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Buying an Apple TV or Roku? Add Blu-ray playback for just $40

With holiday discounts pushing the prices of Blu-ray players down, they're often a better deal than streaming-video boxes like the Apple TV and Roku XDS that have fewer features.

Streaming-video boxes have been getting tons of press this holiday season, but it's easy to forget that Blu-ray players with streaming-video capabilities are only slightly more expensive, especially with holiday discounts. For example, Amazon is selling the LG BD570 for just $140 right now (and it was as low as $117 earlier this week), a player that includes Netflix, Pandora, and Vudu, plus it has built-in Wi-Fi.

And if you don't need Wi-Fi, there's even less reason to opt for a streaming-video box over a Blu-ray player. In fact, if you're only looking to add basic streaming services, LG's Ethernet-only BD550 is available for just $93 at Amazon right now--less than the cost of an Apple TV. (However, the BD550 lacks support for streaming media from a connected PC.)

Of course, there are things that an Apple TV or Roku XDS can do that the LG BD550 can't, and for many people they'll still be the best options. But if you're interested in Blu-ray/DVD playback at all, it's worth seriously considering a holiday-discounted streaming Blu-ray player instead of a streaming-media box.

Related resources:
Holiday gift guide: Home theater
Best Blu-ray players