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Christmas Gift Guide

Sony PlayStation 3 Slim

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

Haier SBEV40-SLIM

Yamaha YAS-101

Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad

Roku HD

Apple TV

Students are often tight on space, so one box that "does everything" is just what they need. The PS3 Slim handles Blu-ray, high-def gaming, and tons of streaming-media services, including Netflix, MLB.TV, Vudu, and Amazon Instant. Our only advice would be to hide the Skyrim disc as soon as finals get close.
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If you're worried a game console might have a negative effect on your GPA, but you still need a Blu-ray player, the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 is our go-to pick. Its built-in Wi-Fi means you don't have to deal with a long Ethernet cable to access Panasonic's excellent suite of streaming-media services, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, Vudu, Pandora, and MLB.TV. Not to mention it's capable of playing back older disc-based media, including Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs.
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Small accommodations don't mean you have to settle for small sound. Sure, a 5.1 speaker system is probably out of the mix, but a solid sound bar is a great compromise. The Haier SBEV40-SLIM is not only superslim, but it also sounds great and sells for less than $300.
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If you're worried the Haier subwoofer is going to get you on the bad side of the RA, check out the Yamaha YAS-101. Its subwoofer is built into the bottom of the sound bar, giving it an even smaller footprint than most sound bar/subwoofer systems. Sure, it has less powerful bass, but with dorm-living that can be a good thing.
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Listening to music from a laptop or phone is fine for personal listening sessions, but a dedicated speaker like the Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad is a must-have for parties. Don't let the name fool you, the Wireless Boombox doesn't just work with iPads, as its built-in Bluetooth will work with virtually any smartphone or tablet.
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If you're not an Apple fan, the Roku HD is the best value for adding streaming video to a dorm room. It's just $60, but it packs a truly impressive lineup of streaming-video services, like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Pandora, Mog, Rdio, and MLB.TV. Built-in Wi-Fi just sweetens the deal, and it comes with analog video connections, too, if you're using an older hand-me-down TV.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
If you're headed to school with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, the Apple TV is a great companion device. AirPlay is the killer feature, letting you stream music, photos, and videos directly from an iOS devices to the TV. And, of course, you can still rent/purchase content from iTunes or use the handful of supported streaming-media services, including Netflix and MLB.TV.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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