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One thing you need to know before you buy a smart TV

So you're thinking about getting a brand new, high-tech smart TV. A smart TV sounds like a smart buy, right? When you buy the latest technology, you're future-proof. It will take a lot longer for your new product to be obsolete.

That's smart in theory, but in reality - when it comes to Web-connected televisions - it might not be so smart after all.

Which? Magazine uncovered the disturbing reality about smart TVs:

New Which? research reveals that manufacturers are abandoning support for smart TVs once they are a few years old, potentially leaving people with obsolete TVs. Manufacturers pay licences to host apps such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix, so they may choose to only cover app licences for their newer products, and not their older ones.

It's not a hardware problem - it's a licensing issue. For example, when Sony's deal with Netflix expires, you have no guarantee your television will be able to stream Netflix programming.

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We've already seen it happen:

In some cases, as with 2010 Samsung smart TVs and 2011 LG smart TVs, services that were promoted at the point of sale – LoveFilm in these cases – have disappeared just a couple of years down the line.

What should you do if your smart TV stops offering the very services you paid extra to have access to? Unfortunately, you don't have very many options. Your only real recourse is to petition the company itself for a refund, or lobby your representatives and consumer protection agencies to change the law. As it stands, this issue is "buyer beware."

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