Get an Apple TV for $85 shipped

This is the current-generation model, the one released just a couple months ago. It's refurbished, but so what?

Apple

For anyone interested in accessing awesome services like Netflix and Pandora on their TV, the choice usually boils down to a Roku box or an Apple TV.

If you're voting solely with your wallet, the choice might seem pretty easy: the Roku LT sells for $50, the Apple TV for $100. Ah, but if you really want to compare (sorry) apples to Apples, you need to look at the $80 Roku 2 XD, which matches the Apple TV's 1080p output capabilities.

And guess what: Apple just started selling the refurbished current-generation Apple TV for $85 shipped (plus sales tax in some states). Now it's a horse race. (That's an expression, isn't it?)

I'm not going to spend time detailing the pros and cons of the two devices; CNET already did that in its Apple-TV-vs.-Roku comparison . Bottom line: they're both awesome.

So, how to decide? If you're already vested in iTunes and/or an iDevice, I think an Apple TV makes the most sense. It's great not only for streaming movies, music, and stuff, but also for showing off your iDevice-captured photos and videos on your TV. That feature alone was enough to get me to pull the trigger.

Is it worth choosing a refurbished unit just to save $15? Absolutely. As I've noted before, when shopping for Apple products, you should always choose refurbished . You'll get a like-new unit with a same-as-new one-year warranty. No-brainer.

Of course, make sure to check out CNET's review of the Apple TV so you have the full scoop. And keep in mind that whether you pick that or a Roku, you'll need an HDMI cable. See yesterday's post for help with that.

So I'm just wondering: if Apple ever does release an actual TV, something that's been rumored for a while , what will they call it? Oh, I know! Apple T...oh, wait.

Bonus deal: Speaking of Roku, I just noticed that the aforementioned Roku 2 XD is on sale for $69.99 shipped. Two big reasons I love mine: Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go. I wouldn't expect to see those channels on an Apple TV anytime soon.

Cheapin' it real.

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