A dozen years into a new millennium, technology continues to advance in leaps and bounds, giving us better sound, better video — and better prices. One great thing about consumer electronics is that the more new gadgets and gizmos hit critical mass, the more enticing the deals get. How's that for a clear picture?
This week, we've rounded up five deals that spotlight some of the hottest buys in BluRay and high-tech TV. And there you are, using the high-tech prowess of the Internet to check out all the legwork we've done. Don't you feel like a smart, savvy shopper of the 21st Century?
Panasonic 3D Blu-ray Disc Player with Skype
Price: $79.99 with pickup
Lowest By: $19
Is It Worth It?: We've named this bargain, offered by Fry's Electronics, an Editors' Choice because it brings you the best of two high-tech advances in one package (at the lowest price we've seen): Blu-ray video technology and Skype support for video calls. You can also stream content from BD-Live (Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and other online entertainment apps), which translates to a whole lotta value in a very inexpensive package. The cheapest Blu-ray player we could find that's also Skype-enabled will cost you another $33. Note that you'll have to opt for in-store pickup, as Fry's is currently not shipping this model.
Refurbished Vizio VBR133 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Price: $79.99 with $5.43 s&h
Lowest By: $13 below new unit
Is It Worth It?: Can't get that Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player for pickup? Try this unit from TigerDirect, which is roughly $5 more. While it isn't Skype enabled, it does come with a 90-day Vizio warranty and some nifty extras: It plays DVD discs and streams content from Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Amazon OnDemand, and more.
Refurbished Sony BDP-S270 Blu-ray Player w/ Netflix
Price: $59.99 in-cart with free shipping
Lowest By: $41 below new unit
Is It Worth It?: While refurbished products cause some shoppers hesitation, know that Sony consistently ranks as one of the most reliable brands in consumer electronics. Offered through the Sony Store, this model streams content from Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora and also includes DVD upconversion to 1080p via HDMI. You also get Ethernet and USB connectivity, and a 90-day warranty from Sony. If you have no use for Skype and have a loyalty for the Sony brand, check out this deal, which is two-thirds off list for a new model.
Logitech Revue Google TV Receiver
Price: $89.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $10
Is It Worth It?: If you're wondering what Google TV is all about, then this unit (via TigerDirect on eBay) will offer you the lowest-priced entry point that we've seen on the market. Google TV combines television, the Internet, and apps — as well as a way to search across them all. It also turns your phone into a remote of sorts (though you won't want to lose your phone the way you might those ordinary remotes). The receiver also features a wireless keyboard remote control with trackpad, compatibility with iPhone or Android-enabled smartphones, and support for Netflix, Twitter, Pandora, CNBC, and NBA TV.
Refurbished WD TV Live 1080p HD Media Player
Price: $59.99 via coupon code "MLC09MM12N" with free shipping
Lowest By: $6
Is It Worth It?: You'll get a 180-day warranty on this unit, which allows content streaming from sites such as YouTube, Flickr, Live 365, and Pandora as well as remote access to content via an Ethernet connection. Depending on how much streaming you want to do — and whether your Blu-ray player already does that for you — this could be either a good buy or a purchase that merely duplicates what your home entertainment center already offers. Consider this purchase if you have a stand-alone Blu-ray or DVD player that has no streaming capability.