Leaving home and moving into your dorm can be exciting – for about two days.
Then you’re ready for some TV viewing. With a room so small, how do you boost your TV to create the ultimate cinematic experience? Let’s take a quick look at seven ways to enjoy your favorite TV shows in a dorm.
1. Install a VPN and Safely Watch Blocked Movies
With all the connected gadgets at your disposal, your room could become a digital feeding ground for hackers. If you want to stream your favorite TV shows in your dorm, then install a virtual private network to your computer, phone, or tablet. You can also install them on other devices.
A virtual private network (VPN) protects your devices in three different ways:
- It masks your IP address so that other people cannot identify your location.
- It shields all information and data in your incoming or outgoing messages.
- It encrypts all data so that no one else can read it.
Furthermore, you can access TV shows and streaming services that your school administrator might otherwise block access to. The same goes for websites and other places online. A VPN keeps you anonymous from the university, internet service providers (ISPs), government agencies, and hackers. A VPN allows you to access Netflix anywhere. Some of the top VPNs out right now are Surfshark, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN.
2. Get an All-Inclusive with a Roku TV
For as low as $200 (or less), you can get nearly all of your favorite streaming services built into your TV – your Roku TV, that is. Except for Apple, Roku gives you a near-complete streaming experience, including Netflix, Showtime, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, HBO Now, Sling, Disney, ESPN, and Vimeo. Keep in mind that you still have to pay for most of these streaming services.
However, what you don’t have to pay for is an additional Roku box. The average cost of a Roku TV 32” is less than $200. 40” TVs will run right at $200. If you want to spend a little more, the 50” TVs cost around $250. Most TVs are easy to set up and come with mounting equipment for easy installation on the wall.
3. Next-Gen Streaming Services: Here They Come
Apple just released its streaming service, Apple TV+, this week. Initial reviews cite limited library, but incredible viewing quality and easy user interface. At only $4.99/month, it’s perfect your college budget and has plenty to offer off the diving board. Plus, Apple will fulfill its promise of adding to the library as you go.
Apple TV+ is just the beginning. Streaming enthusiasts can expect a new wave of streaming services in 2019 and 2020 from several companies including:
- Peacock (NBC)
- HBO Max
- Discovery/BBC Collaboration
Right now, the buzz is Disney’s new streaming service set to release on November 12th. Viewers can choose between the $7.00 subscription or bundle with ESPN for $12 (think about college sports). Most streaming services will be available on both Apple TV and Roku. Make sure your TV or device is compatible.
4. All Those Boxes and Sticks: Which is Best?
Apple has one. So does Roku, Google, and Amazon. We are talking about a box, stick, or, in Google’s case, that weird looking round thing. Of all the streaming devices out there, which one is best for you? It depends. Let’s take a quick look:
Apple TV (Avg. $149 – $150)
This is the ultimate device for Apple geeks, and those who don’t mind buying or renting their movies and TV shows a la carte. Apple TV+ will sweeten the deal. Top streaming services include CBS, Cinemax, HBO, Showtime, Starz.
Roku (Avg. $29-$99)
The best thing about Roku is that you can add and delete streaming services according to your preferences. Viewers can pick from dozens of streaming channels including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling, YouTube, Spectrum, AT&T, Vudu, and a lot more.
Amazon Fire Stick (Avg. $40)
The Amazon Fire Stick (or Fire TV) offers many of the same streaming services like Roku and Apple TV, including Amazon Prime. If you’re a gamer, then the stick provides a ton of memory that allows you to store your games, movies, and TV shows on.
Google Chromecast (Avg. $35)
You will quickly notice that Chromecast offers many of the same streaming channels as its competitors. So how does it differ? You can mirror the screen from your computer, smartphone, or tablet onto your TV. As a result, you can use it as an additional computer screen.
5. Projector: Watch Your Movies on the Wall
Quality dorm room-sized projectors – at least the ones you want to use for HD viewing – are a bit pricey. However, if you can afford one, then they are great for cramming your friends into your dorm room and watching a movie on the wall.
When choosing a projector, go with a home theater projector and not a business projector. Theater projectors have excellent image quality for large-screen viewing. They also come with a quieter fan and HDMI ports to hook up to your TV. A typical projector can produce images up to 36 times larger than a 50” HDTV. Your dorm guests will have an incredible viewing experience.
Something to keep in mind: Home theaters are specifically designed for environments where you can control the level and type of light. In other words, turn down the lights to make the most of what the projector offers.
6. Add Some Speakers to the TV
If you are not satisfied with the sound coming out of the TV, then you can accent your sound with some exterior speakers. Prices range from $50 to $5,000. There are lots of speakers to choose from, so you need to decide what type of experience you want to create before you purchase a speaker.
For instance, if you want to project the sound in front of you, then you may want to opt for a soundbar. A soundbar can give your TV a fuller sound, and boost the volume. You can get decent soundbars for $100 to $200.
If you want a real cinematic experience in your dorm room, then consider purchasing wireless surround speakers. Start with the subwoofer to fill out your bass or low-end, and then fill in the higher ranges with smaller speakers. Wireless speakers allow you to place your sound wherever you want it and create a powerful surround sound environment in your dorm room.
7. For Instant Viewing, Just Add Cable
Every student on campus with a laptop should own an HDMI cable. A cable can give you instant viewing no matter where you are. Simply pull the cable out of your backpack, hook the USB side to your computer and the HDMI side to your TV. A few quick configurations should mirror the computer screen onto the TV screen.
From there, you open your computer’s app or browse online to fetch your favorite TV show or movie. You can also play games straight from your computer. Although all HDMI cables are mostly the same in quality, gold-plated connectors with bare copper conductors and foil-and-braid shielding offer premium connectivity.
Although all these devices can put a strain on your budget, they can also enhance your weekend viewing experience and create memories with your friends and dormmates. Remember that an essential item when using your TV is making sure you connect your devices to the Internet safely. So, you may want to consider your first purchase to be a dependable VPN service. That way you can enjoy your TV shows with peace of mind.