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Get an HDMI cable for $3 (or less)

Don't learn the hard way that you paid 10 times too much for the cable you needed for that new gadget.

Don't spend $25 on a cable like this when you can get exactly the same thing for one-tenth the price.
Don't spend $25 on a cable like this when you can get exactly the same thing for one-tenth the price. Amazon

Buying an Apple TV or Roku box? A Blu-ray player? A $99 Xbox 360? These and other TV-centric devices have one thing in common: they don't come with the HDMI cables necessary for the optimal connection to your TV.

Shoppers often make the mistake of assuming that whatever the local electronics store charges for an HDMI cable is just the price you have to pay. But although retail prices have come down in recent years, they're still way higher than what you can find online.

For example, Best Buy charges $24.99 for a Dynex 6-foot HDMI cable. But shop around online and you can find the equivalent for one-tenth the cost. Literally.

In fact, check this out: Amazon carries the DVI Gear 6-foot HDMI cable for $1.87 shipped. (Note: As of this writing, the cable is in stock and sold by Importer520. If they run out, you may see a different vendor -- and a slightly different price -- for the same cable. This isn't a bait-and-switch; it's just how Amazon handles third-party inventory of certain products.)

At that price, I'd grab a few -- one for whatever new gadget you're buying (or gifting) now, and a couple for the gadgets you'll inevitably get down the road.

By the way, this is just one cheap-HDMI-cable deal of many. Search Ebay for "6 foot HDMI cable" and you'll find an almost endless number of them for less than $3 shipped.

Meanwhile, Meritline routinely offers similar deals, like this 6-foot HDMI cable for $2.99 shipped. (I know many readers have mad love for Monoprice, but I couldn't find anything there for less than $4 shipped. Which, of course, is still a fantastic price relative to what you'll pay in stores.)

Ah, but are these cheapies any good? Surely there must be some difference between a $2 cable and a $20 cable? Allow me to share my personal experience: in recent years I've purchased at least a dozen dirt-cheap, no-brand HDMI cables, and every single one has worked flawlessly.

And you don't have to take my word for it. Last year CNET reported on this very subject, calling expensive HDMI cables "a rip-off" and explaining why all HDMI cables are the same.

Needless to say, if you have any related thoughts or experiences to share, hit the comments and share them!

Bonus deal: Yowza. Even better than yesterday's tablet deal, 1SaleADay has the refurbished Toshiba Thrive 10.1-inch Android tablet for $229.99 shipped. Specs include a dual-core processor, 16GB of storage (yesterday's tab had just 8GB), dual cameras, and Android 3.2. That's pretty amazing.

By the way, thanks to everyone who sent suggestions for a Cheapskate sign-off! My favorite was submitted by reader Marc; let's give it a whirl:

Cheapin' it real.

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