Choosing a TV for Your Dorm Room

The Best Dorm Room TV Specs

Having a TV in your dorm is great for late nights and chilling out. Plus not everybody chooses to have one, so if you do, you’ll automatically be more popular. Cool huh?

If you are dead set on having a TV in your dorm room, think about the specs of the TV you’re going to buy. There’s actually a lot of wiggle room when you buy a TV, so it can be cheap or expensive, 4K or black and white (if you’re feeling particularly hipster-y). Check out our guide of the specs to look out for when you’re buying your dorm room TV.

Too wide is not too good

The first spec you’ll use to choose between TVs is probably how big they are- or, to be more accurate, how wide. You can buy a tiny TV hardly any bigger than an iPad, or you could buy a 50” monster that hangs on the wall. Generally, the idea is that bigger is better: huge TVs obviously look way more impressive, and they make for a great way to watch movies without having to go to the movies.

But like you’ve either been told or had to tell somebody, bigger isn’t always better. For starters, the picture might be bigger, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll actually look any good. Sometimes, the cheaper TV manufacturers make their TVs larger without keeping the quality of the picture in line. So your picture might look blurry or pixelated, or the contrast and color might be way off.

On top of that, you have to think about where you’re actually gonna fit your TV. If you’re actually buying that 50” monster to hang on the wall, will it fit? 50 inches is around five feet, and you’ll struggle to fit that in almost any dorm room. You’re much better off picking a mid-range TV, somewhere around 30” at most.

You don’t need to compromise on quality

If you actually follow our recommendation and buy a mid-range size TV, that also means that you don’t have to compromise on picture quality. That’s generally the way that manufacturers put a price on their TVs: the most expensive have are huge and have great picture quality, mid-range ones are either huge with awful picture quality or good picture quality at a smaller size, and cheap ones… Well, there’s no point buying a bargain priced new TV. More on that later.

Bear in mind that it’s not like you can sit too far away from your TV anyway, because your dorm room is going to be tiny! So you may as well get one with a great picture instead of one that’s oversized. If you think you can afford it, feel free to get a 4K TV, or at least one that’s 1080p.

Think about how far it juts out from the wall

Not all TVs are manufactured equal. Just like some are wider than others, some jut out from the wall further than others. And that’s absolutely something you have to think about when you buy a TV for your dorm room. Old CRT TVs- the ones that had a button to switch them on, and made a clunk noise when you did- used to jut out from the wall something fierce. Modern TVs are better, at least in part because they’re way slimmer.

Some TVs are as slim as the screen on a laptop, but they tend to be more expensive. Even so, you should still make sure you pick a slim one for a few reasons. First, it’s easier to cart up to your room, and it’s easier to move around if you have to. Second, it will take up less space whether it’s wall mounted or sat on a desk or table. Anything that saves a bit of space in a dorm room is alright in our book.

You can always pick second hand

Second hand is a great option. First of all, it means that you can pick one up from nearby, which might not sound important, but carting a big TV around is a hassle. But the main benefit is, of course, the cost. If you go second hand, you can sometimes pick up a great TV at a bargain price, which is important- you’ll be saving every cent you can get your hands on for the next few years, so start now.

Second hand TVs come in all shapes and sizes, so when buying second hand, shop around. That way you can still find one that fits the best TV specs for a dorm room: relatively small and thin, with a good-ish picture.

…But if you do, get a more modern one- and don’t buy off Gumtree (if you can help it)

If you do go second hand, there are two things to bear in mind. The first is that if you pick one that’s too old, it actually won’t have the right sockets on it. So if you buy an old TV, but expect to connect it to an XBOX One or a PS4, you might be disappointed. So always check that you can connect your TV to whatever you want to connect it to before you buy it.

The second thing is that if you’re buying second hand, it’s best to go to a physical shop like Goodwill rather than buying off Gumtree. If you didn’t know, Gumtree is notorious for a) being a great way of fencing stolen goods, TVs included and b) being a great way of getting rid of broken or faulty electronics. The same goes for eBay, to a lesser extent. So be careful when you’re shopping online.

The best way of buying a second hand TV is in a real shop like Goodwill, where you can get a receipt for your purchase. That way, if anything goes wrong with your new (old) TV, you can always return it and get your money back.