Every TV should be "smart," able to stream stuff from the likes of Netflix and Pandora and YouTube. Thankfully, it's a simple matter to add this kind of intelligence to just about any TV, without venturing into murky "Flowers for Algernon" territory.
And today, while supplies last, the science is cheap: Groupon has the refurbished Google Chromecast for just $25, shipped. Sure, it sells new for a mere $35 and routinely goes on sale for around $30, but there's something a bit magical about a $25 price tag -- especially for a gizmo as good as this.
In the unlikely event you're unfamiliar with it, here's a primer: Plug the Chromecast into an HDMI port, then use your smartphone or tablet to sling Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, and loads of other stuff -- including Web pages from a laptop.
Now, that smartphone/tablet/laptop requirement (there's no remote included with the device) is something of a downside, at least if you're old-school like me. I must admit to preferring Roku's nice little handheld remote.
Speaking of which, the Chromecast's direct competitor is the Roku Streaming Stick, a nearly identical dongle that also plugs directly into an HDMI port -- no box or HDMI cable required. But it's literally twice the price.
Oh, and don't worry about this being a refurb: It comes with a one-year warranty, same as new Chromecasts. (Little-known fact: All Rokus are backed for just 90 days.)
If you're seriously trying to decide between one and the other, check out CNET's recent Chromecast vs. Streaming Stick Prizefight. (Spoiler: Roku wins by a nose, but both products rank as "awesome.")
My take: For $25 out the door, the Chromecast is a flat-out unbeatable deal. Grab one for yourself, another for your favorite blogger -- maybe even get a little holiday shopping done early.
Bonus deal: So you've been wanting to get in on this fitness-band craze, but not if it's going to cost you $150. Today only, and while supplies last, Yugster has the refurbished Nike+ FuelBand fitness tracker for $54.97, plus $5 for shipping. It had a list price of $149 when it debuted a couple years back. You'll want to check out CNET's review before pulling the trigger -- and maybe wait to hear what your fellow cheeps think of the FuelBand, too. (I haven't tried one myself.)