Should you buy a 65-inch TV? Unless you’re talking about very specific things – like potholes, or tax bills, for example – bigger is almost always better.
That certainly seems to be the perception when it comes to televisions. In the UK, the average screen size grew from about the size of a 32-inch TV at the turn of the century to that of a 40-inch TV in 2010. And when 2019 turned into 2020, the average size of the new TVs released in the UK was sold were nearly 50 inches.
Economies of scale, of course, mean that the more popular the screen size, the more affordable it becomes (in relative terms). Just look at the price of one of our favorite 50-inch TVs this year, the excellent Panasonic TX-50HX800, to see what’s what.
When we reviewed the HX800 in June, the 50-inch version cost £ 899 (about $ 1,200 / AU $ 1,650) – and it’s now routinely available for £ 699 (about $ 950 / AU $ 1,270) or so. Compare this to the 40-inch version of the same television: £ 649 at launch, now retailing for around £ 599. If a much larger screen is so relatively cheap, why choose the smaller one?
A big screen doesn’t mean a big budget
The temptation to buy a new TV is to buy the largest available within your budget. After all, the average customer upgrades their TV once every six or seven years – so the last thing you want is to go home and be struck with the little screen buyer’s regret. So if your budget stretches to a 65-inch 4K TV, why not?
It’s not that there aren’t a lot of very valuable 65-inch TVs around, too, and at a fair number of prices. If you’re absolutely determined to future-proof your new TV as much as possible, then of course you’re looking at a Samsung TV with 8K resolution – the QE65Q950T will set you back the fat end of £ 6,000 / $ 8,000 – or you would it less well specified QE65Q800T alternative for about half that amount. For the rest of us, however, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to the more realistic 4K resolution.
Our current favorite is LG’s stunning CX OLED – for a fraction of under £ 2,000 ($ 1,799 / £ 1,799 / about AU $ 2,700) you can proudly own a super-slim, high-quality OLED TV with support for both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision and HDMI 2.1 compatibility for your shiny new PS5 or Xbox Series X.
But don’t overlook Sony’s nearly as impressive A8H OLED. It’s a bit more affordable, enjoys the typical Sony picture quality and has an incredibly smart audio system that uses the very large screen to produce sound.
Of course, you don’t have to dig deep into four figures to treat yourself to a fun new television. Hisense’s admirable 65U7QF may not be as experienced as the alternatives from LG, Samsung, Sony and all the rest – but it’s yours for under £ 800 / $ 1000. A lot less if you look around – which is a value proposition where you struggle can go against it.
Tailor your space
Just because you can afford a 65-inch TV doesn’t automatically mean you should buy one right away. There are factors to consider before pulling out your credit card and folding the back seat of your car.
The most fundamental question is: do you have the necessary space for a 65 inch TV? We also don’t mean the surface to put it on or the wall to hang it on – we mean the distance from where you have to sit to enjoy a comfortable viewing experience.
We’ve all been to theaters to see a popular movie during the first few days of release, which means we’ve all been too close to the screen at some point. It’s rotten, isn’t it? Can’t record the whole screen at once, can’t help but notice noise in the picture, can’t help but can get a little nauseous from fast or unpredictable screen movements. Well, it will be if you sit too close to your TV.
First of all, keep in mind that TV screen dimensions are measured diagonally. So the “65-inch” measurement indicates the distance from the bottom left corner of the screen to the top right corner. This is especially relevant if you plan on hanging your TV on the wall – it might look great above the fireplace purely for decorative purposes, but unless you’re watching TV from a bar stool, it’s almost certainly too high for comfortable viewing.
That means you need to measure the distance between where the TV will be and where you plan to sit when you watch it.
4K resolution screens are easier to view from a short distance than 1080p Full HD equivalents – thanks to the massive increase in pixel count – yet you don’t want to be too close. A good rule of thumb for 4K screens is to consider a distance between 1.5 and 2 times the screen size as the minimum viewing distance. That means you don’t have to sit closer than 2.5 meters to your new 65-inch television – ideally more than 3 by 3.5 meters.
Sit too close and you won’t be looking at your TV screen so much as the pixels that make up the image. So if you can’t get the kind of distance from your screen that we recommend, you better face the facts and pick a slightly more modest television.
The biggest advantages for a 65 inch TV
But if you can keep enough distance between yourself and the screen, you’re good to go. But just because you can fit a 65-inch TV, does it automatically follow that you should? What tangible benefits does a large 65-inch television actually have?
At the risk of calling the obvious, a bigger screen means a bigger picture. That, in turn, means a more immersive, intense and lifelike viewing experience, especially if your new screen is equipped to take advantage of advanced technologies such as dynamic metadata HDR. If you’re paying a hefty dollar for a 4K Netflix subscription, or if you have a 4K Blu-ray player for a truly premium picture, those extra inches will instantly translate into a more vibrant and cinematic watch.
And if you give your money to Philips for a 65-inch version of one of its Ambilight-equipped OLED TVs (the 65OLED935 + really is an excellent TV, and – thanks to Bowers & Wilkins – for once it’s a screen with a matching audio quality right down to picture quality), the effect of those rear-facing LEDs shining light on the wall behind the screen is even more pronounced than with the smaller variants.
Gamers, too, will love those extra screen inches. As long as you make sure your new 65-inch TV is equipped with HDMI 2.1 – which rules out the Philips TV, but certainly rules like Samsung’s excellent QE65Q95T QLED display – any next-generation console function can be accommodated. Variable refresh rate, 4K / 120Hz passthrough and HGiG HDR tone mapping only add to the already thrilling visual experience of both the Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5 – and again, a big screen really allows you to be immersed in the action.
In short, there is no reason not to think long and hard about a 65-inch TV when researching your new TV – at least if you have the space to get a realistic distance from it.