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Is a Smart TV a Smart Purchase for Me?

It's time to make your television the most intelligent, useful, and amazing piece of technology in your home.

But exactly how smart is it to purchase a smart TV right now? Well, let's just say it's an intelligent purchase if it's is at the top of your tech shopping list. If your current TV isn't "smart," you aren't necessarily being left behind, but you might be missing out. Don't worry though, the train hasn't left the station and there are plenty of stops (models and price points) along the way for you to catch up. In 2013, smart TVs accounted for one third of all flat-panel television shipments around the world. That number should hit 44 percent by the end of 2015 and nearly 75 percent by 2017.

When we speak of smart TVs, we mean televisions that are connected to the Internet - either plugged into your router or on your wireless network - that offer so much more than a traditional viewing experience. One of the biggest benefits of smart TVs is that they turn any room into a true media hub while cutting down on the clutter of other devices, including all of those pesky remote controls. There won't be a need for yet another set-top box such as those offered by Roku, Amazon, Apple, or Google. That's one less thing to worry about, and it will simplify your life.

Perhaps you've been using your laptop or desktop PC to stream Netflix or Hulu. That's not the ideal viewing experience, especially on that small screen. Those same services are readily available in the form of apps on smart TVs allowing you to scroll through your movie queue and favorite shows. Price and brand determines the quality and quantity of apps on any smart TV, but most will have your favorite streaming services, such as Pandora, standard. If you can find a model that includes your top apps, you might even be able to cut the cord and cancel your cable television contract. It's not an easy break, but it's certainly a cost-effective one.

And since it's connected to the Internet, you can surf the Web and use some of your go-to social media apps. Think about what it would be like to view photo galleries on Facebook, speed through Twitter feeds, and even shop on eBay on the big screen. It's a dynamically different experience surfing the Web on such a grand scale. Some high-end smart TV models even allow you to Skype with faraway friends and family.

Finally, let's get technical. Smart TVs offer some great features that other models cannot currently compete with. They feature a number of HDMI ports for any and all of those high-definition gadgets that Sears has to offer. Software updates allow a smart TV to keep up with advancing technology and improved viewing options. And of course, we musn't neglect the ever-important higher level of picture quality and processing for the best viewing experience.

If you're in the market for a new TV, you'll quickly notice that most TVs available have the functions that Smart TVs offer to varying degrees. The perks that come with Smart TVs will make you quickly realize that your purchase was indeed an intelligent one.