4K Screen at 2.5-4ft viewing distance - monitor or TV ?

code1905

Standard Member
Hello,

Up until recently I've been using a late 2009 iMac in target display mode as my main PC monitor with a second Dell 24" FHD next to it as a second display. My main usage case is as a music studio but also general PC - web browing, documents, and light casual gaming.

Studio-desk-setup.png


As picture shows, I have recently set up my studio monitor speakers in to an equilateral triangle for optimum positioning. They can be moved backwards or forwards on the desk on those angles and therefore the width distance available between the speakers for a screen is between 850mm (at front - approx 2.5ft viewing distance) to 1350mm (at rear - approx 4ft viewing distance).

After doing this I considered that it would be nice to use a single large 16:9 screen rather than a dual setup, so that I can use the whole real-estate available for whichever task I am doing, so I have been considering buying either a large 4K PC monitor or a smaller 4K TV. The main goal for me is to be able to have multiple windows and plugins on a single large screen (at a useable scale) for music, but then also to have all that space for documents / movies / games too for that immersive feeling.

I know that the larger screens can be too high / big if not positioned correctly - In my case I would be able to move it to a max of 4ft away and I have the ability to modify my desk to place it on a lower platform to bring the top of the screen to eye level.

I have some questions:

1. Looking at an online PPI calculator, it tells me that a 24" FHD screen is approx 92PPI, and a 49" 4K UHD screen is approx 90PPI. If we say the 24" is my Dell FHD and the 49" is a 4K TV, as the pixel density is similar in these cases, what does this mean in terms of how the screens will look compared to each other when being used at 2.5-4ft distance?

2. If the PPI is similar does this mean that the amount of screen real-estate is the same in both cases, or is it that the size of icons & text etc will be the same but the available space is increased ? essentially, is there any benefit in this respect ?

3. What is a good PPI to aim for when looking for a large screen (say 40-50") to use at 2.5-4ft distance, while also keeping the text sharp and with eye care in mind ?

4. I'm not too bothered about having ultra fast response times and input lag times as I'm not a competitive gamer, but I do have an Nvidia RTX2070 GPU so in this case should I always be looking for something with variable refresh rate technology (or at least compatibility for this)? If I didn't have VRR would it mean that my GPU purchase was going to waste ?

5. With all the above considerations :
- should I be looking for a monitor, a TV, or is it a question of could go either way ?
- What size 4K screen do you think is best for my case, and what would be the maximum size permissible ?

6. Any specific recommendations ?

Apologies for the lengthy post.

Many Thanks
P
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I can't really help you with the math or technicality but I can tell you that you should make sure the software you intend to use has adequate scaling if you want to view stuff clearly that far away from a 49" TV. To make out each pixel of a 4k TV at 2.5ft away you'd be looking at a 65" model or larger, so anything that scales 1:1, or scales badly will be indistinguishable, or blurry.

A more suitable set up would be a larger QHD monitor, or a larger HD monitor or TV.

If you care little about scaling, and more about how crisp the display looks, then that is when a 4k TV or monitor makes more sense, but I'd make sure if you do try one out that you buy it from a reputable shop so you can return it in case you come accross too many problems once you own one.

Regarding point 4. The only TV that has VRR with a 40-120hz range sub 55" is the LG CX OLED. Samsung have VRR supported on the Q70T LCD and up at 49" too, but they are only 60hz panels, so its limited instead to 48-60hz.

My own take of trying to use a 43" 4k TV at around a 70cm viewing distance was that the crispness of the display was awesome, but it was just far too close and I had to keep viewing around the corners to see everything, not just that, but this close viewing angles were also so bad that the edges were darker than the centre. The other issue I had was the TV was too high from my comfortable seating position, but that could always be solved by mounting the TV to the wall, or desk behind and having it adjusted or mounted at a more comfortable level.

Viewing farther away means that viewing angles will be less of an issue and you won't find yourself having to move your head to look around, but at the cost of not viewing near enough to really make out what is going on without some pretty heavy scaling.

I think UHD makes more sense when you view somewhere inbetween; not too far that scaling is a problem, but also not too near so you have problems with viewing angles or having to physically move to see the entire screen estate.
 

code1905

Standard Member
Thanks very much for your reply.

If you care little about scaling, and more about how crisp the display looks, then that is when a 4k TV or monitor makes more sense

Having things at an acceptable scale and having lots of screen space are more important factors to me than how crisp the display looks - as long as the display is not too blocky.

So based on my available space between my speakers (850mm -1350mm) and the viewing distance 2.5-4ft, What do you recoomend (screen size / resolution) in 16:9 format which will have a reasonable pixel density / sharpness to give me the mamimum amount of screen space possible and to not have to be squinting to see things ?

