I bought this TV to replace a 22-year-old, 32” analog Toshiba TV that bit the dust. In order to fittingly review this Insignia TV, I can only compare it to my now defunct Toshiba TV. Before the picture tube blew on my Toshiba TV, it had a great picture. In fact, its picture was as good as, if not better than, this Insignia TV, which was unexpected and somewhat disappointing, considering this Insignia TV is supposed to be an HDTV. What’s odd is that Best Buy advertises this TV as an HDTV, yet there is no mention of that on the box it came in or on the Quick Setup Guide, which leads me to believe that it’s just a standard digital TV. Whatever the case, it seems like a decent TV for the price, but it does have its idiosyncrasies.
The biggest idiosyncrasies involve the Aspect Ratio settings. There are four settings: Normal, Zoom, Wide, and Cinema. The picture in the Normal setting only utilizes about 60% of the screen. In the Cinema setting, the picture is enlarged to the point that the screen crops the picture so that you can see only about 60% of it. Also, the picture is the least sharp in this setting. The Wide setting stretches the picture, distorting it. I don’t understand the point of the Normal, Cinema, and Wide settings, which are virtually useless. The only setting worth using is the Zoom setting, but the picture is not as sharp as in the Normal setting. It’s hard to tell how much, if any, of the picture is being cropped in the Zoom setting, but there is one big drawback to this setting. It crops off the program guide and program information displays, among others, from my cable TV provider (RCN), which is frustrating. Those displays only work with the Normal and Wide settings and are unusable in the Cinema setting. Who would want to have to keep changing the Aspect Ratio setting from Zoom to Normal or Wide to obtain cable TV provider program information.
Another set of idiosyncrasies involves the Picture settings, of which there are six: Standard, Energy Savings, Game, Custom, Vivid, and Movie. The Movie setting is the only setting worth using in that it consistently renders the best resolution and truest color. I’m not going to detail the flaws of the other settings because there are too many to document, although the Game setting is an acceptable alternative to the Movie setting in some cases. The other four settings may work well with some programs and channels, but I haven’t found any yet.
I found idiosyncrasies with the Game Mode settings, of which there are two: On and Off. If the Picture setting is set to any setting other than Game and the Game Mode setting is changed from Off to On, it changes the Picture setting to Game. If the Game Mode setting is set to Off and the Picture setting is changed to Game from another setting, the Game Mode setting is changed to On. When the Game Mode setting is changed to Off, it changes the Picture setting to any setting other than Game.
A final idiosyncrasy I found is with ties, as in ties that men wear. If a guy on a program is wearing a striped tie with thin (as opposed to wide) stripes and he moves, even ever so slightly, the stripes shimmer. This was always a problem with analog TV’s. I don’t know if this is still a problem with digital and HDTV’s. If this shouldn’t happen with an HDTV but can happen with just a plain digital TV, then this Insignia TV is not an HDTV as advertised by Best Buy.
If you buy this TV, just keep the Aspect Ratio set to Zoom and the Picture set to Movie. These settings seem to work best with most programs and channels. Don’t bother using the other settings. It’s not worth the aggravation.
As for the sound, it’s good enough for my purposes, but there’s nothing special about it.
I’m giving this TV a rating of four stars based on my belief that it’s just a digital TV, not an HDTV, and as such works well enough for my purposes. If it really is an HDTV, then I would rate it no more than three stars.