How to Pick the Right TV Size for Your Room

If you’ve ever sat in the front row of a movie theater, you understand the problem of proportions. You don’t want to stare into an actor’s stomach for most of a film (or maybe you do, but that’s a blog for another time). The size of the screen matters as does how far you are from it.

It’s the same for the size of your home TV screen. You don’t want to have to sit so close that you lose half the picture or too far away that faces are minuscule, or you can’t hear the sound accurately. You also don’t want such a large TV that it overpowers your living room.

Whether your TV will hang on a wall or sit on a console, remember that bigger is not always better: it’s a good idea to figure out the Goldilocks-right TV size for your room.

How to measure TV size

The size of a screen is measured diagonally from corner to corner — not including the TV’s “frame.” A 65-inch TV is actually about 55 inches.

Besides the physical size of the screen, you’re also measuring clarity, otherwise known as resolution. That comes from the number of pixels (think of dots) that make up a picture on the screen. Those Impressionist painters were onto something; the more dots the better the resolution. And think about how far away you need to stand to see the beauty of the whole picture.

Older TVs and some current 32-inch models have resolutions of about 1 million pixels (720p) and newer, larger TVs have more than 2 million pixels (1080p).

Many TVs over 50 inches have 8 million pixels, making them 4K Ultra HD (high-definition). And the latest and greatest and most expensive TVs have over 33 million pixels (8K).

Where to place the TV in your room

Sure, hanging a TV on a wall frees up space in your room, but it also may change the nature of the room. The TV, especially if it’s a large one, becomes the focal point.

Perhaps you have a great piece of art you’d like to rest your eyes on or a large picture window overlooking nature. A console TV, which would take up precious real estate in your apartment, might be a better choice if only because you can move it easily. But if you choose to hang your TV, and if it’s possible due to the size of your room, find a wall that may detract less from some other area you feel is more important to look at.

Woman on her couch holding a TV remote.

Should I hang a TV on the wall?

People often hang televisions above a fireplace. However, it is not the best choice as a gas fireplace generates 20,000 to 35,000 BTUs of heat. Heat and electronics are not good friends. Mounting a TV above an electric fireplace is not as bad since that type of fireplace generates less heat. According to Bob Vila’s Home Advisor site, “Only mount a TV above a fireplace if the temperatures in that spot do not surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Another reason you might not choose to hang your TV above the fireplace is that the TV will be too high, and you’ll have to crane your neck to see it. Plus, the viewing angle will throw off the picture quality.

TV manufacturers suggest mounting your television at eye level, but of course, the ability to do this depends on which room you’re going to watch television in. Will you be sitting in a living room on a low couch to watch TV? Lying in bed? Seated at tall bar stools at a counter?

In general, Samsung suggests mounting a TV 42 inches from the floor to the center of the TV, “should meet the approximate eye level of someone who is 5 feet 6 inches tall sitting on a standard couch.”

If you’re lying in bed, that’s a different story. You’ll want to put a TV on a tall dresser at the end of the bed or mount it to the ceiling.

No wall space? No problem

If you’ve really got a very small apartment and no wall to spare, maybe your apartment building does. Skip the in-home TV and watch movies and shows on your laptop. When you need a big screen, take yourself to your building’s media center.

How far away you should sit from a TV?

Base the distance you sit from the television on the TV’s size and clarity. And, of course, the room needs enough space so you will have enough space to sit those “x” number of feet away.

The electronic experts at Crutchfield recommend a viewing distance of 1.5–2.5 times the diagonal measurement for Ultra High Definition (1080p) TVs, and 1–1.5 times the screen size for a 4K Ultra HD TV.

For example, if you have a 40-inch 1080p TV, an ideal viewing distance is 5-8.3 feet. For that same size screen in a 4K version, you’d sit 3-3.5 feet from the screen. These measurements will make for optimum viewing.

TV on a console in an apartment.

What about the distance from the TV and sound?

TV is not just for seeing, after all.

The size of the TV doesn’t necessarily affect its sound output, but if you’re sitting too far you might have issues hearing. Rather than constantly bumping up the sound you might try a soundbar, wireless headphones or running the sound through your stereo speaker.

What’s the right TV size for my room?

Ultimately, there’s no magic formula, but you’ll want the largest screen you can get that doesn’t overpower your space and where its placement allows you to relax comfortably while watching it.

Source: rent.com

The Top 5 Renting Nightmares and How to Face Them

Renting can be a real dream — as long as you know how to tackle these common challenges.