Thank you
P
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
I'd try a 49" TV and see how it goes, make sure you buy from somewhere that will accept a return if you find it uncomfortable.

If HDR is not a concern, you can get LGs Nano86 which supports VRR up to 120hz.
If HDR is a concern you have to choose between the LG CX OLED which supports VRR up to 120hz, Samsung's 49Q80/Q85T LCD TVs that support VRR up to 60hz or the Sony 49XG9005/XH9505 that doesn't support VRR at all.

The LG CX and Sony XH9505 will reproduce HDR most impressively, with the Sony XG9005 and Samsung Q80/Q85T coming a close second. The LG Nano 86 doesn't have very good HDR picture quality, but does have better viewing angles than the other LCD TVs which may be beneficial for a desk set up, especially if sometimes you have a guest.
 

code1905

Standard Member
I'd try a 49" TV and see how it goes, make sure you buy from somewhere that will accept a return if you find it uncomfortable.

Thanks, this seems like a good plan.

I probably wouldn't go for the OLED due to risk of burn-in in my use case.

Regarding VRR, am I right in saying that the VRR is usually only offered in the larger screen sizes ? Would going to 55" to get this feature be viable, or too big for my space?

Regarding HDR, I'm not too sure on this one - so I will do some reading up to try and come to a decision on that!

Lastly, if I wanted to save some cash, what are your thoughts on the Samsung Q60R & Q70R ?

I know a lot of these decisions come down to personal preferences, but if you personally were in my shoes with my use case, what would you opt for out of all of the suggested options ?

I appreciate your help.

Thanks :smashin:
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
The bigger the better, you won't struggle with scaling so much either. 55" Samsung models come with better VRR support at 55" compared to 49" because they run 120hz panels.

To tick most boxes consider the Samsung Q80T, the Q85T is a little better performance and also has better viewing angles. The Q90T is the best you can buy from their 4k lineup. All support VRR between 40-120hz range.

The Samsung Q60R and Q70R are 2019 models, not sure you'll still be able to find them. The Q60R isn't a good TV if you plan to use HDR though (much like the new Q60T) the Q70R is more like the 2020 Q80T than Q70T. The Q70T is best avoided as it lacks good local dimming. Besides, the 2019 Samsung models do not have a HDMI 2.1 port and therefore don't support VRR above 60hz unless you dial down resolution from 4k.

If you are going to be using the TV now and in the future for popular video content you'll find it hard to avoid HDR. So really if you can afford it I'd recommend buying the best TV at reproducing HDR you can, with 120hz VRR, that would be the Samsung Q90T.

If it was me, I'd buy the Samsung Q90T if I was going to game, otherwise I'd buy the Sony XH9505 and forget about VRR. I'd also consider the Hisense U8Q because whilst it has some downsides, its a lot more TV for the money than the others, and is still a very good HDR performer. Beware though it has narrow viewing angles compared to the Samsung Q85T and up or Sony XH9505.
 

code1905

Standard Member
Brilliant, thanks. I'm sure that this will help me narrow down my choices a great deal.

With black Friday around the corner, would you say that any of the models discussed would likely be discounted ? I'm happy to wait if I could grab a bargain.

I'll report back here to let you know what I end up with, and to let you know how it goes 😉
 

code1905

Standard Member
Could you tell me if there is a site similar to RTINGS.COM for the UK ?

When you look at the Q80T on there for example, is that the same as the european Q80T ?

The main reason I ask is because I wanted to try and whittle down to a list of TV's that tick my boxes (based on spec) so that I can be flexible with getting the best deals for BF.

If no such similar site for UK, is it a question of making a spreadsheet from the data on the OEM websites ?

Many Thanks
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
There isn't one. Q80T in North America is similar to the Q85T here.

For comparison purposes you can compare the Q85T on rtings.com to the X950H (Sony XH9505 here). You can't however compare the Q80T which lacks the superior wide viewing angle/anti reflection filter and is a slightly worse HDR TV due to lower brightness and worse local dimming.

I'll have a new guide out in anticipation for black friday with all the best buys.
 

code1905

Standard Member
So I think my requirements are as follows:

Main use: PC Monitor
Size & Type: 49 or 55" LED (49" preferred physically)
Flicker Free
Good viewing angles
Good colour gamut and black uniformity
4:4:4 chroma subsampling
Good at dealing with reflections
At least some VRR support - 60/120Hz @ 4K (for use with RTX2070 with HDMI 2.0b)
Respectable response times
HDR is not a must have

Prefered budget: <£750 Max budget <1K

Which models spring to mind to meet these requirements (or as near as possible) ?

Thanks a lot !
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
If you want a 49" that drastically reduces your chances of getting all the requirements filled. TVs from both Samsung and Sony at smaller sizes lack wide viewing angle filters, and in the case of Samsung 120hz VRR support.

