Does it still make sense to own a Blu-ray player? Depends.
Do you own a 3D-capable TV? Do you not own a Roku box? Do you still like to rent or buy movies that come on shiny silver platters? Then I'd say yes, a Blu-ray player is just the thing.
Like this one: Today only, and while supplies last, Tech.Woot has the refurbished Samsung BD-EM59C Blu-ray player for $49.99, plus $5 for shipping. I've seen Blu-ray players that low before, but not with this feature set.
Specifically, the BD-EM59C does more than spin Blu-ray discs and up-scale DVDs. It also supports 3D Blu-rays, which are actually pretty fun if you have a compatible TV. I do, and we've watched movies like "Life of Pi" and "Madagascar 3" in 3D. Pretty slick! And when "Gravity" makes it way to Blu-ray, you can bet I'll be owning a 3D copy of that. (In the meantime, check out my post on where to find 3D movies to watch at home.)
The player also has built-in Wi-Fi and Samsung's Smart Hub, which allows for Roku-style streaming from a wide range of services: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Spotify, YouTube, and so on. It supports DLNA, too, so you can stream stuff from your PC or phone. This makes it a pretty decent media hub even if you don't spin a lot of discs.
That said, most home-theater enthusiasts will tell you that for the absolute best picture and sound, Blu-ray is the only way to go. So whether you're building a theater from scratch or just looking for a Blu-ray upgrade, it's hard to beat a player that does it all for just $50. And the user reviews on Samsung's product page are solid for this model, which is unusual because a lot of Blu-ray players tend to get trashed.
What are your thoughts on the need for such an item nowadays? I must admit that save for the occasional 3D movie, I don't use mine much.
Bonus deal: A Surface Pro for $900? Uh, no thanks. But a Surface Pro for $500? I'm listening. As CNET's Lance Whitney reported earlier today, Best Buy just slashed a whopping $400 off the price of the original Surface Pro. That means you can get out the door with the 128GB model for $499.99 (plus tax) -- by far the best deal yet on the "old" Pro. I still think Microsoft should immediately start bundling the keyboard that appears in every single Surface ad, rather than charging an extra $80 for it, but that's a gripe for another day. If you want a powerful Windows tablet, this is the deal to beat.
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