Insignia Roku (54-inch) Smart TV Full Review
This TV delivers quite the bargain. For less than $500, you get a surprisingly good 4K (3,840 x 2,160-pixel) display, a healthy selection of ports, as well as the intuitive and feature-packed Roku interface. Plus, with the Roku app, you can use your smartphone as a remote control. While its design and audio are nothing to write home about, overall the Insignia Roku (a Best Buy exclusive) is great for those on a budget.
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Design: All the basics
The Insignia Roku TV has an unremarkable design. It's 2.5-inches thick and dressed in basic black. The set's center-mounted, O-shaped stand is 12-inches deep and steady enough for tabletop placement, but it pretty much precludes the possibility of putting a thin sound bar or disc player directly beneath the TV.
All the requisite connections are included on the Insignia TV. Two separate back panels include an audio output, headphone jack, Ethernet, analog audio inputs, composite video input and an antenna/cable input. There are also four HDMI inputs and built-in 802.11ac support for the fastest wireless performance possible.
Performance: Surprisingly capable
There are not a lot of fancy technological features baked into the 4K Insignia Roku TV. The LCD set uses an edge-lit LED design, and it's a basic 60-Hz panel. This means the set cannot support 3D content (not a popular feature, anyway) and it delivers a less solid and more film-like picture when compared to 120 Hz sets — not necessarily a bad thing, either.
We ran the 4K Insignia Roku TV through our tests that look for artifacts and picture distortions caused by upscaling HD content to 4K screen resolution, and the set performed extremely well. I didn't witness any blurring of points of light like stars in motion scenes, nor did I see any dropped or flickering objects in James Bond chase scenes, afflictions than can beset TVs costing three times as much as this Insignia set. The Insignia TV also avoided producing any of the false halos that can happen when tracking a flashing light in a picture.
The Insignia Roku TV also did very well with full-fledged 4K content. Shows such as The Blacklist looked detailed, and colors were reasonably faithful. In 4K movies, such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the Insignia did an admirable job rendering difficult scenes, such as the nighttime office tower in the rain, without creating any posterization or banding. On the other hand, colors in 4K at times seemed too saturated and lacked subtle contrast variations that the top 4K ultra-HD TVs can reveal.
Overall, the Insignia's one weakness was the lack of detail in extremely bright areas, an indication that the set lacks the wider contrast variations of tone available in more expensive TVs. Some Istanbul scenes in Skyfall looked too washed out; the astronaut's space suits flashing in the sun lacked some wrinkle detail in Gravity. The real flames in George Miller's Mad Max Fury Road looked slightly fake, as if generated on a computer.
You can adjust the settings, of course. We found the best, most accurate preset for our tests was Movie mode, but there are several others, including Standard, Low Power, Vivid and Enhanced. The last two modes artificially boost color saturation and crank up the contrast. There are also presets for brightness levels (Bright, Brighter, Dark and Darker), but you can also adjust brightness the usual way, under Advanced Settings.
Roku allows serious tinkerers to go even further using the Android or iOS smartphone app's Expert Picture Settings, should you feel inclined to adjust things like gamma and reset the color-management values.
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The sonic section of the 4K Insignia Roku TV still seems like an afterthought. There are several preset modes to augment music or a movie soundtrack; you can even choose Big Bass or High Treble. However, no matter what you select, there's a tinny hollowness to the sound. Yes, this set would benefit by being paired with an inexpensive sound bar.
Interface: The best keeps it simple
Many buyers will appreciate the Insignia set's built-in Roku TV software and services. It sticks with the large icons and organization of a standard Roku TV set-top box, so it's extremely easy to follow, find your favorite services from Netflix to Pandora, and even discover some new ones from the more than 3,000 online channels Roku now offers.
Particularly helpful and new this time around is Roku's 4K Spotlight. The company is curating this special area to make it easier to find titles in the relative paucity of 4K video currently available. Spotlight covers 4K movies such as San Andreas; TV shows like Better Call Saul; and ultra-HD sources such as Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Video.
The 4K Insignia TV also includes a variation on the standard Roku remote control. There are a couple of additional dedicated buttons, such as HBO Now, Google Play and Sling. Volume buttons are on the right side to keep the front as simple and uncluttered as possible.
54.5" screen (measured diagonally from corner to corner)Large enough to provide an immersive experience for everyone in the room.
LED TVs perform well in all lighting conditionsThey also deliver plasma-like deep blacks and rich colors.
2160p resolution for breathtaking HD imagesWatch 4K movies and TV shows at 4x the resolution of Full HD, and upscale your current HD content to gorgeous, Ultra HD-level picture quality.
60Hz refresh rateAn 8ms response time for refreshing the picture helps reduce blurring during fast-motion scenes.
Built-in Roku smart platform delivers access to a world of entertainmentStream from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, or choose from more than 1,000 other streaming channels.
Control your TV with a smartphoneThe free Roku app lets you control Roku TV from a phone or tablet with the same buttons you'll find on the standard Roku remote. Compatible with most iOS, Android, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone devices.
Search with your voiceUsing the Roku mobile app, you can find the content you're looking for using voice commands. Just say what you're looking for and Roku Voice Search delivers results in the palm of your hand.
Personalize your Home screenEasily switch between inputs and streaming channels.
DTS TruSurroundTwo full-range 10W front speakers delivers an immersive virtual surround sound experience over front facing speaker configurations.
4 HDMI inputs for the best home theater connectionHigh-speed HDMI delivers a full 4K picture and digital surround sound in one convenient cable. HDMI cable not included.
1 USB inputEasily connect your digital camera, camcorder or other USB device.
Web-based services and content require high-speed Internet service. Some services may require a subscription.