You can drop down to LGs Nano85/86/90 series at 49" that will get you want you want apart from being flicker free. These TVs aren't very future proof though since their HDR capability is poor.

55" Sony XH9505 or Samsung Q85T is what I'd personally be looking at, the Sony is flicker free without VRR whilst the Samsung has VRR support but isn't flicker free. Those TVs are over budget currently, but if you buy at a better time you'll find them at 1k.

Respectable response times
Do you mean input lag? Response time relates to how much motion blur a TV has. All TVs nowadays have low enough input lag so its not really something you have to think about any more.
 

code1905

Standard Member
These TVs aren't very future proof though since their HDR capability is poor

The thing is, it's not very likely that this screen is going to get used as a TV much, it's going to be primarily a monitor for productivity work, some light gamning and general PC use.

I'm not necisarily looking to future-proof if it's going to cost lots more to do so (no doubt it will!) If I can buy something that meets my requirements now for a good price then that sounds like a better option to me (& my pocket :p)
HDR vs non-HDR games? I really don't think I would care too much about not having HDR enabled games and I don't think the games all support that yet anyway ?

It sounds like you put the TV's HDR's capabilities very high up the list in terms of importance.
If I'm not too bothered about HDR for games / netflix / TV etc is there any other reason I should still consider it ?

All TVs nowadays have low enough input lag so its not really something you have to think about any more.

This is good to know - I was thinking it would be nice to get in the 5-12ms range for gaming, but not a deal breaker

Thanks again for your help
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Closest you'll get without paying for decent HDR is the Nano series from LG, they have everything else you want apart from being flicker free. Viewing angles are improved due to an IPS panel, but aren't perfect.
If you prefer a TV being flicker free you'll have to go with Sony and lose 120hz/VRR. Sony XH85 series supports a 120hz input without VRR. Lower than that Sony TVs have 60hz and no VRR. Beware that the 49" XH85 should be using a VA panel and have narrow viewing angles, the 55" is IPS. The other TVs are all IPS, even 49".

Sony TVs that have IPS panels have better viewing angles than LG.

Where do you want to make a compromise?
 

code1905

Standard Member
I'm going to opt for one of the Samsung's either Q85T or Q95T.
I see curry's are currently selling the QE55Q85T at £999 as a black Friday deal, and the QE49Q85T at £899. Would you think these prices are likely to drop any lower before the end of November ?

Please could you remind me of the difference again between the 49" and 55" Samsung models - is the 49" max 4K 60Hz whereas the 55" is 4K 120Hz ?
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Are you wedded to the idea of 16:9 or have you considered an ultra wide? I have a 49” ultra wide monitor from Samsung crg90 (not to be confused with a chg90 which is lower res) which is effectively a 55” (?) 16:9 cut in half horizontally.

I find at a similar distance it works well, I do however have another smaller monitor above it so it’s like having a 55” but I find in uncomfortable when moving up to that screen. I would therefore wondered as mentioned earlier you find the same.

Here is the review from ratings


For you usage given than it is 5120x1440 (109ppi) it might better?
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I see curry's are currently selling the QE55Q85T at £999 as a black Friday deal, and the QE49Q85T at £899. Would you think these prices are likely to drop any lower before the end of November ?
I doubt it, the TV is only sold in Curry's. The 49" is not really the same TV though, no 120hz, no wide viewing angle/anti glare filter.
 

code1905

Standard Member
Hi Chuck, apologies. Yes I recently ordered a 43" samsung J890 but returned it because I decided I wanted to go with the 16:9 aspect.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
One other thing to consider is does the stand fit for both models. Unlike a monitor stand the TV won’t have any adjustment or tilt. Does that still give you what you want?
 

code1905

Standard Member
One other thing to consider is does the stand fit for both models. Unlike a monitor stand the TV won’t have any adjustment or tilt. Does that still give you what you want?
Good point! I plan to mount the TV on a lower platform at the correct viewing height and I will be sat face on to the screen so shouldn't need any adjustment or tilt.
Alternatives are the Sony XH9505 - a better TV with HDR than the Q85T but worse viewing angles and no HDMI 2.1 gaming features.

LG BX OLED - A better all-round TV and £100 more.
I want the HDMI 2.1 gaming features and wanted to avoid the burn-in risk of OLED.
Am I right in saying the the 85T / 95T are the ones that come with the one connect box ? How comes it's only Curry's that is selling the Q85T out of interest ? If I were to wait, do you think I would be able to get the Q95T for the 1K mark this month ?
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Good point! I plan to mount the TV on a lower platform at the correct viewing height and I will be sat face on to the screen so shouldn't need any adjustment or tilt.

Cool, yep noticed that some TVs are nearly on the bottom of the stand, others sometimes have a gap for a soundbar.
 

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