A quick note of appreciation before I get started today: My Internet is down this morning (thanks, Comcast), but I'm able to continue working thanks to Tether.com, which lets me share my iPhone's 3G connection with my laptop -- no jailbreaking required. As a backup tool for situations like this and a pinch-hitter when there's no available Wi-Fi hotspot, it's a bargain at $29.95 annually.
Back to business. It's one of the great ironies of high-definition TVs that they look beautiful but sound terrible. Unfortunately, they're necessarily designed with thin, rear- or down-facing speakers, which just aren't going to cut the home-theater mustard.
Even if you're not going for a true theater experience, you need something better. Namely, a sound bar -- a front-facing multi-channel speaker system packed into a single, bar-shaped unit.
If you want one on the cheap, the standard pick is a refurbished Vizio VSB200, which usually sells for around $50-60. Most users like it, but it appears to have some reliability issues.
Today only, and while supplies last, Moofi (a Woot brand) has the AudioSource S325 80-watt sound bar for $59.99, plus $5 for shipping. Surprisingly, it's new, not refurbished.
I'll be the first to note that this rectangular black bar isn't much to look at, so if you're concerned about your decor, there are prettier alternatives.
That said, the S325 delivers 80 watts of audio power (to the aforementioned Vizio's 40) and features two sets of RCA inputs as well as an optical input. It can sit in front of your TV or mount on the wall.
CNET hasn't reviewed it, but over at Amazon (where it sells for $103) it earned 3.9 stars from a handful of customers, and Best Buy customers rated it 4.7 stars. (Note: It sells there for $149.99!)
And perhaps best of all, it comes with a two-year warranty. I'm in for one. Your thoughts?
Bonus deal: A reader recently asked me if it made more sense to buy an app-equipped Blu-ray player than, say, a Roku box. If the price is right and you're mostly looking for Netflix and Hulu (app-wise), then yes! For example, Newegg currently has the refurbished Sony BDP-S390 Blu-ray player for $49.99 shipped (when you apply coupon code EMCXVWS42 at checkout). It's a Wi-Fi-enabled player that can stream from a variety of services.
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