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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.