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From the author of Smart TVs

Smart TVs

Price: $300 and up

Key apps: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, and YouTube

Increasingly, HDTVs have audio and video streaming features built into them. Virtually all these so-called Smart TVs have Ethernet ports to connect to your cable modern or router, and many of them offer Wi-Fi. In many cases, having a Smart TV means you can skip getting a separate streaming device altogether because they usually come loaded with apps for all the major services. Just like with receivers, I don't have a single recommendation. Picture quality is too subjective. The correct sizing depends on the room you'll use it in and how much of your wall you want devoted to a screen. What seems like too much money to some ($1,500 for a TV?) is a steal to others (only $1,500 for a TV!). But if you're in the market for a streaming device, make sure your TV doesn't already have those features or consider whether you want them in your next TV. Many models from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony have streaming features and are good places to start.

Pros: All-in-one system; you need a TV anyway; saves money over buying a separate device.

Cons: No iTunes support; limited app upgrade and expansion options.

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