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Ask Engadget: Do I need a TV for my dorm room?

Probably not.
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The support shared among readers in the comments section is one of the things we love most about the Engadget community. Over the years, we've known you to offer sage advice on everything from Chromecasts and cameras to drones and smartphones. In fact, our community's knowledge and insights are a reason why many of you participate in the comments.

We truly value the time and detail you all spend in responding to questions from your fellow tech-obsessed commenters, which is why we've decided to bring back the much-missed "Ask Engadget" column. This week's question asks how necessary it is for students to have televisions in their dorm rooms. Weigh in with your advice in the comments -- and feel free to send your own questions along to ask@engadget.com!

Do I really need a TV in my dorm room? And if I do go buy one, which would be good for a student on a budget?


Devindra Hardawar

Devindra Hardawar
Senior Editor

Ah, dorm life. The parties, the games, the impromptu movie nights. Your question really comes down to how much space you have. As we've reported on Engadget, TVs have gotten much cheaper recently -- you could easily find a decent 50-inch set under $500.

But can your dorm handle something that large? If you don't know what your room is going to look like yet, I'd suggest holding off until you see what you're working with in the fall. And if you're a freshman with a roommate, there's a good chance you won't have space at all.

As with any major tech purchase, I'd also encourage you to think about what you actually plan to do with your new toy. Do you want to gather people around for movies? Maybe you want to play fighting games with friends, or just get engrossed in a game on your own? The whole point of having a TV is being able to share the screen and enjoy things communally. If you're just a solitary gamer, you're better off investing in a decent gaming monitor. You'll get a much better quality screen than most TVs, though you'll end up with a smaller display. That's less of a problem if you're sitting right in front of it, however.

If you absolutely have to get a TV, you could start with something like TCL's $150 Roku TV. It's only 32 inches and supports 720p HD, but that small size and low price makes it ideal for tiny dorm rooms. Stepping up your budget, TCL's $650 55-inch 55R617 is a fantastic 4K set, with all of the modern HDR features you'd want. It's also Wirecutter's recommendation as the best overall TV, which says quite a bit about its quality.

Check out our complete 2018 back-to-school guide and find all of our student-friendly buying advice right here!

All products recommended by Engadget were selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company, Oath. If you buy something through one of our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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