Why people don’t buy 4K TV content plans?

Video Streaming Development
07 Oct
Stanislav Zayarsky

Recent article showed customers prefer HD content over 4K. 

Why is that? Doesn’t 4K have far better image clarity and details?

Maybe CDN’s (content delivery networks) are not ready to properly deliver 4K content and it work’s not in the best way?

The reason is simple: Viewers don’t buy 4K content because they don’t see the difference.

Why people don’t buy 4K content plans?

How is that? If it’s clear that 4K has far better image quality, and you tested it yourself many times in offline electronics stores!

Let’s check how far from the TV viewers are sitting at home.

You can find tons of online articles and tutorials on how close viewers should be sitting next to TV.

One of them, from health-related source, claims that the ideal position is five times the distance as the screen is wide. For example, if your television is 50 inches diagonal, (then the width is 43 inches), the optimal viewing distance is 215 inches or about 18 feet (5.4 m).

Ok, that sounds right. And many data sources actually keep to those ratios. 

But then, at the same articles, magically, there is another ratio for 4K displays. The recommended distance for sitting in front of 4K display is one and a half times of the vertical screen size. Ok, let’s transform that to our 50-inch display example. Height would be 24.5 inches, then the “optimal” viewing distance is 37 inches or about 3 feet. (1 m)

Emmmmm, how that possibly be? The same articles says to sit 18 feet away, but 3 feet away if you have a 4K TV. What nonsense?!

Well, it’s not nonsense. It’s a point that TV manufacturers decided that you need to buy 4K, and to distinguish the details between 4K and FullHD, you need to sit very closely to the display.

Otherwise, you just don’t see the difference between 4K and FullHD.

Looks like marketing is fighting with comfort 🙂 And somebody tries to convince users to drag their sofas very close to TV display.

Let’s see how people really sit in front of TV’s.

I’ve found two scientific pieces of research, one from Japan in 1985. Let’s start with that.

Viewers aged 17 years and younger viewed at an average distance of 2.2 m or 88.5 inches or 7.3 feet.

Adult viewers watched TV at an average distance of 3.3 m or 132 inches or 11 feet.

TV distance

TV distance over age comparison

TV 4K content plan

Let’s not forget that the display size back then was around 19 inches, and not 40-50 like now. 

The next investigation is again from Japan but 2019.

The results show that the relative viewing distance is around 5 screen heights (H), which is 1 H shorter than before (2009). This change is primarily because the screen size of TVs at home has become bigger despite that the room area has not changed

The average for single-person households is 1.9 m, and 2.4 m for the others.

And when we compare 1985 and 2019, looks like not much changed for kids, 2.4m (2019) vs 2.2 (1985). We see only changes for Adults who now sit closer, 1.9m – 2.4m (2019) vs 3.3m (1985).

And in the same research, they found the shortest tolerable viewing distance. It was 1.25 m for a 42-inch television (2.3 H), and 1.4 m for a 52-inch television (2.0 H). 


People sit in front of the TV as they like.  During decades that distance fluctuates a bit, but not much. No marketing “stories” can make viewers sit closer “to see more details in 4K”. 

And while viewers don’t see the difference between 4K and FullHD, they don’t care to buy more expensive 4K plans.

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