Renting offers its fair share of perks, but with great flexibility in your living arrangement comes a unique set of challenges — most of which are out of your control.

Here are a few tips to help you face the top five renting woes.

1. Pest infestation

Pests can be an all-too-common occurrence for renters. They can hide in your drains, in your kitchen cabinets and sometimes even on your bed.

To prevent pests in the first place, experts suggest keeping your home clean and properly storing all food. There are also many DIY remedies to get rid of pests, such as boric acid for roaches or apple cider vinegar for flies.

Of course, you can always contact your landlord or apartment office to ask if they’ll hire an exterminator to do the job.

2. Noisy (or nosy) neighbors

While most neighbors will exchange pleasantries, you might have to occasionally deal with a neighbor that really pushes your buttons.

A common neighbor squabble, of course, is noise. If your noisy neighbor is really bothering you, try talking to them directly, and see if they can keep noise to a minimum. Or you could work out a “noise schedule” of sorts, with designated quiet hours.

If confrontation gives you the jitters, purchase a white noise machine, or try soundproofing your home by installing a simple weather strip underneath the front door.

When an issue with a neighbor is about the property itself (for example, trimming a tree that straddles both properties), ask your landlord to send someone to fix it. If you decide to take care of it yourself, ask your landlord to repay you for any costs incurred.

3. Plumbing disasters

Do what you can to take good care of the plumbing while you’re living at the property. To prevent a major plumbing catastrophe, avoid flushing feminine products, diapers or paper towels.

However, some plumbing problems are unavoidable — and they’re often an emergency. Contact your landlord immediately when you’re having an issue. If you don’t get a response right away, do a bit of research on your state’s landlord-tenant laws to see if plumbing is one of the things that the landlord must maintain immediately.

4. Deposit battles

Deposits are a huge expense for renters. But as painful as they are to pay, they’re for the protection of the landlord, who may need to use the money to fix any damage that occurred while you lived at their property.

However, a landlord cannot charge the tenant for excessive repairs, particularly for minor issues, like normal wear and tear on carpet, or fixing or replacing appliances that have worn out over time.

If you truly believe that you didn’t get the correct amount for your deposit back, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Be sure to get a lawyer’s advice if you want to pursue a case.

To get your entire deposit back, sometimes the best offense is a good defense. When you move into a rental, take pictures of any pre-existing damage, or write it down on a move-in document that your landlord provides.

Leaving the property spotless when you move out is also a great way to ensure that you get every penny back.

5. Unsafe surroundings

Living somewhere temporary should never mean that you don’t feel safe. To secure your apartment, make sure the deadbolt is properly working when you move in, and lock your windows before you go to bed.

If you want a little extra security, many companies offer wireless security tools that are easy to uninstall when you move, which makes it easier to get your landlord on board.

Related:

Originally published October 20, 2015.

Source: zillow.com

Credit Card Rewards & Benefits for the COVID-19 Era

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted society and the economy on a global scale like few other events in living memory. Financial companies large and small recognize the pandemic’s magnitude. While their chief focus in the near term is blunting the fiscal impact of the crush of loan delinquencies caused by spiking unemployment and falling incomes, they’re reacting in less visible ways as well.

One such response is a reasonably widespread adjustment to popular credit card rewards programs and fringe benefits packages. Well over a dozen credit cards — mostly premium travel rewards cards and business credit cards — have temporarily added new rewards categories (or increased existing rewards rates) and potentially valuable fringe benefits to reflect their newly homebound users’ changing spending habits.

New cardholders can take advantage of many (though not all) of these new rewards and benefits, so there’s still time to get off the fence and apply if you’ve been considering a new card. Here’s a detailed look at the best new credit card features and benefits for the COVID-19 era.

New Credit Card Perks & Benefits for the Coronavirus Pandemic

In response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple credit cards from American Express, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, and Citibank added temporary perks and benefits to their most popular rewards credit cards. Some remain in effect.

American Express

These American Express cards added new perks, benefits, and credit opportunities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bear in mind that many have since expired:

The Platinum Card From American Express (Consumer & Business)

The Platinum Card® from American Express and its business-friendly cousin, the Business Platinum® Card from American Express, introduced some potentially valuable limited-time benefits.

The consumer Platinum Card’s included:

  • Up to $20 per month in statement credits against purchases made with select U.S. streaming services through December 2020
  • Up to $20 per month in statement credits against purchases made directly with select U.S. wireless telephone service providers through December 2020
  • For cardholders who renew their accounts before Dec. 31, 2020, up to $200 in general-purpose statement credits against purchases made through the Amex Travel portal.

