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32 vs. 40 Inch TV: How to Decide the Right Dimension?

32 vs. 40 Inch TV: How to Decide the Right Dimension?

Logically speaking, the bigger your TV screen is, the better. But that’s not always true. You might find two screen sizes in the same price range and wonder what’s the best option for you. Today, we’re debating the 32 vs 40 Inch TV. We’ll look at each screen size separately, and advise you on what other criteria to consider as you’re shopping for your next TV screen, so let’s get started!

The 32-Inch TV

Lots of buyers get disappointed when they first unpack their TV. The instinct is to grab some measuring tape and confirm the screen size on the box – and it never matches up! That’s because screen sizes – on phones, computers, and TVs – aren’t measured sideways. Instead, the figure quoted is the corner-to-corner distance. So if you go from the left to right corner, it’s 32″.

But if you measure the top or bottom of the TV screen – even if you don’t count the frame, a typical 32″ TV is roughly 27″ to 28″ wide and 15” to 16” tall. Different brands have slightly different dimensions, but that’s the general range. 32” TVs aren’t too heavy – roughly 25 to 30 pounds for an LCD or plasma screen. LED TVs are much lighter, hovering at about 8 to 10 lbs.

The 40-Inch TV

As we said above, a TV screen is measured from one corner to another. So while the diagonal line across a 40-inch TV is 40 inches, the TV is 34” to 35” across and 19” to 20” tall. This doesn’t include the height of any vertical stands or mounting brackets. Some 40” TVs are frameless which can make them feel psychologically larger. These models also look sleek and luxurious.

Not all TV brands make a 40-Inch TV. Some jump from 32″ to 43″ so that may affect your decision already since you’d have to pick your poison. It may come down to your willingness to compromise on size vs brand! Design perspective matters as well. You may want a wall-to-wall TV for your tiny living room, but while the room can handle its size, can it deal with the sound?

Comparing the 32 vs 40 Inch TV

Comparing the 32 vs 40 Inch TV

Shopping for a TV can be tricky because of all that jargon. And even after the store clerk or tech assistant breaks down (or spells out) all the abbreviations, it still sounds like geekinese! So start by picking out the features that are most important to you, then check a 32” and a 40” that both have those exact specs. The price difference ranges from $500 to $1,500 excluding accessories.

TV Brand and Size

Are you attached to a particular brand? If that’s important to you, list the features you prefer then find a TV from that brand within your price range. But keep in mind that most famous brands outsource their labor and components to Asia. So whether you’re buying a Samsung, a Sony, or a Xiaomi, the TV probably comes from the same factory floor with comparable quality.

Other than that, brands sometimes offer a different combination of features. So don’t just look at the logo. Check the specs and see how they match up against the price. It might be worth getting a lesser-known brand if it has a few extra bells and whistles. Check the warranty though, it says a lot more than the logo. What about the inches? The table below is a sizing summary.

Screen Size TV Width TV Height 4:3 Diagonal (Full Screen) 16:9 Diagonal (HDTV)
32 Inches 27.89” 15.69” 26.15” 32”
40 Inches 34.86” 19.61” 32.68” 40”


Display Dimensions

Display Dimensions

The table above showed both the physical size and the aspect ratios of typical TVs. So at a glance, you can distinguish the full-screen and wide-screen dimensions of 35 vs 40” TVs. But when you set up your TV, how deep do you go? Is it just about sound and color selection or do you fiddle with the aspect ratio? First off, are you old enough to remember those big-back TVs?

You might recall they had a different shape. They seemed more square than today’s TVs, which have a longer silhouette. Those early TVs had a 4:3 ratio, which you can still find on some computers. That 4:3 ratio is sometimes called full screen or standard aspect. But modern TVs have a 16:9 ratio, like a cinema screen. It’s called widescreen or HDTV aka High-Definition TV.

HDTV sometimes leaves a black space above and below the show you’re watching. It could even leave gaps on the side for some TV models and apps. On newer TV models, you can go into the settings and adjust the aspect ratio from 16:9 to 4:3 and vice versa. But why does this matter? When you pit a 35” against a 40”, the display dimensions are different in each display setting.

This difference is important if you’re doing fine-detail tasks like long-form typing, gaming, research, accounting, or online trading. These activities need as much screen real estate as you can afford because you can hurt your neck and eyes if you keep rubber-necking the screen. So be sure to buy a size that ensures maximum efficiency and comfort during extended screen time.

