BBC R&D

Abstract

We have conducted a survey of UK Television Viewing Conditions. Information about television screen sizes and viewing distances was collected, as well as the sizes of the screens people would ideally like to have in their homes. Our key results are a median absolute viewing distance of 2.63m, and a median relative viewing distance of 5.5 times the screen height (5.5.H). Demographic biases lead us to expect the true median relative viewing distance to be slightly larger, but not more than 5.8.H. Comparison with an earlier study indicates that screen sizes have increased since 2004, but viewing distances have remained approximately the same. There was little correlation between the screen size and absolute viewing distance, the viewing distance limit is most likely to be determined by the size of the room. The proportion of people currently watching from 3H or closer, who could potentially benefit from resolution beyond that of high definition, is 10.2%. If respondents were to upgrade to their estimated ideal television size but remain at the same absolute viewing distance, that increases to 22.9% of respondents who would watch from 3H or closer. We also found that 17.9% of respondents have a surround sound system, 39.8% of respondents prefer to watch television in a room that is either dimly lit or completely dark, and 59% prefer medium or bright room lighting. We additionally collected details of respondents’ viewing habits, including preferred genres and time spent watching television per day. The results of the survey are of particular interest for determining the technical parameters of future television services.