Be aware that these benefits may no longer be available after Jan. 1, 2021.

These benefits complement an existing consumer Platinum perk for those spending more time at home: $15 in Uber credits per month (plus a $20 bonus Uber credit in December) that apply against UberEats food delivery purchases.

Meanwhile, the Business Platinum Card’s temporary benefits included:

  • Up to $20 per month in statement credits against direct purchases with select U.S. wireless telephone service providers through December 2020
  • Up to $20 per month in statement credits against U.S. shipping purchases through December 2020
  • A $200 appreciation credit for longtime cardholders who renew their accounts (though not all will qualify)
  • Up to $200 in bonus statement credits against U.S. purchases made with Dell Technologies each year ($100 between January and June and $100 between July and December, for a total cumulative bonus credit of $200)

The Dell credit effectively doubled an existing Dell credit opportunity in place before the pandemic.

Note that these benefits may no longer be available after Jan. 1, 2021.

For more details on these cards’ rewards programs and benefits, see our Platinum Card from American Express review and our Business Platinum Card from American Express review. And mind their relatively high annual fees.

American Express Gold Card

The American Express® Gold card offers up to $120 per year ($10 per month) in Uber Cash to offset Uber Eats and Uber rideshare purchases when you add your Gold card as a payment method in the app.

Plus, earn 4 points per $1 spent on eligible Uber Eats purchases after reaching your monthly Uber Cash maximum.

American Express Green Card

The American Express Green Card offered up to $10 in statement credits per month against eligible U.S. wireless telephone service purchases through December 2020.

Note that these benefits may no longer be available after Jan. 1, 2021. And mind Amex Gold’s high annual fee.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express card introduced two useful (and potentially valuable) perks for temporarily grounded cardholders:

  • A Dec. 31, 2020, expiration date for any companion certificates scheduled to expire before June 30, 2020, regardless of issue date
  • A six-month expiration date extension for any one-time guest passes to participating Delta Sky Club airport lounge locations set to expire before April 1, 2021.

Like Amex Platinum and Gold, Delta SkyMiles Reserve has a high annual fee. Carefully consider whether you’ll use the card enough (and travel often enough during and after the pandemic) to justify the carrying cost.

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

For a limited time, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express card has a nice little bonus for cardholders who’ve temporarily paused their travel plans during the pandemic: A $100 Delta flight credit that’s yours after spending $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year.

This promotion has no set end date, but it’s subject to change at Amex and Delta’s discretion.

Hilton Honors Amex Credit Cards (Consumer)

Hilton Honors points earned via spending on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card through December 2020 count toward elite status qualification (including lifetime Diamond status).

That’s a departure from the normal state of affairs, wherein only base points earned on eligible Hilton purchases — whether you make them with a Hilton Amex card or not — count toward elite status qualification. (Note that this benefit may not be available after Jan. 1, 2021.)

Meanwhile, free weekend night certificates issued through Dec. 31, 2021, stay valid for 212 months from the issue date and can be redeemed on weekdays as well.


Chase

These JPMorgan Chase credit cards have added new perks and benefits as well:

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card has a very impressive lineup of temporary benefits:

  • The $300 annual statement credit, generally reserved for travel, also applies to supermarket and gas station purchases through June 2021
  • The Pay Yourself Back redemption option, which assigns a redemption value of $0.015 per point for statement credit redemptions made against purchases in select categories — initially restaurants, supermarkets, and home improvement stores, but subject to change — through April 2021. That’s a 50% boost to the usual redemption rate.
  • From Nov. 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021, earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible supermarket (grocery store) purchases, up to $1,000 in purchases per month. This temporary rewards category is available in modified form for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders as well: 2 points per $1 spent on eligible supermarket purchases, up to $1,000 in purchases per month, during the same timeframe.

These temporary opportunities complement a raft of permanent Chase Sapphire Reserve perks and benefits rolled out in early 2020, including:

  • A complimentary subscription to DoorDash DashPass through at least 2021, depending on when your account is opened, with benefits like free delivery on eligible DoorDash takeout (delivery) orders
  • $60 in statement credits against eligible DoorDash purchases in 2021
  • Up to $120 back in statement credits on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through Dec. 31, 2021

Pay Yourself Back on Other Chase Credit Cards

For a limited time, several other Chase credit cards have added Pay Yourself Back, albeit at a slightly less generous redemption rate than Sapphire Reserve.