Screen Type and Resolution

Screen Type and Resolution

These days, TVs come in HD (1920 by 1080 pixels), 4K – which is four times HD (3840 by 2160 pixels), and even 8K, which is eight times HD. HDTV is adequate since it offers photorealism in color and detail. And in sizes below 40” it’s not really worth shelling out the extra cash for high resolutions. OLED screens, for example, are the slimmest TVs, and quite pricy. They start at 48”.

But they only come in four sizes – 48”, 55”, 65”, and 77”. In smaller sizes, you may find TVs in LCD and LED rather than OLED or QLED. These screen types affect the price, and you may find a 40” LCD in the same price range as a 32” LED. For reference, LCD is Liquid Crystal Display. It’s the type of screen that seems to swish internal liquid if you press on the screen too hard.

Curiously, LCD TVs are backed by LED technology, pun intended. Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) shine through the crystals to produce the images on the screen. Newer LED models have those same diodes, but they don’t have the crystals. Plasma screens were popular for a minute there. These hi-tech screens used phosphors, which would be ignited to project colored images.

But they were last made in 2015 so it’s hard to find a new one. And they’re quite heavy so you’d need strong wall-mounted brackets. LCDs and Plasma screens don’t handle glare well, and they’re not easily viewed from an angle.  So anyone sitting at a corner seat or facing the screen from a 45° angle wouldn’t have a good view. You’d have to be sitting right in front of the screen.

Mounting Location and Viewing Distance

Mounting Location and Viewing Distance

Before you buy your TV, think about where you plan to put it and how big that space is. Will it sit on a table, above the fireplace, in the hallway, or on the side wall? Ideally, your TV shouldn’t be below eye level to avoid harming your neck or straining your vision. It shouldn’t be too high either. When you’re watching, the viewing angle should be 36° to 42° without excess movement.

Also, your eye-line should be a half to a third way up the TV. This influences the size of the TV you buy because you’d need to mount it at a spot that facilitates this viewing angle. These factors are far more important than the physical size of the room. You may be focused on whether your new TV will crowd the room or seem dwarfed, but these aesthetic issues are secondary shopping factors.

Next, where do you sit when you watch TV? Is it a loveseat in the corner, a recliner in the middle of the room, a swivel seat, or do you mostly watch in bed? Apart from the angle of your eyes, you need to consider your distance from the TV. When you watch, does the TV fill your view or does your neck get whiplash as rush through subtitles? Will it give you headaches from eye fatigue?

Experts recommend that a TV should have a preset distance from your face, depending on the type of screen. Plus, on some TV types, watching from the side or from an angle will affect how clear the picture is. As a guideline, HDTVs should be 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal dimension while 4K TVs can be closer, at 1 to 1.5 times the diagonal distance. The table below is a summary.

TV Size 1080p HDTV 4K Ultra HDTV
32 Inches 4 feet to 6.5 feet away from the TV 2.5 to 4 feet away from the TV
40 Inches 5 feet to 8.5 feet away from the TV 3.5 feet to 5 feet away from the TV


Extra Features, Bells, and Whistles

You may be unsure of which add-ons are worth paying for. As always, find a 32” and 40” with identical specs then weigh the pricing. Your deal breakers should include the number of ports, and the more you have, the better. Prioritize USB ports and HDMI ports in different types. The TV should have at least two of each. And if you can afford it, get a Smart TV with internet access.

Some TVs are listed as digital TVs, and they’re way cheaper because, unlike Smart TVs, they don’t have wireless connectivity. Another factor to look for is processing speed. This is listed in hertz (HZ) and for a TV connected to a gaming console, animation app, or photo/video editing software, it needs to be fast enough for fluidity and rendering. Screens that lag are the devil!!

What Should You Buy – 32 vs 40 Inch TV

If your TV room or computer station is on the smaller side, you might be better off moving closer to the screen than buying a bigger one. Especially if your budget is limited. And for small rooms, you can make your TV look larger simply by mounting it lower (or higher) on the wall.

This location shift can reduce your eye strain too! But the ultimate choice between a 32 vs 40 Inch TV is facial position. You want to sit far enough away to watch the TV at a 36° to 42° angle and at a safe viewing distance. So measure the room first, then decide on the healthiest TV size.

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