How do you measure a TV?

measure a tv
Fit to size: make sure you measure a potential TV purchase correctly

If you’re browsing a selection of televisions and can’t make your mind up between a 32in, 40in or even a whopping 60in TV, you might suddenly have been struck by a moment of doubt. When they say ’40in TV’, what do they mean? How do you measure a TV? Let us explain all – and a few other key factors when choosing a TV.

How TV screens are measured

Television screens are measured across the diagonal, almost universally in inches. The same applies to pretty much any screen: laptops, monitors, tablets and smartphones are all measured from corner to opposite corner.

So, in the example below, a 42in screen would measure 42 inches from the tip of each arrow:

Because the bezels (the frame that surrounds the television screen itself) are so thin these days, the size of the screen is pretty much the size of the television, give or take another inch or two.

However, if you’re trying to work out if you’ve got enough wall or cabinet space to accommodate a particular TV, the diagonal measurement is often not the most useful, so you’ll probably want to check the TV’s full dimensions on the manufacturer or retailer’s website.

Also remember to take into account the dimensions of any stand the television may come with. Large screens often need big, wide stands to keep them upright, so make sure your TV cabinet can accommodate the stand – unless you’re planning to wall mount the screen, of course.

The other key metric to look for when buying a television is the screen resolution. Most new large screen televisions will be 4K, which normally means 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. Note that 4K is used interchangeably with “Ultra HD”. Cheaper televisions might only be Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), so check the specification carefully before buying.

You can find out more about different screen resolutions here.

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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