Not happy with the way your HDTV sounds? Don't want to spend a small fortune on speakers? For just 50 bucks, this is an awesome solution.
Note: This is an update of a deal I wrote about a few months back.
If you own an HDTV, I'll wager you've discovered an almost universal truth: built-in speakers blow. Unfortunately, with rare exception, you can't just plug in a set of external speakers; usually you need a receiver to act as the go-between, and that gets expensive.
Note that I said "usually." Another option is a sound bar, a speaker/receiver combo that sits above or below the screen and does the work of two or more standalone speakers. Of course, these can be pricey, too.
Not today: TigerDirect has the refurbished Vizio VSB200 HD Sound Bar for $49.99, plus around $10 for shipping. That's after applying coupon code CFX36685 at checkout. New, these sell for closer to $100. And the last time I wrote about it, it was $70.
The VSB200 consists of four midrange speakers and two tweeters, which kick out a maximum of 60 watts' worth of audio. And thanks to built-in SRS TruSurround technology, you can opt for a virtual surround-sound experience.
Make no mistake: this isn't intended to rival a full-on surround system--but you can bet it's a vast improvement over your TV's built-in speakers.
That's my takeaway from reading a ton of user reviews, which average out to around 4 stars out of 5 on TigerDirect and Amazon. That said, I don't have any hands-on experience with the VSB200, so my stamp of approval is based solely on the price.
I do have some hands-on experience with another external-speaker solution: the Zvox 550, which is currently on sale for $299.99. Even then, it's not cheap--but it sounds incredible. Just thought I'd throw that out as another option.
Bonus deal: Today only, and while supplies last, CowBoom has the Kodak Zx3 waterproof HD camcorder for $79.99 shipped. (It's listed as model 1442102, but it's definitely the Zx3.) This is new, not refurbished, and a killer deal given that it sells for at least $120 everywhere else. Cheapskate Jr. and his buddies have been using one to make movies all summer, and they're loving it.