If you love movies, sports, and TV shows, you‘re likely no stranger to the allure of a giant television screen. Ever since the first boxy living room sets appeared decades ago, TV sizes have inched progressively larger as technology improved. Fast forward to today with crystal clear 4K resolution and OLED panels, and home screens can now eclipse well over 100 inches!
But just because you CAN buy a TV large enough to cover an entire wall doesn‘t necessarily mean you should. Screen size plays a crucial role in your overall viewing experience, but many factors determine what‘s "right" for your space and needs. Join me as we dive into today‘s positively massive display options and weigh the pros and cons of going for the biggest screens out there.
The March to Bigger and Bigger TVs
It‘s incredible looking back on how television sets have evolved from grainy little flickering boxes to today‘s cinema-rivaling giants. Let‘s take a quick tour through history:
1940s – The first commercially available TVs ranged between 5" to 12". A 12" model cost a whopping $445, over $8,000 in today‘s money!
1960s – Console televisions with wood cabinetry grew into the 17" to 21" range as prices became more affordable. Color TVs also emerged toward the end of the decade.
1970s – Screen sizes crept up into the 25" to 27" territory as console TVs peaked in popularity. Prices continued to drop significantly.
1980s – Large wood console designs fell out of favor for more minimalist displays in the 30" to 36" range. Picture-in-picture features also became available.
1990s – Screens climbed to the 40" to 50" range. The Commodore 64 was an early pioneer of a 43" rear projection TV priced at $4,600 in 1991.
2000s – Flat panel displays took over, with plasma and LCD screens reaching 50" plus. Prices on these premium sets still exceeded $5,000 however.
2010s – 1080p and then 4K resolution went mainstream. 60", 70", and even 80" TVs could be purchased for under $2,000.
Today – 4K resolution on LCD, OLED and QLED panels enables TV sizes up to 98" for home use. 8K screens are also emerging for additional clarity.
As you can see, screen dimensions have increased exponentially while prices dropped dramatically. But what display technologies make today‘s mega-screens possible?
Display Tech Powering the Biggest TVs
There are a few core display innovations responsible for enormous television sizes today:
LCD – Liquid crystal display TVs utilize a backlight and millions of tiny shuttered pixels to produce an image. Improvements to LED backlighting technology have enabled exceptionally thin profiles and huge screen sizes.
OLED – Organic light-emitting diode displays use pixels that generate their own light. This allows for perfect black levels and a stunning contrast ratio. Individual pixel control also ensures flawless image uniformity across massive OLED panels.
QLED – Quantum dot LED TVs employ nanoparticles that emit specific wavelengths of light. When paired with an LCD screen, this provides a wide color gamut and boosts brightness and HDR capabilities. QLED enabled some of the largest consumer TV sizes.
MicroLED – An emerging experimental display technology that uses millions of teeny tiny LEDs as individual pixel elements. MicroLED promises amazing picture quality paired with minimal screen thickness and width.
These innovations have paved the way for the giant screens we‘ll overview next.
Just How Big Can TVs Get Today?
Screen dimensions are measured diagonally, and today‘s largest consumer television sets surpass 100 inches! Here are some current models on the massive side:
|Model||Screen Size||Display Type||Price|
|Samsung The Wall||Up to 146"||MicroLED||$219,999|
|LG 97" OLED G2||97"||OLED||$24,996|
|Samsung 98" QLED||98"||QLED||$13,147|
|TCL 98" QLED||98"||QLED||$4,997|
Samsung‘s The Wall represents the cutting edge with its modular MicroLED panels. This creates a television that can literally span an entire wall if desired! Of course at over $200,000, it comes at a cost suited only for the most luxury-minded buyers.
More reasonably, LG‘s 97" Class OLED G2 provides a gorgeous self-illuminating 97" picture for under $25,000. Samsung‘s 98" QLED TV also produces a stunning quantum dot enhanced 4K image for about half the price of LG‘s OLED.
For budget-focused shoppers wanting a cinematic viewing experience at home, TCL‘s 98" QLED model rings up at a comparative bargain of less than $5,000. No question – this is a golden age for fans of massive screens!
But before running out and grabbing one of these movie theater-sized TVs, let‘s talk ideal room placement and viewing setup.
Finding Room for a TV Behemoth
Giant televisions need giant spaces. Unfortunately, the average family room just isn‘t constructed to accommodate a 100"+ class screen. Here are some factors to consider first:
Room Layout – An open concept floorplan provides the most flexibility for mammoth TV positioning. Foyers and divided spaces will pose layout issues.
Viewing Distance – Distance is crucial so the screen doesn‘t dominate your field of view. Consider a minimum of 1.5X the screen height, making 13-15 feet ideal for larger models.
Mounting – Most massive displays require robust wall mounting to support their weight. Ensure you have the required studs and reinforcement.
Furniture – Leave ample space for seating, speakers, and other living room furnishings. Measure carefully so chairs and tables don‘t look dwarfed by the TV.
Ideally, start by looking at room measurements and layout, then choose the largest screen that logically fits without overwhelming. Of course if you have an open concept great room, the wall is literally the limit! Just be sure to position seating appropriately.
Picture Quality Considerations
Beyond where to put the thing, you‘ll naturally be wondering how good the picture quality looks stretched over such an enormous area. I can tell you from personal experience that image quality requires MORE scrutiny the larger a screen gets.
