Get a Philips Blu-ray home theater system for $198

This 1,000-watt, 5.1-channel home-theater-in-a-box supports Netflix streaming and, believe it or not, FM radio.

Philips packs 1,000 watts of audio dynamite into this surround-sound home-theater system, which also supports Netflix streaming.
Philips packs 1,000 watts of audio dynamite into this surround-sound home-theater system, which also supports Netflix streaming. Philips

Remember when a Blu-ray player all by itself cost $400? Talk about the bad old days. Thankfully, times (and prices) have changed.

Today, for example, Wal-Mart has the Philips HTS3251B/F7 Blu-ray Home Theater System for $198, plus sales tax and around $6 for shipping (or not if you choose site-to-store). That is one mighty fine deal.

Let's start with the Blu-ray player. You'll want to run an Ethernet cord to it so you can take advantage of features like BD-Live 2.0 and Netflix streaming. (The product description suggests that the player also supports Wi-Fi, but it definitely doesn't. It's not even an option.)

The player doubles as the system's AV receiver, which can kick out an impressive 1,000 watts of 5.1-channel audio to the included speakers: four satellites, one center, and one subwoofer. Its home-theater pedigree includes Dolby Digital, Dolby Prologic II, Dolby True HD, and DTS HD sound.

It even comes with an FM tuner and stores up to 40 station presets--nice if you like that old-timey radio thing. That's a feature you rarely see these days.

You can read the full specs on Philips' product page.

Final thoughts? The system has enough audio power to earn it a home in your living room--as long as you have Ethernet connectivity available there. I know audiophiles will poo-poo the idea of a home-theater-in-a-box, but if you want an inexpensive turnkey solution with nice features and lots of oomph, this looks like $198 very well spent.

Bonus deal: Now this is interesting. Over at sellout.woot you can nab a FrameWizard 8-inch Digital Picture Frame for $39.99, plus $5 for shipping. What's so interesting about that? Aside from the tasty price, the frame uses software to animate your photos! Here's a video that shows this "slightly creepy" effect in action.

 

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