First things first. For those who celebrate it, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. Space doesn't permit me to list all the things I'm thankful for, but you can bet you're looking at one of them right now.
Likewise, for those who shop it, I wish you a fun and money-saving Black Friday. Speaking of which, make sure to check in here Friday morning for the Cheapskate Fifth Anniversary Giveaway Spectacular finale. I've got five killer prizes lined up, so this is one contest you won't want to miss.
Speaking of Black Friday again, I'm sure some of you will be on the hunt for a great TV deal. Why wait? For a limited time, Target has the Westinghouse CW50T9XW 50-inch LCD HDTV for $349, plus sales tax. Shipping adds an unfortunate $49.99, but you can avoid that by driving to your local Target store. (Click the "Find in store" button on the product page to make sure it's still in stock.)
Update: Well, there's some weirdness at work here. The landing page now shows $349 for a brief moment, then jumps to $599. I suspect that this was a Black Friday deal that Target accidentally posted early. Consequently, it may well be available tomorrow or Friday. Sorry for the confusion. Was anyone able to successfully order/buy one for $349?
Don't have a Target nearby? If you don't mind dealing with rebates, there's another option that's nearly as good: TigerDirect has the Seiki SC501TS 50-inch LCD HDTV for $369.99 shipped -- but that's after redeeming an $80 mail-in rebate (PDF).
Both models are, as you might expect, fairly no-frills. They offer a 60Hz refresh rate, which I actually consider a plus. The higher-end 120Hz and 240Hz TVs I've reviewed recently all suffer from that dreaded "soap-opera effect" unless you turn off their fancy motion-processing filters. (Check out Geoffrey Morrison's post titled "What is refresh rate?" for more information.)
Also, they have just three HDMI inputs -- probably enough for most folks, but this gadget freak prefers at least four.
I don't have any first-hand experience with Seiki, but I do have a Westinghouse HDTV that's going on five years and still running like a champ. Your mileage may vary, of course. (Also, I've heard less-than-flattering things about Westinghouse customer service.)
There's an argument to be made that it's worth spending more for a TV with some bells and whistles (like, say, Wi-Fi and built-in apps), but one of these models might be just the ticket for, say, the kids' playroom/game room/dorm room. The real plus: no standing in long lines on Friday (or, horrors, Thursday night).
Bonus deal: One of my all-time favorite gift items is on sale for an all-time low price: J&R has "Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series" on Blu-ray for $15.99 shipped (when you sign up for J&R Rewards, which is free). My jaw drops every time I watch this incredible documentary.
Bonus deal No. 2: Speaking of gift shipping, Barnes & Noble is offering 30 percent off any item when you use coupon code T9P3E3W at checkout. Prefer to do your shopping in stores? Here's a printable coupon good for the same 30 percent discount.
Bonus deal No. 3: If you're not in a big rush, 1SaleADay has one of the best Roku deals I've ever seen: the refurbished Roku 2 XS for $59.99, plus $4.99 for shipping. (As always, that's today only, and while supplies last.) This is the top-end Roku box, with a motion-sensing remote, 6-foot HDMI cable, and Angry Birds. The only caveat: Based on past experience, shipping could take two to three weeks.
Deals found on The Cheapskate are subject to availability, expiration, and other terms determined by sellers.
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