand with the black level of the picture. As soon as the black level comes close doubling the brightness, the viewing angle is compromised. Another way to say this, is that once the brightness becomes half of the black level, the viewing angle is no longer “good”. Really basic stuff here, but it makes a whole world of difference if you ever decide to have some friends over for the big game.



In the end it all comes down to preference. A great viewing angle for me may be a terrible viewing angle for you. Just remember that as a rule of thumb, that more people means a more broad viewing angle is needed for every one to have the best experience. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a TV to fit your bedroom, a wider viewing angle probably isn’t needed. Hope this helps some on your way to finding the right TV.


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