Why is this? There are a few factors at play:
Resolution – 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels) has become the standard for larger displays. This added resolution keeps images looking crisp when enlarged. Most streaming content maxes out at 1080p, so a 4K screen is key.
Source Material – Many shows and movies utilize camera equipment that films at 2K or lower resolutions. When viewed full screen on a 4K television, this content can reveal artifacts and pixelation. Native 4K footage allows these massive TVs to shine.
Viewing Angle – Larger screens are best viewed straight on centered rather than from off angles. OLED in particular can provide ideal uniformity for big TVs since each pixel emits its own light.
Calibration – Having your TV professionally calibrated ensures colors, contrast, motion and other aspects look ideal. Calibration helps correct for any uniformity issues on extra-large panels.
So while giant screens can provide an incredible, immersive viewing experience at home, they also require pristine source material presented optimally.
Future Picture Formats to Feed Even Bigger Screens
To satisfy movie and TV fans craving larger and larger screens, new content formats enabling higher resolutions, frame rates and dynamic range are also in development:
8K – With 4X the resolution of 4K, 8K provides 33 million pixels for the most detailed images possible today. This allows viewers to sit even closer without seeing pixels on massive displays.
HDR – High dynamic range enables brighter highlights and deeper blacks in a video signal. This greatly expands the contrast ratio for added realism. Upcoming formats like HDR10+ build on this capability.
120Hz – Doubling the refresh rate to 120 frames per second results in smoother, sharper motion clarity during action sequences. This takes full advantage of the latest high performance display panels.
3D – While not broadly mainstream, certain ultra high-end screens can project a stereoscopic 3D image without glasses. This adds an extra dimension for total viewer immersion.
Pairing formats like these with tomorrow‘s larger screens will provide a viewing experience at home rivaling an IMAX theater.
Sound Systems to Pair With Giant Screens
Of course jaw-dropping video is only half the equation – a big screen needs an equally powerful sound system for total immersion:
Surround Sound – A 5.1 or preferably 7.1 speaker system distributed around the room with a subwoofer adds crucial audio depth. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats take particular advantage.
Sound Bar – While less engulfing than true surround sound, modern sound bars utilize theatrical processing and upward-firing drivers to create a three dimensional sound-space.
Front Speakers – For open concept rooms, front tower speakers placed strategically around the screen can envelop listeners in a wall of sound. Aim for at least 200 watts power and 5-way drivers.
Don‘t underestimate the impact audio has on your giant screen viewing experience!
Super-Sized Screens: Are They Worthwhile for Home Use?
After reviewing everything, you may be wondering – are these gigantic TVs practical purchases, or just overkill novelties? The answer depends on your goals:
For luxury applications – If you have a dedicated home theater room with controlled lighting and seating, a 90"+ class screen provides true cinematic scale. Price is no object for an experience otherwise impossible at home.
For immersive viewing – Film buffs and sports fans alike praise the increased perceived depth and realism. A larger screen fills more of your field of view for a captivating "being there" effect.
For social gatherings – Big screens allow for comfortable viewing from anywhere in the room. Family movie nights and Super Bowl parties benefit greatly from added screen acreage.
For showcasing – Let‘s face it, an enormous television still confers bragging rights. For high net-worth buyers, it displays status and commands attention like little else.
But smaller screens offer benefits too:
For standard rooms – A 50" to 70" TV likely makes more sense for an average family room in terms of layout and viewing distance. You‘ll get a solid picture without dominating the space.
For lower prices – Shoppers on a tighter budget will find excellent performing TVs at 55", 65" and 75" for well under $2,000. Larger screens cost exponentially more.
For everyday viewing – Not every show and movie you watch will be in 4K with HDR. A smaller screen is more forgiving if streaming lower resolution content.
For mobility – Moving a 70" TV while bulky is manageable. Moving a 98" TV requires hiring professionals. Remember you may relocate someday.
So while maxi-sized TV screens can provide breathtaking performance under the right conditions, smaller displays likely make more sense for general use. But with costs coming down each year, the days of "more modest" 75" class screens may not be too far away!
The Future of Massive Home Television Viewing
Home theaters with 80"+ screens were exclusive to the ultra-rich just a decade ago. But as manufacturing efficiencies lower prices, more consumers will join the big screen party. Based on the rate massive displays are progressing:
85" 8K TVs will approach $2,500 in the next 2-3 years, making this a realistic upgrade for enthusiasts.
Improvements in MicroLED and other technologies will drive 100"+ screens below $10,000 in 5 years.
By 2030, wall-sized 130"+ 16K 3D displays will become attainable for upper middle-class buyers.
Of course by then newer technologies we can‘t even imagine today may arrive, triggering the next massive TV revolution!
In closing, while colossal screens may still be out of reach for many, take comfort knowing you can get an incredibly immersive television viewing experience in 2023 for less money than ever before. Whether you crave the absolute largest display that fits your space, or are perfectly content with your 65" living room TV, there are more options than ever to build your dream home theater.
So start measuring your walls and get ready for a big screen adventure. Just don‘t blame me when you find yourself glued to the couch for hours on end! What screen size are you considering for your next TV upgrade? Let me know in the comments.