The following Chase consumer and business cards allow statement credit redemptions made against purchases at restaurants, supermarkets, and home improvement stores:

  • Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card, through April 30, 2021 (for a limited time, Sapphire Preferred also offers a $50 statement credit against eligible grocery store purchases). Sapphire Preferred also offers a limited-time deal for Peloton members: up to $60 off select Peloton memberships through December 2021, including full access to Peloton’s digital workout library with no fitness equipment required.
  • Chase Freedom® Credit Card, indefinitely (closed to new sign-ups)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card, indefinitely
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, indefinitely

Freedom Flex is also noted for its quarterly rotating 5% cash-back categories. Refer to our up-to-date Freedom 5% category list for more information.


Citi

These Citibank credit cards added limited-time new perks and benefits as well:

Citi Prestige Card

You can apply the Citi Prestige card’s 2020 travel credit — worth $250 — to restaurant and grocery store purchases in addition to airfare, hotel bookings, car rentals, and other types of eligible travel.

This offer is available only to current Citi Prestige cardholders and expired on Dec. 31, 2020, though Citi may choose to reinstate it at its discretion.

See our Citi Prestige card review for more details about this card’s rewards program and benefits.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Current Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard cardholders earn a $225 statement credit upon account renewal. This perk is only available to accounts open as of March 31, 2020.

See our Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard review for more details on this card.


Final Word

As we all adjust to the new normal of the COVID-19 era, it’s fair to expect credit card issuers (and cardmembers) to do the same.

That could mean more temporary or permanent changes to existing cards’ rewards programs and benefits packages, such as new rewards categories, sign-up bonus opportunities, and fringe benefits.

Perhaps more exciting, it could also lead to entirely new cards that reflect long-term changes in consumer behavior and spending. The airline and hotel credit card spaces have been especially volatile during the pandemic, so perhaps new offerings from top brands like Hyatt, Hilton, and Marriott are on the way.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Checking Out Wifi for Apartment . . . Before You Lease!

You’ve looked at the pool and checked out the square footage on an apartment you love – job done, right? Wrong. If you love downloading, streaming or surfing the Internet, then having access to Wi-Fi is essential. Unfortunately, everything from location to building materials can make using Wi-Fi difficult. So how can you ensure that the Wi-Fi for your new apartment is going to be top-notch?

Ask About Service Providers

Depending on your location or who your community allows, you might be limited on your choices for providers. For example, if Wi-Fi or Internet is included with your rent, your building will generally have a contract in place with a company that you will have to use. Additionally, not all cable and Internet providers are available in all areas. Find out if your apartment community has any restrictions, or if they have a list of suggested providers.

Related: Using smart home technology in your apartment

Double Check the Information

It’s crucial to do a little research on your own. After all, information can sometimes be outdated or there may be new providers in the area. One of the best ways to discover what’s available to you is to simply plug in your potential new zip code into Internet Providers by ZIP. From there, you’ll be able to see a full list of providers, contact information and even speeds and data plans offered.

Related: How Much do Utilities Cost in a Studio Apartment?

Don’t Forget to Test

It’s likely that you’ll have your smart phone or tablet with you when you’re apartment hunting. Take advantage of the opportunity to walk through the apartment building AND complex and see how your cell service data plan picks up, or if there are any black spots in your apartment or community.

Be sure to walk to any other areas where you’re sure to want to use your devices, such as the common areas, pool, gym and even the parking spaces. See how reception is there. Additionally, try using a service like Measurement Lab to get a feel for how Internet and Wi-Fi providers in the area are performing.

If you’re looking at an apartment in an historic structure, be sure you test from the inside. Plaster walls can kill a cell signal. Some rooms may have a stronger signal than others. This is crucial if you plan to work from home.

Related: Tips to Troubleshoot Slow Internet Speed and Use Wi-Fi to Overcome Bad Cell Service in You Apartment

Talk to the Neighbors

Ask people you see who their provider is, and how their service is. If it’s bad, try to get more details. Is it just bad in their particular building? Where is their building? A lower elevation can make a big difference. If the building you’re considering is in a higher or lower spot than theirs, that can matter. If they’re in the building you want, don’t go into denial if they say their service is bad or spotty: ask to see other buildings.

When it comes to having apartment Internet service, it’s best to research before you sign your name on the dotted line. Wi-Fi black spots in your apartment can become increasingly annoying over time.

Related: America’s most tech-hungry cities

Are you an Internet junkie? Have you tested services before you moved in to your apartment? Tell us your stories on social!

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Source: apartmentguide.com