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Find the perfect spot for your TVEven if you can see your big-screen set from across the room, that doesn't mean you should sit that far away. Sharon Vaknin shows you how to place your TV in your home theater's sweet spot.
Before you start building your dream home theater, the first thing you wanna do is find the optimal position for your TV since all the other components will surround it. First, let's talk about distance. This number or formula has changed over the years as we've gone from standard of TVs to High-def widescreens. See, back in the olden days, you wanted to sit to sit pretty far away from your screens that you wouldn't notice how bad the picture was, but now we've got content in 720 and 1080p which means we can get bigger screens and sit a lot closer. Lots of manufacturers recommend that you take the diagonal size of your screen and multiply it by 2-1/2 to get the distance in inches you should sit from your screen. Well, at CNET we say that even with big screens, the closer you sit the better. So take your screen size and multiply it by 1-1/2 and that's the distance in inches you should sit from your TV. So for example, a 40-inch screen times 1.5 gives you 60 inches or 5 feet. Sitting that close will give you a more immersive experience and you'll be able to appreciate all those crisp HD pixels. Then comes height, there are a lot of opinions here but the bottom line is that the TV shouldn't be so high that you're craning your neck or so low that you're looking down at it. A good starting point is to position the center of the TV at about eye level. Most times that means placing your TV on a relatively low stand but if you're hell bent on placing it above something like a fireplace, then go with an articulating mount which will allow you to tilt the TV down toward you. And finally, placement. The biggest takeaway here is that you shouldn't place your TV opposite of any bright light sources. Now not only will it ruin the appearance of whatever you're watching but it will also give you eye strain. Now lights can be turned off but if you have any windows you can't avoid, consider getting blackout curtains. Now you've got a real home theater. So that's your basic setup, but remember none of these tips are hard and fast rules. So go ahead and play around with them and remember that really the best setup is the one that's most comfortable for you. If you have any tips or any questions, hit me up on Twitter and check out howto.cnet.com for more tips like this. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin.