questionsgot some video advice for the (frugal) video…

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If you shop around you should be able to find a bluray player that can stream netflix for around the same price as a roku. I got my streaming bluray from woot for $70 about 2 years ago, so I'd think you should be able to find something for under $50 nowadays.

vote-for4vote-against

Depending what connections are available on the TV and laptop you can get a cheap cable and hook the laptop to the TV. Something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rocketfish-6-SVGA-to-3-5mm-Digital-Stereo-VGA-Cable-High-Performance-RF-PCC121-/330751335702?forcev4exp=true&forceRpt=true
It goes from the VGA port on the laptop to the VGA port on the HDTV the smaller cord goes from the laptop earphone jack to the audio in on the TV, or to a stereo if you prefer that option. If the laptop plays DVD's then you stream, watch DVD's, and surf the internet from the TV. I have this set up along with a wireless mouse and keyboard.

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I would suggest a wifi blu ray player or a PS3. You can probably find a refurb blu ray player with wifi built in for around or less than $100. PS3 you can find an older model used for probably around a couple hundred. Possibly cheaper if you use Craigslist or eBay

Make sure it has wifi built in, not wifi ready or capable or whatever. If not, you'll need to buy a wifi adapter as well, to give the machine internet.

A PS3 would definitely be a strong bet because it has every streaming service as well as blu ray and dvd capabilities. Also has internet and notifies you when it needs an update, which is nice. I've yet to see a blu ray that actually can't play because of old firmware, but I've always used my PS3. Still, it's nice to not have to worry about it.

EDIT: even if you're not a gamer, the option's always nice. If you can get everything you need and then some, why not?

vote-for2vote-against

Roku is the way to go. It has a great easy to use interface for Netflix. It runs $50 direct from roku.com and they'll throw in an HDMI cable for $10 more. The roku is wireless AND most have ethernet.

Blu-Ray players are nice. Wait until near Black Friday, and you can likely get a Netflix-enabled blu-ray player for around $65. However, it probably won't be wireless. Those start closer to $100 on a good sale. But you'd also be able to play blu-ray and dvd.

A refurbished Blu-ray player will meet the cost of the Roku, but I really like the way Netflix runs on the roku. And the fact you never have to power off the Roku. It automatically goes into power saving mode. If you left a show paused, then it will even resume when you wake it up and hit play. It uses maybe 2 watts in standby, so there's really no reason to use the power button.

Note: I personally have both - the Roku is just too nice.

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PS3 off craigslist. It seems silly, but it's recommended. DVD/Blu-ray/streaming/internet content/games all in one box. Loaded with built in both wired/wireless network card, HD content ready, and more.

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Apparently someone's going around and downvoting everyone.

Anyway, I have found a good deal on a wifi enabled blu-ray player with Netflix and Youtube for only $89:
http://bfads.net/Ad/Kmart-Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving day, unfortunately, but you can go as early as 6am.

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Your most cost-effective option will be a blu-ray player with streaming capabilities. Should be able to find one for around $60-$90. That will play DVDs, blu-ray discs, and stream your Netflix and many other online services (Hulu, Youtube, etc).

Note, not EVERY blu-ray player will stream Netflix, but most do. Make sure you check the specs (or look for the logo on the box) to be sure you buy one that does.

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I agree with the "cable for the laptop" option. No point in going nuts with options.

j5 j5
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If you're still looking, here's your chance at a $50 bluray player with built-in wifi and netflix streaming.