Get a Blu-ray home-theater-in-a-box for $219 shipped

Not your typical wussy HTIB, the Panasonic SC-BT230 features 1,000 watts of audio power, an iPod/iPhone dock, and a Blu-ray player that supports Netflix.

The Panasonic SC-BT230 offers a ton of home-theater goodness for a bargain price.
The Panasonic SC-BT230 offers a ton of home-theater goodness for a bargain price. Panasonic

Audiophiles and videophiles alike tend to turn those noses up at home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems, the idea being that the closely integrated components rarely measure up to standalone counterparts. But I think in terms of price and simplicity, they're hard to beat.

In fact, here's one that's really hard to beat: Sixth Avenue Electronics has the Panasonic SC-BT230 Blu-ray Home Theater System for $218.88 shipped. That's after applying coupon code AFL4COUPON at checkout. (FYI, I'm not sure how long that coupon is good.)

I'm no audiophile myself, but I know decent specs when I see them. The SC-BT230 delivers 1,000 total watts of audio power through a 5.1-channel speaker system. It supports all manner of Dolby audio processing (Digital Plus, TrueHD, etc.) and comes with an integrated iPod/iPhone dock.

One especially nice option is the Audio Return Channel, which allows audio signals to flow from the TV to the receiver--meaning if you have, say, an Xbox connected to your TV, you'll be able to hear the audio through the speakers. Not every HTIB supports that.

As for the Blu-ray player, I wouldn't recommend one that didn't support Netflix, and this one does--along with Pandora, Picasa, YouTube, and Twitter. It's all part of Panasonic's VIERA Cast system.

The system comes with an Ethernet interface, but it's also Wi-Fi-ready. Do a little googling before you spring for Panasonic's pricey adapter, however, as I believe there are much cheaper third-party options that will work.

CNET hasn't reviewed this rig, but the user reviews at Amazon are quite positive overall. I owned an older Panasonic HTIB DVD system for many years and found it to be excellent. Thus, I think this is a slam-dunk deal, especially considering the "connected" nature of the Blu-ray player. Could be the ideal addition to a family room, bedroom, den, or dorm room.

Bonus deal: I'm still on vacation, so today I'm leaving the bonus deal to you. Hit the comments and share your best finds with your fellow 'skates!

 

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