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Christmas Gift Guide
Gadgets

Get a Samsung Blu-ray player with Netflix for $49.99

HDMI cable: included! But there are a couple caveats, most notably the 90-day warranty. Still, this price is hard to beat.

Blu-ray player photos are always incredibly boring, aren't they?
Blu-ray player photos are always incredibly boring, aren't they? Samsung

With Blockbuster hanging by a thread and Netflix clearly positioning itself to exit the movies-by-mail business at some point down the road, buying a Blu-ray player might not seem like the smartest move.

Unless, of course, that player is a mere 50 bucks. While supplies last (and they never seem to last long these days), Best Buy has the refurbished Samsung BD-C5500C Blu-ray player for $49.99 shipped (plus sales tax in most states).

Update: Sold out! If you're still keen on this model, Tech for Less has it for about the same price: $43.97, plus $7.70 for shipping.

Amazingly, Samsung supplies an HDMI cable. That's something you almost never see.

Like most modern Blu-ray spinners, the BD-C5500C supports Internet connectivity via Ethernet. If you want Wi-Fi, you'll need the Samsung WIS09ABGN LinkStick adapter, which I've seen selling on eBay for under $40. My advice: stick with Ethernet if you can.

Why does Internet even matter? For all the streaming, of course. The BD-C5500C not only plays DVDs and Blu-rays, but also streams video and audio from services like Netflix, Pandora, Blockbuster, and YouTube. All this comes courtesy of Samsung's slick Smart Hub, which has a Roku-like look to it.

Unfortunately, it's missing one key ingredient: Amazon Instant Video, which is arguably the best option for on-demand movies and TV shows not offered by Netflix. If you can live without that, cool, you're golden. If not, well, sit tight--I guarantee there will be other Blu-ray deals in the coming week. (On the fence? Read CNET's complete review of the BD-C5500C.)

One other caveat: like most refurbs, this one comes with a 90-day warranty. To my thinking, that means whatever problem there might have been has been fixed, but you never know.

What do you think about Blu-ray's present and future? Is your $50 better spent on something like the new Roku LT? That is one sweet little box, I must say.

Bonus deal: Game time! Amazon has the downloadable version of Just Cause 2 (PC) for $5. It's a big, splashy first-person shooter in the style of Far Cry. Having just finished Portal 2 and not fired a single weapon, I'm ready for some running and gunning!(Note: This price is for a limited time--and I'm not sure exactly how limited. Grab it quick!)