Home Cinema Seating – Distances?

What is the correct distance from the screen for home cinema seating?

When designing a home cinema room the distance from the screen to the seating is crucial to delivering a great user experience. There are a number of variables to take in to account – room size, screen size and the particular clients needs. The human eye sees detail in a 30 degree arc beyond that we just see colour definition, therefore if the seating is too close to the screen viewing films will be tiring (as the head moves from side to side to pick up detail) but too far way (and much above 30 degrees) the screen will appear small.

  • Room Size – Obviously room size features in the design. A small room with a large screen may mean one large row of seating is preferable to two or more rows. Our Dubai home cinema is installed in a fairly narrow room so has two rows of four seats whereas our Derby Home Cinema is a wide but narrow room so has one long row wrapped around the room. Both cinema rooms are very different but fit well in to the space and are great to use.
  • Screen size – The larger the screen size the further away the client should sit although with 4K projectors the distance doesn’t have to be as far back as with previous HD projectors (4K has a higher resolution so has more detail, enabling you to sit closer without suffering any blocky visuals).  The table below is a good guide based on our experience and equates roughly to watching a film in a commercial cinema from the middle seats:
    • 75″ screen first row at around 3m
    • 100″ screen first row at around 3.8m
    • 150″ screen first row at about 5.7m

What about the Second Row of Cinema Seating?

The second row of seating is much easier to work out than the first – a good rule of thumb is to leave 20″ or 50cm between rows. This gives enough space for a comfortable walk way between the rows although the cinema seating needs to be taken in to account. Reclining chairs with foot rests must be accommodated although the foot rest can occupy the space between rows when extended.