The question in question is: What is the optimal distance to sit from a TV?

I can see how there are several issues with it:

  • You could argue that it is off-topic because it does not only involve physics.
  • Some people commented that the question is too broad, which I can also understand partially. There may be a variety of answers to it based on different phenomena.

What I can not understand is how it is not clear what I am asking. The question is asking to explain an observation, and that observation is clear. Please explain.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think there are probably several good questions in there. It seems the close voters felt it wasn't very well defined. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 1:22

2 Answers 2


I don't think this is a problem of there being unspecified pieces of data. After all, we all know how to leave quantities as variables rather than plugging in numbers. However, the thing that is missing is the definition of "optimal." This is a subjective term, and I don't think you grasp how much it will vary from person to person.

For example, person A might seek "the maximum distance such that the perceived resolution is no worse than a particular number." Person B might enjoy "whatever distance fills 85% of my field of view." And person C might be in favor of "close enough so that my screen's resolution matches that of my eyes."

I myself am some combination of A and B, but the number of people who keep buying larger and/or higher resolution screens without changing their distance indicates they're using some completely different criterion.

It's unclear which of these you have in mind.

Note too that the close banner is broken. The system selects one reason to present, no matter how many different reasons were chosen by the up to five close voters. That is, quite often it simply lies about what users said. This has been brought to the developers' attention before, and again, and again, and again. For reasons that can only be attributed to some combination of stupidity, malice, or monumental laziness, this request has been ignored every time.

  • $\begingroup$ thanks, that is helpful! I see how that could be seen as unclear what you are asking, I assumed the distance would be well defined since TV manufacturers give a range of optimal distances. To get the question reopened, do you think it would suffice to say "what TV manufacturers use"? Otherwise I will try to rephrase it in terms of one of your definitions above. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'd maybe add "corporate inertia" to that list, not that it actually improves it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisWhite, thank you, this was a helpful answer. $\endgroup$
    – auden
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 12:34

I read your question, and I found it unclear as well. To simply explain:

Imagine you are watching a show on your computer. You're going to have to be a whole lot closer to watch it properly than if it was on a giant, 48" flat-screen TV. Of course, this is a bit of an exaggeration to make a point, but you haven't given any factors for the situation. You give some example parameters, but you don't tell us

  • How good your theoretical person's eyes are
  • How big your theoretical TV is
  • What the pixel size/resolution of the screen is
  • etc., etc.

Whatever parameters you want to include. Just saying, "Here are some possible parameters...do whatever you want" means it isn't really possible to get an answer. People might be able to make some vague, generalistic statements (i.e., the bigger the screen the farther away the ideal seat could be) but nothing that makes it a question worth answering, because I find that generalistic statement rather obvious. If you want an equation, you have to list the parameters, and give us a way to measure data/take data. This also kind of covers why it is broad...there are too many ways to answer it without knowing who you've designed this experiment for.

By the way, the box that says "question isn't clear" also says "Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need." That's exactly what we need...additional detail.

(By the way, I don't see how it really involves physics at all, but that's just me.) Anyway, I hope this helps.


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