When picking out a new TV for a college dorm room, space is more important than budget considerations. Today's flat-screen TVs have advantages on both counts. Even a 40-inch LED TV, which is huge by dorm room standards, is only about 2 inches deep—with the stand, it's about 10 inches deep. Smaller models take up even less space and a 19-inch or 22-inch LED HDTV is affordable even by first-year students' standards.
It may be tempting to pick up the old family TV out of the basement while you're packing up for college and take it with you. However, if it's not a small flat-screen TV, you are probably better off leaving it behind until you have a chance to look at your new living quarters. Dorm rooms are incredibly small, designed for a bed, a desk and little else. A 32-inch TV that is 2 feet deep will take up a major percentage of your available space.
Small LED TVs
Flat-screen LED TVs are thin, light and take up little room. A small 19-inch or 22-inch TV can fit on most desks or a dresser without taking up much real estate. The smaller screens also have the advantage of being affordable. When looking at any HDTV with a screen smaller than 40 inches, you won't notice much difference between 720p or 1080p resolution, even when playing video games. More important are the contrast ratios and refresh rates when looking at HD video on screens this size.
If you are sharing the TV with a roommate or just want a more immersive TV viewing experience, consider a 32-inch or 40-inch screen. Anything larger than that is wasted in the small space provided by a dorm room unless you are able to sit 8 to 10 feet away. Few dorms allow students to mount TVs on the wall, so the TV has to sit on a desk or dresser in your room.
What to Watch
Depending on the dorm, cable television may or may not be accessible. Many dorms have strict policies prohibiting antennas or satellite dishes on buildings. If the dorm has Wi-Fi, you may be able to access it if you have a smart TV, but this is subject to the school's policies. If you have a good Blu-ray or DVD collection, it may be worthwhile to pick up a small DVD or Blu-ray player.
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