Cord-cutter’s guide to Black Friday 2021 deals

Black Friday tends to bring its fair share of dodgy deals on undesirable products, but it’s always a fruitful sales event for cable cutters.

As in previous years, you can purchase a wide range of streaming devices at record prices, and many streaming services now offer discounted subscriptions so you can watch more for less.

Still, some of these deals are better than others, and some should be avoided entirely. Here’s a guide to getting the best cable-cutting devices and services for your money on Black Friday:

Best Black Friday streaming device deals

rokustreamingstick4khero Jared Newman / IDG

If you don’t know which streaming device to buy on Black Friday, here are my top picks:

Roku Streaming Stick 4K, to simplify streaming: Roku’s new 4K Streaming Stick is on sale for $ 29 right now, which is $ 20 off the list price. This is Roku’s cheapest 4K streaming player with Dolby Vision HDR support, and it gets better Wi-Fi reception than the $ 40 Roku Express 4K + (not on sale this Black Friday).

Roku’s interface isn’t the flashiest, but it’s easy to use and offers easy access to free content. It also comes with useful features, like private headphones for listening through the Roku mobile app and a “play” button that rewinds several seconds in the current video. The Streaming Stick 4K is a worthy upgrade if your current Roku is feeling sluggish, lacks volume and power buttons on your remote, or suffers from buffering issues.

Fire TV Stick 4K Max, for Alexa lovers: Amazon’s new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is on sale for $ 35 on Black Friday, reducing $ 20 from the list price. Even if you don’t have a 4K TV, it’s worth the money compared to cheaper Fire TV players for their significantly faster load times.

I’m not crazy about Amazon’s menu system, which frequently feels confusing and overloaded with promotional content. Still, Alexa is a capable assistant on this device, allowing you to launch content, tune in to live TV channels, and search for things to watch in your subscriptions. Get this transmitter if you like to talk to your TV.

Chromecast with Google TV, for a smarter streaming menu: Google is taking $ 10 off Chromecast with Google TV for Black Friday, bringing the price to $ 40. That’s not the best deal, but you can alternatively bundle the device with six months of Netflix for $ 90, effectively bringing the price of the device to $ 6.

Too, Sling TV offers the device for free with one month of service ($ 35 minimum), and new HBO Max subscribers can combine three months of service for $ 65, which effectively brings the price of the device up to $ 20.

I like the new Chromecast because of its content-based home screen, recommending things to watch based on your preferences, and allowing you to track shows via a universal watchlist. If you’re tired of getting in and out of multiple apps all the time, this is the deal to start with.

Apple TV 4K, for the most elegant streaming experience: From November 26 to November 29, Apple offers a $ 50 store gift card when you buy the Apple TV 4K gearbox. And if you buy a $ 100 Apple gift card from Target first, you can use that card to buy your Apple TV and get a $ 15 Target gift card as a bonus.

At $ 179, the Apple TV 4K is considerably more expensive than other options, but it’s by far the fastest streaming box and its ad-free interface is a breath of fresh air. The gift card offer is good if you plan to use the credit on Apple subscription services or other devices or accessories.

Other notable streaming device offerings

ftvstickhero Jared Newman / IDG

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K for $ 25: Regularly $ 50, it’s slower than the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, but maybe the savings of $ 10 It is worth the compensation for secondary televisions. The same goes for the standard Fire TV stick, which is on sale for $ 20 instead of $ 40. Both offers match the previous Black Friday prices.

Amazon Fire TV Cube for $ 80: Coinciding with previous Black Friday prices, this powerful gearbox has built-in hands-free Alexa voice controls. It’s a great choice for Alexa enthusiasts and people with motor disabilities, as the device’s interface can be fully controlled by voice.

Roku Streambar for $ 80: Priced regularly at $ 130 and often on sale for $ 100, this 4K HDR streaming box doubles as a compact soundbar, providing a nice upgrade over your TV’s built-in speakers. Buy it if you want an audio upgrade with minimal hassle.

Walmart Onn UHD Streaming Box for $ 20: This is not a Black Friday deal, but the Onn UHD It’s still a great price on a surprisingly great 4K HDR streamer. Buy it instead of the Chromecast with Google TV if you want a cheaper option and aren’t taking advantage of Google’s streaming service bundles.

Chromecast for $ 20: This is the old Chromecast, which doesn’t come with a remote control, so it’s completely reliant on your phone or tablet apps to control the content. With $ 10 off, it’s a decent companion streaming option, or a way to connect your TV to a whole-home music system with the Google Assistant’s smart speakers.

Chromecast Ultra and Stadia Controller for $ 22: This deal It gives you a Chromecast 4K without a remote, plus a controller for Google’s Stadia game streaming service. It’s a great deal for PC gamers, who can also use the controller for other games via USB.

Streaming service offerings

paramountplus Jared Newman / IDG

Black Friday is not just a time to buy new hardware. Several streaming services also offer deep discounts:

Over-the-air TV deals

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Antennas Direct TV antenna DB8e

An antenna can be a valuable cable-cutting tool if your reception is good enough, and Black Friday brings some decent savings on antennas and wireless DVR products.

ClearStream antenna offerings: Antennas Direct is one of the most honest antenna providers in a market full of misleading marketing, and can currently take an additional 30 percent off your ClearStream antennas with the coupon code SHOPPING. Notable offerings include Eclipse indoor antenna for $ 28, the amplified model for $ 42, the 4MAX indoor-outdoor antenna for $ 105, and the DB8e outdoor antenna for $ 112. (The latter is our pick for the best roof-mounted antenna.) Just keep in mind that free shipping requires a minimum purchase of $ 50.

Tablo DVR for sale: By connecting your antenna to a Tablo, you can broadcast live and recorded broadcasts to multiple televisions throughout the home. Tablo’s Black Friday deals include Refurbished Dual Lite for $ 60, the Tablo Quad with 1 TB of storage for $ 205, and the Tablo Quad with own storage for $ 165.

Tablo HDMI models are also for sale. Unlike the options above, these connect directly to your TV, but can also stream to Roku, Fire TV, and Android TV devices in native streaming quality. Get the dual tuner model for $ 115 wave quad-tuner model for $ 165.

Please note that in all cases, you will need a Tablo subscription to enable most DVR functions.

Plex Pass for $ 90: For advanced cable cutters who want to set up a wireless DVR on a Plex media server, Lifetime Plex Passes are currently 25 percent off With the code COMFORT FOR LIFE in box.

Black Friday streaming deals to avoid

rokule Walmart

As always, I recommend staying away from streaming devices that don’t have TV power and volume controls built into their remotes. That rules out the Walmart exclusive. Roku LE, the previously discontinued Roku Premiereand from Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule: if you’re using a separate universal remote to control your streaming players, the lack of volume and power controls on your streaming remote won’t matter. The same is true if you are pairing a Roku with a soundbar or receiver that uses an optical audio connection, as Roku devices can only control external sound systems via HDMI-CEC. Otherwise, it’s worth the added expense if you have TV controls built into your streaming remote.

Also, it’s a shame on Roku and its retail partners for trying to download the Roku Streaming Stick + for $ 30. That device, last updated with a new remote in 2019, was replaced this year by the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, which you can buy on Black Friday for the same $ 30.

The newer 4K Streaming Stick gets better Wi-Fi reception, has faster performance, and supports Dolby Vision HDR, yet it appears that retailers are looking to ditch their old inventory on buyers who don’t know the difference. Do not be one of them.

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