Updated: Nov. 26 at 9:30 a.m.
For cord cutters, Black Friday is really the best time of year to buy hardware for yourself.
Whether it’s a new Roku or a larger purchase such as a TV, you can reap savings anywhere from 10 to 50 percent off the normal retail price.
Sure, do that holiday shopping. Get what you need for your family. That curmudgeonly great uncle or second cousin who complains about paying $200 per month for cable needs your help.
Get them a Roku Streaming Stick+ and be done with it.
But really, the pro tip here is to start scouting deals that you want for yourself early. Let’s face it: the amount of fun derived from gifts you get from others declines dramatically as you age (e.g. If you’re over 40, nobody is buying you the new Xbox Series X for Christmas).
So let’s get on with it, and look at some deals that I think are worth considering.
Roku and Amazon Fire TV Sticks
Streaming sticks have become tremendously popular.
For as little as $20, you can turn your TV into a Smart(er) TV thanks to Roku or Amazon. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus is made for 4K TVs, and was $50 when it debuted three years ago.
The subsequent (and cheaper) 4K streaming sticks that Roku has released since then aren’t as good, in my opinion, because they don’t operate on the AC bandwidth for WiFi.
Getting a Roku Streaming Stick Plus for $29 is a steal.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K at $29.99 is also an excellent deal. The Fire Stick 4K is usually $49.99.
It supports more high-end picture formats by supporting HDR10 and Dolby Vision. (Sidenote: This sale price has been available since the beginning of the month. I just bought one and it took three weeks to get to my house.)
Roku Streaming Stick+ is $29 (Amazon)
Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite is $18 (Amazon)
Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote is $20 off – just $29.99
Black Friday knocks $20 off NVIDIA Shield: 4K Streaming and Gaming
The NVIDIA Shield has long been considered a device for geeks because it’s hardware was so ahead of its time when it debuted in 2015.
Not too many people at the time had use for a 4K streamer that could also double as a slimmed down gaming console.
With the rush toward cloud gaming services, and 4K TVs selling for as little as $400, the world has caught up with NVIDIA.
Last year, NVIDIA updated its Shield TV hardware with two devices.
The entry-level 2019 model is usually priced at $149.99, but for Black Friday, you can buy a NVIDIA Shield for $129.99.
It operates on Android TV software, so you don’t have to worry about whether you can watch HBO Max on it (you can). The cloud gaming service GeForce Now lets you stream a number of PC titles that you own through NVIDIA’s own servers.
You can read my review of NVIDIA Shield where I dive into its AI upscaling feature, along with its Ultra HD streaming chops.
Streaming deals… so far
Sign up for Hulu on-demand for a full year, and pay only $1.99 per month. The normal price is $5.99 per month.
You will get 12 months of service before the regular price kicks in. And you have no obligation to keep your subscription after.
Hulu’s on-demand streaming service is the best alternative for getting newer TV shows from ABC, NBC and FOX without the expense of live TV. You also get a robust library of movies and Hulu Originals such as The Handmaid’s Tale.
This offer just went live on midnight on Thanksgiving as part of a Black Friday sale. The deal only lasts until Nov. 30.
Plex Pass: 25 percent off
Antennas users looking for a channel guide and DVR service should consider Plex.
Plex started off as a software hub for people who wanted to watch their movies that they burned onto a hard drive or a computer. But it’s now emerging as a free streaming service that has some subscription-based perks.
If you use a TV antenna and HDHomeRun tuner, a paid subscription to Plex (known as a Plex Pass) is worth getting.
Plex’s Live TV & DVR service gives you a 14-day channel guide and a thumbnail-style guide to find shows, and sporting events to record and watch later.
Plex Pass usually costs $4.99 per month, or $119.99 for a lifetime pass. But for Black Friday, Plex is marking down the Lifetime Plex Pass to $89.99 with code SURVIVETHESEASON. The sale ends November 27 at 11:59 p.m. PST
Plex also has a growing list of free features, including a new on-demand movie section, and 80+ live streaming channels. I recently covered this in this YouTube videos: 12 Free Roku Channels and Hidden Perks for Cord Cutters.