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Consumer Confusion Part 1: Smart TVs

First it was big flat screen TVs. Then LED took over LCD and plasma. Then 3D was all the rage. So now what? Smart TVs.

“You can pretty much do anything (on a smart TV that) you can do on your computer,” said Shea Sparks, home theater specialist at Best Buy.

That means no more buying a separate box or game console to stream Internet content on your big screen, and you don’t have to deal with a lot of cables and clutter.

“To some people, they just want it all in one. Basically, these are the easiest, fastest way to get all your content online,” said Sparks.

Using apps, you can stream video content from websites like YouTube, Hulu, and Facebook directly on your TV, and more apps are being added every day.

“Even a lot of these have a full Internet browser on them too, so you can browse Google, you can search Yahoo News,” said Sparks, but movie content is the main attraction. “The big thing right now is that everyone wants to do Netflix. And if they can get Netflix all into one bundle, just being able to access any movie you want directly off your TV instead of having to go to Redbox or any other retailer, you can just do it right off of here, and people love it.”

Some smart TVs are voice activated or have a built-in camera that allows you to use Skype or video chat right from your TV, and with that camera comes the ability to play motion-sensor games like Angry Birds.

Still, not everyone is sold on smart TV.

“Skeptical people that don’t believe in it, but then I show them right on here how it works and they usually buy it,” said Sparks. “Some consumers don’t want to pay the extra $200 to $300, but when you factor in the cost for a separate streaming box or game console, it’s about the same. I mean, I didn’t think I would use it, but I use it all the time.”

So after smart TVs, what’s the next big thing?

“Google is working on an $8,000 40-inch TV that is pretty much transparent, so it blends into your background until you turn it on, sort of like a hologram,” said Sparks.

Tune in to Eyewitness News at 9 or 10 Tuesday night for Part 2 of Consumer Confusion, wherein we take a look at the best tablets on the market.

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