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Five-deal Friday: Dirt-cheap earphones, Blu-ray, projector, and more!

Plus: Join the Cheapskate's second DietBet, your chance to lose weight and make a few bucks in the process.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read
The Optoma GT200 portable LED projector is a steal at $159.99.
The Optoma GT200 portable LED projector is a steal at $159.99. Woot

After a week pockmarked with unfortunately timed sellouts, I want to send you into your weekend with enough deals to make your wallet beg for mercy.

1. The cheapest Blu-ray player ever.
We've been rewatching "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy around these parts, and I just upgraded from the DVDs I'd purchased years ago to the Blu-ray editions. No. Contest. If you want the best picture and sound, by a mile, there's still nothing better.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, Newegg has the refurbished Magnavox MBP5320 Blu-ray player with Wi-Fi for $19.99 shipped. That's after redeeming a $20 mail-in rebate (which comes in the form of a prepaid debit card). Reviews are mixed, to be sure, and although this has a 90-day warranty, it cannot be returned for a refund. But, oh, that price!

The player has built-in Wi-Fi and can stream Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube.

2. Dirt-cheap earbuds in your choice of colors.

Six bucks and change for surprisingly decent sound -- in your choice of colors.
Six bucks and change for surprisingly decent sound -- in your choice of colors. Amazon

If you're looking for an earphone upgrade, or maybe just a spare set or two, Amazon has the Panasonic ErgoFit RPHJE120 in-ear headphones for around $6.30, with free shipping for Prime subscribers or if you pad your cart to at least $25.

I say "around" because the prices vary slightly depending on which color you choose: black, blue, green, red, pink, etc. (The pink ones are actually just $4.74.)

How good could such cheap 'buds really be? Check the user reviews: They average 4.4 stars from over 5,000 buyers. And CNET rated the ErgoFits four stars, noting that they "actually sound decent." For six bucks and change, how can you go wrong?

3. Turn any room in a home theater.

Here's a product I totally dig: the Optoma GT200 LED projector, which Woot has for $159.99 (plus $5 for shipping). It's built for projecting video from iPhones and iPods -- just dock one and tap Play -- but also has HDMI and VGA inputs for connecting nearly any other source. And it has built-in speakers, so it's perfect for bedrooms and other smallish spaces.

CNET hasn't reviewed the GT200, but some 40 Amazon customers rated it four stars -- and that was after paying at least $250. I reviewed its less-bright predecessor and really liked it. This model is even better.

4. Small touch-screen laptop, even smaller price.
If you want to "enjoy" Windows 8 the way Microsoft intended, you need a touch screen -- but that usually means big (or at least bigger) bucks.

Today only, and while supplies last, 1SaleADay has the refurbished Asus VivoBook 11.6-inch laptop for $319.99 shipped. That's among the lowest prices I've even seen for a system like this.

The VivoBook has an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and an 11.6-inch multitouch screen. And it weighs a mere 3.1 pounds, which borders on Ultrabook-class portability. Just be prepared for a long wait: 1SaleADay notes that it could take 10-14 business days for the machine to ship (not arrive).

5. Let's lose weight together -- and make money.

This isn't so much a deal as it a chance to make a few bucks while dropping a few pounds. Remember DietBet? It's the site where you join friends and strangers in a simple wager to see who can lose four percent of their body weight in 28 days.

I did this a few months back and really enjoyed it. The winnings were insignificant -- lots of my "competitors" also won, so we all split the pot -- but the bet motivated me enough to lose the required weight. This time around, I'm just looking to hit a personal goal. Join me!

The buy-in is $35, and the bet kicks off Monday, July 1 -- meaning you've got a day or two to indulge yourself before the official weigh-in. Cupcakes all around!

Bonus deal: Yes, even after five sweet deals, a bonus. Can you feel the love? Anyway, my favorite freebies are the ones you make yourself. In case you missed it yesterday, check out my six free DIY smartphone stands, which tap your inner MacGyver in service of propping up your screen for handy hands-free viewing.

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