How to create the ultimate student living room
Read our guide to the affordable tech you can invest in to turn your student living room into the finest in your year.
University life can be exhausting. Lectures and nights out, more nights out and the odd lecture. That’s why it’s important to feel you can relaxin your own place now you’ve escaped your parents’ questionable taste in soft furnishings.
So how about investing a little to pimp your living room? You don’t need to go mad choosing top-of-the-range tech either. By picking a few key items you can create somewhere you and your mates enjoy hanging out.
It can also double up as an after-party venue which everyone will want to chill out in – as long as the neighbours don’t mind - making you even more popular.
Make sure your TV is at least full HD
Want to catch Kevin Spacey’s more menacing facial expressions in House of Cards? Or relive the lifelike details of the most shocking wedding in TV history in Game of Thrones? Then you need a high-definition TV in your life.
Full HD TVs, as opposed to HD ready TVs which aren’t as sharp,may not be the cheapest but they give clear, sharp pictures in cinematic widescreen, perfect for bingeing one rainy day on a film series.
Most flatscreen TVs now come with Full HD. And if you’re spending a chunk of your loan on a Full HD TV then you may as well make the most of it by buying one big enough to appreciate the HD quality.
It’s now possible to get a large screen and reliable Full HD TV, which has roughly twice the resolution of standard definition (SD), for less than £300.
What can you expect from a full HD TV?
- Built-in Freeview HD letting you watch around 60 TV channels and 25 radio stations
- Some are smart TVs so they’ll let you get on the web or watch catch-up and on demand on BBC iPlayer and Netflix
- Wall-mountable to give you more floor space
Or even better, pimp up your telly with 4K UHD
There’s no way you could claim to have the ultimate student living room without having a 4K UHD TV. Your mates wouldn’t be having any of it.
Think Full HD is sharp? You ain’t seen nothing. 4K UHD has 4 times the resolution of Full HD – that’s 4 times sharper.
Resolution is key to picture quality – the higher the number, the better the picture. Colours fizz and pop from the screen. The picture depth will suck you right in. Everything looks sharp.
To get the true 4K quality though you need 4K content. This can include streaming services, TV channels and Blu-ray mastered in 4K. But 4K TVs also make regular TV and movies look much sharper too with clever upscaling tech.
Why buy a 4K UHD TV?
- Price. Though still not cheap, prices of 4K UHD TVs have come down massively since they first launched in 2013. You can pick up a model for the same price as some Full HD tellies.
- Content. In the early days of 4K, people said there was no content. That’s no longer true – Netflix and Amazon stream in 4K and BT Sport is launching a 4K channel. Make sure you choose a TV with HEVC if you want to stream Netflix and Amazon.
- Bragging rights. The only new TV that’s going to impress your uni housemates is a 4K UHD TV. Simple.
View the LG 40UB800V Smart 4k Ultra HD 40" LED TV
One screen is never enough
There’s a lot of flitting between 2 screens in lounges all over the land it seems. 50% of Brits spend 2 hours a day second screening, according to a survey we did last year.
To tweet on a screen in comfort while watching your huge HD TV you’ll need a light tablet or laptop which fits snugly on your knee. Or you can do it on your smartphone of course.
For an affordable yet functional second screen that’s big enough not to trip over your thumbs after a few try an iPad mini or a Samsung Galaxy tablet.
Or if by some anomaly you don’t own a smartphone yet, now’s the time to use your loan to upgrade so you can use social channels while you watch TV. You don’t have to splash out loads of cash to get a decent smartphone.
Read our tips on how to do second screening right.
Drown in sound
Choose a sleek soundbar to soup up your stylish living room. There’ll be no more pesky stereo cables to trip you up after a night out drinking doubles down the union bar.
A soundbar works by creating a virtual surround sound system which bounces sound off the walls. It’s rectangular, compact and slim, designed to compensate for the sometimes tinny sound found in flatscreen TVs.
What can you expect from a soundbar?
- Can be wall-mounted making it a discreet option
- Multiple built-in speakers
- Often containsa subwoofer to really max out your sound
- Usually has built-in Bluetooth whichlets you connect to your smartphone or other device to stream music
A soundbar is an excellent and essentialbuilding block to create a top home cinema environment and a cool space to listen to music.
Check out our affordable soundbars.
Invest in a console
No lounge would be complete without a games console. If you’re a keen gamer or even a dabbler it’s worth digging deep into those pockets to pay a bit extra for a PlayStation 4.
Sony’s PS4 is a fantatsic games console. Only 2 years old, this powerful console is improving with each passing year. Which explains why it’s been bought by 23 million gamers around the world already.
Despite its light, sleek and compact design the PS4 packs a powerful punch.
Its power supply is inside rather than outside in a cumbersome power brick which means less clutter behind your telly and a tidier looking living room.
What can you expect from a PS4?
- Mind-blowing graphics
- Super-fast processor
- A share button which lets you upload your triumphs and videos to social channels instantly
- Hooks up easily to your tablet or smartphone for second screen action when you’ve hauled yourself off the sofa and out into the real world
Find out more about the PS4’s features.