It turns out, that debate depends on a lot more than your eyesight. A few years ago, I couldn’t tell the difference, but lately, my 1080p rips have been looking noticeably better. But it wasn’t my eyesight that was improving—it was the big new TV I’d bought.
The bigger your TV is (and the closer you sit to it), the more likely you’ll actually be able to tell the difference between standard definition, 720p, 1080p, and even 4K. The chart above, from Carlton Bale, is a good reference for figuring out whether 1080p or 4K really matter in your living room. (It’s based on 20/20 eyesight, so your mileage may vary—see this blog post for more information on how these values were put together.)
We’ve shared calculators for this information before, but they were focused on setting up your home theater. But for most of us, viewing distance is dependent on our living room, and TV size is dependent on our budget. So I like that this chart takes the opposite approach: Given your TV size and viewing distance, is it really worth ripping in 1080p? That’s the question I always needed to answer.
And unless you have a truly giant TV, don’t even worry about 4K.