What size 4K TV should I buy?

Our market analysis shows it's 55 inches for flat screens and 65 inches for curved. Here's why...

55 or bust. Mostly.

55 or bust. Mostly.

Flat screen: 55-inches

Curved screen: 65-inches

Here's why...

With Full HDTVs you had to sit back from them to get the best experience. There are even formulas to work out the optimum amount. But 4K TVs are so high-detailed that you don't need to worry about sitting too close and seeing the pixels. In fact, the closer the better the experience (within reason).

The main issue of which size TV to buy comes down to price.

TV sizes in a range aren’t priced ‘linearly’ and this can dramatically affect value. If you plot all the prices on a graph you’ll see that upgrading to bigger sizes costs significantly different amounts. Sometimes moving to a bigger size is great value whereas sometimes it isn’t. On some occasions you get even better value if you don’t buy the next size up but buy the next two sizes up!

For instance, if you thought about buying a Panasonic 40-inch 4K TV you might be interested to know that it’s only $50 per inch to upgrade to the next size up in the range. However, if you were looking at a Sony X8500 65-inch TV and were interested in upgrading to the next size, it costs $300 per inch!

We observe similar with curved TVs but the effect is more pronounced and they arguably have a different sweet spot.

Flat screen

Flat screen cost per screen size across different ranges.
Flat screen cost per screen size across different ranges.

As you can see from the graph, from 40 inches to 55 the growth is relatively flat – indicating a low cost per inch upgrade price. After that, things tend to head North. Fast.

Things tend to go insane at the super jumbo sizes. The (mostly standard) LED side-lighting of the LCD panels starts falling down around 70 inches because the screens are too dang huge to light from the sides. As such, you start getting more-complex rear-lighting and a completely different construction. Nonetheless, most companies say that these outliers are part of the same range despite having relatively-little in common with their siblings.

If you leave out the crazy outlier massive TV sets (with over several hundred dollars per inch upgrade prices) the average is $158 per inch to go past 55 inches. (If you include the outliers it’s an overall average $213 per inch.)

By comparison, going from 40 inches to 55 inches costs you, on average, just $68 per inch.

But there are some notable exceptions which jump out at the bottom-right of the graph. LG’s 4K, mid-range, regular-LED TVs (UH8500 and UH7700 series) only go up by $20-$80 per inch up to 65 inches and the prices are low to start off with. There’s high potential for upselling.

Meanwhile, Hisense’s excellent Series 7 has a wobble in value where moving from 55 inches to 60 inches costs $150 per inch but then moving from 60 inches to 70 inches costs $100 per inch. Moving on up to 75 inches then costs $200 per inch. So that 70 inch model is something of an anomalous sweet spot in terms of value.

Curved

Read more: Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
Curved screen cost per screen size across different ranges.
Curved screen cost per screen size across different ranges.

Things are harder to track in the world of curved TVs due to a lack of data. However, these generally-expensive TVs mostly increase at a rate of $200 per inch between 55 and 65 inches. Then things go crazy: moving from LG’s already-expensive, $6,000, 65-inch EG Series OLED TV to its $25,000 77-inch variant comes in at a whopping $1,583 per inch.

However, curved screens get less closed (curvy) the bigger they get meaning that more people can sit round them without seeing a skewed and distorted image. While $200 per inch isn’t to be sniffed at, it may be that 65 inches is actually the curved TV value sweet spot.

Conclusion

Read more: Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review

We completely realise that most people are constrained by budget first and foremost and that this investigation sounds very much like a first world problem and a half. However, most people buy a TV at some stage, they’ll often use it for hours every single day and they expect it to last several years. So it’s worth knowing where the value sweet spot is not just for all TV ranges but for the TVs within a range too.

Related:
TV buying for beginners: LED, LCD, plasma, OLED, Full HD, 4K UHD, smart TV all explained (audio)
What size 4K TV should I buy?
TV buying guide: What to look for when buying a TV in 2016
Home Theatre review: 4K projector vs 4K TV?
The Top 5 Best TVs in 2016 that you can buy right now
Review: Hisense’s amazing ULED TV beats Samsung’s entire range

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags sonytelevisiontvlgsamsungPanasonictclhisenseTVs4K4k tvUltra HDUHDUltra HD TV4KTVUltra HD / 4K4K TizenUHD TV

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Nick Ross
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?