SLIDESHOW

Dorm room entertainment system: Full scholarship

Part two of our three-part series looks at entertainment options for your dorm when you've got a little more money to spend. As before, we'll assume you have a laptop already.

Etymotic mc5 custom earphones

The mc5 earphones are high-quality and do a good job of noise isolation out of the box. But Etymotic’s Custom Fit program lets you make them even better. For an extra $100, you’ll get professional impressions taken of your ears, and two to three weeks later you’ll receive custom eartips that are more comfortable and block more noise than the standard tips.

Rdio

There’s a new music subscription service on the block, and its name is Rdio. Previously in private beta, Rdio has flung open its doors and is now open to anyone in the U.S. and Canada. The Web-based service is accessible via your Mac or Windows PC thanks to a cross-platform Adobe AIR application, and there are also apps for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry—all of which allow you to stream music from a library of seven million tracks. The Rdio Web service costs $5 a month for desktop enjoyment. The $10-a-month Radio Unlimited subscription adds smartphone streaming as well the ability to transfer songs for listening on the go.

iPod touch

The iPod touch is a terrific media player and portable computing device that doesn’t require any of the commitments or ongoing costs of the iPhone. The high-end models add blazing speed, making them even better for games. If you’re in the market for a game machine, video player, portable Internet device, and music player all in one—and if you don’t want to pay AT&T every month—you can’t do better than the iPod touch.

Logitech S715i

The $150 Logitech S715i features eight speaker drivers, and sports an eight-hour, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable battery and a wireless remote that controls both the speaker system and your iPod or iPhone. The S715i’s cradle supports recent iPod and iPhone models without requiring dock inserts or adapters, and a 3.5mm auxiliary-input jack lets you use older iPods and other audio sources.

Netflix Watch Instantly

Although not as robust as its DVD-rental selection, Netflix has quite an impressive library of streaming content available via its Watch Instantly feature. Starting at $9 a month, you get unlimited access to streaming TV shows and movies on your computer, iPad, and soon iPod touch as well (and each unlimited viewing plan includes DVDs by mail as well, for the stuff you can’t stream).

Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra

Altec Lansing’s $200 Expressionist Ultra is 200 watts of audio power for your music, movies, and games. The computer speaker system comprises a subwoofer, two satellite speakers, and a desktop controller that you can use to control power, volume, treble, and bass.