College is an exciting time in your life. High school has come and gone, and now you’re headed to a new place to get a higher education. However, let’s not pretend that you will study the entire time you are in school.
When it’s time to close the books for the day, it’s nice to wind down with a show or movie – or have a few friends over to play games. For that, you’re going to need a new TV.
The size of TV you need for your dorm will depend on a few factors, like the size of your dorm and whether you plan to share your TV with a roommate, or if you live in a quad or off-campus apartment. with a larger shared living space.
We’ll walk you through all the sample setups below, and hopefully you can walk away from here as the proud new owner of a fantastic 4K TV.
Step One: Determine How Far Away You Will Sit From The TV
It’s pretty obvious, but you won’t need one of the best 55-inch TVs if you’re sitting at your desk right next to it – that would be uncomfortable to watch and an unnecessary expense. The first thing to do is therefore to determine how far you are going to be from the television.
If you have a desk that you are going to bring with you or if your college provides one in your dorm (most colleges provide dorms with the bare necessities like a desk, bed, and closet), then you probably won’t have only need something in the 40-inch range or less (check out our picks for the best 43-inch TVs, as well as the smallest smart TVs). If you plan to sit right next to your screen and not on your bed, you might want to consider one of the best gaming monitors instead of a TV, especially if you want the best gaming features like a variable refresh rate, low latency and better color saturation.
If you plan to sit more than 3 feet from the screen, you’ll want something bigger than a 40-inch TV. If, for example, you want a TV in the middle of your dorm room and are planning to buy a small couch to sit on, you might want to look at 50 or even 55 inch TVs. This size would be ideal if you sit around 4 feet from the screen and primarily game on consoles like the Xbox Series X and PS5, or stream movies on Netflix.
If you plan to go off campus for shared housing or have something like a quad with a shared living room, you can upgrade to one of the larger sizes – a 65 inch TV or a 75 inch TV. Keep in mind that you may have to leave the dorms between school years, which means someone will be in charge of the TV during the summer and/or winter months. It also means more difficulty moving the TV, as screens 65 inches and larger can weigh over 100 pounds. Still, if you plan to sit 6 feet away, a 65-inch or 75-inch TV might be right for you.
Step Two: Set a Budget
Now that you’re on your own, it’s important to start thinking about a budget — college expenses add up quickly, and you don’t want to overspend.
The good news is that there are a number of budget TVs out there. One of the cheapest TVs we recommend is the TCL 4 series which starts at under $300. It’s a 4K HDR TV with Roku built in, letting you stream your favorite shows or movies without having to pay for any extra hardware. It’s available in a number of different sizes starting at 43-inches, and it’s one of the best budget TVs if you don’t want to spend a lot. If you have a bigger budget, we also have a selection of the best TVs under $500.
If you have a bit more room in your budget – and your new dorm – then you should consider the TCL 6 Series or Hisense H8G Quantum. These TVs offer better gaming performance and higher brightness for better HDR movies. These come in 50, 55, and 65 inch sizes and would work best for larger living rooms.
Finally, if you’re looking for a solid little screen, check out the Vizio D-series. It comes in even smaller sizes and retains much of what makes more expensive TVs great. That said, it tops out at Full HD, so you’ll miss out on some extra detail.
Remember that thefts and accidents can happen while you’re at school and rather than trying to recoup the cost of a TV from a finicky roommate or insurance companies, it can often be easier to just buy a new screen, especially if it’s a relatively inexpensive screen. TV to start.
Step Three: Find the Right Combination of Features
In addition to sizes, it can be helpful to think of TVs in terms of what they offer – basically ask yourself “what do I want this TV to do?”
Ideally, you’ll want a TV that can do it all: stream shows and movies from all the different streaming platforms, play games at the highest resolution and refresh rate, and be compatible with all speakers or soundbars you already own.
In practice, however, this can be a bit tricky.
While most budget Vizio D-series TVs offer a built-in smart platform, not all platforms are created equal. For example, Roku has some of the most apps and free content of any platform, but its interface doesn’t do a great job of popping up new content to watch. This means that if you’re someone who binges on shows quickly, it can be hard to find something new to watch if you choose Roku over, say, the Sony X80J smart TV that uses Google TV.
Gamers will have an even harder time finding what they are looking for on business models. Playing games at 4K/120fps requires TVs with a 120Hz refresh rate and an HDMI 2.1 port that has enough bandwidth to carry all incoming information. The Vizio OLED does, but at $1,000 for a 55-inch version, you’re paying a bit more.
Finally, make sure the TV you buy supports ARC or eARC. This will allow you to use a remote to control the volume if you ever buy a soundbar. It’s a minor difference in design, but it can make a big difference down the road.
Step Four: Buy the TV that will last you
It can be tempting to buy the cheapest TV you can find when you head off to school. And while that should definitely be your goal if you’re pretty sure something is going to happen to him (*cough* college nights), if you’re a responsible owner, you might want to invest in something you can bring with you. after college. .
A personal note: when I was in college, I had a small 24-inch TV/monitor hybrid. It was capable of 720p – cutting edge functionality and at the time – and was one of the first to use an HDMI connector. It was great the first few years when I lived in a small dorm, but then it got ridiculously small when I moved into an apartment. I continued to use this TV for years after college and although I was happy with its 10 years of service, I wish I had spent a little more to get something a little bigger than I would have appreciated more.
Deciding which TV to buy for your college dorm or apartment will be different for everyone, but I hope you can consider all of the above when making your decision and come away with a TV that’s as smart and as efficient than you.