TV Size Over the Past 8 Years

Apparently the average television size is going to be 60 inches by 2015. Do we really need that much television? I mean, come on.

I used to watch my mom’s old 9-inch black-and-white television in my room, and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. PacMan on my cousin’s hand-me-down Atari couldn’t look any better. Things are a little different now, yeah? I wonder what my Xbox games would look like on that old TV.

Anyways, I scraped television size data from CNET reviews, representing the past eight years or so, and actually, growth isn’t as dramatic as you might think.


  • Television size is driven by technology and price. People always want bigger. There will be a limit eventually. Then we’ll change the technology again. e.g. To 3D, or holographics!

  • What are the relative scales of the charts? I’d imagine some of the median size going down might be due to people buying more TVs – one for each bedroom, one for the garage, one over the toilet and so on. Clearly, the toilet TV wouldn’t need to be as large as the main TV.

  • Hitting a plateau at 46″! It’s weird that 2006 has more 50″+ than the following three years.

  • I guess people realized that a huge telly in a small room doesn’t work.

    I have a small beef with these figures though, I’d find the total viewable area (height X width) more interesting than diagonal measurement because:
    1. Widescreen TVs have a smaller viewing area than a 4:3 screen with the same diagonal size.
    2. CRT televisions have a smaller viewable diagonal than the size quoted as there’s some lost space at the perimeter.

  • While I think the graphics are nice, I’m appalled by the source data – CNet reviews each year? That doesn’t represent what people are buying, nor does it represent what’s on the market. It represents what CNet chooses to review that year, which certainly doesn’t include older models still in production, and probably doesn’t include the less-flashy tv’s people choose for their 3rd, 4th or 5th set.

    • True, there’s some inference going on here, and I’m sure people buy old models too, but there are couple of reasons why the data are worth looking at, right?

      First, CNet is a website that reviews stuff to generate pageviews. They’re going to review stuff that people want, or at least what they think people want. They’re also going to review the newest technologies, and with 745 reviews, they’re not exactly choosy.

      The second reason: it’s electronics. Major stores, where most people buy their TVs from, highlight and sell the newest models. There’s high turnover.

      • While I agree that CNet reviews stuff to generate page views, they also have an inherent bias when it comes to television sizes. CNet generally reviews only one set out of a series (for example, they did a hands on review of the 46 inch Samsung LN46B650, but include the following in the review:

        “We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 46-inch Samsung LN46B650, but this review also applies to three smaller models in the series: the 40-inch LN40B650, the 37-inch LN37B650, and the 32-inch LN32B650, as well as the larger 55-inch LN55B650. All of these sizes in the series have identical specs aside from screen size, and should share very similar picture quality.”

        The ‘median’ size television reviewed might have much more to do with CNet wanting to keep their reviews as consistent as possible than customer preferences. It may also have to do with an editorial decision to review a smaller, more manageable set with the exact same specifications as it’s more popular brethren of varying sizes.

        I don’t know how far we can rely on CNet’s choice of review models (or manufacturers’ decisions as to which model to send) to make any sort of broad statements about the median size of TV’s, generally.

      • Isn’t it also possible that these are simply the sizes the TV manufacturers are sending out for product review?

        Not sure if it works the same way for TV’s, but I know these sites receive cameras, laptops, etc. for review, and if so, it has nothing to do with consumer preference at all, rather it’s the size the companies want the bloggers to see.

  • They show the size stagnating for three years, so how do they justify the assertion that it will increase by 1/3 over the next six?

    Of course, as Susan points out, the data isn’t solid.

  • Did you know?

    TV stands for Time Vanisher

    I look at those graphs and see far too much wasted time.

  • That’s neat. I’d like to see it as a series of violin plots with smoothing. Anyone else?

  • The 42 inch drop probably had most to do with the pricing of LCDs. LCDs we more expensive per square inch vs rear projection but became the belle of the ball, so sacrificing a few inches for size/prettiness probably seemed like a fine compromise.

  • where did you scrape the t.v. data from?

  • I had a nine inch color TV until my kids were born and we started actually staying home to watch TV. Then we finally got a larger TV to watch movies at home. We still have a fairly small TV screen — it’s the computer monitors that keep getting bigger! ;^) I spend far more time online…

  • what I would love to see is an animated version of this! then we could really see the movement more clearly.

  • Wondering if there is a correlation with a trend in increasing waistlines in inches?!?!

  • I know, reading this from thousands of miles away, she’s actually a lovely person. ,