You’ve seen them – 4K TVs at shockingly low prices from a mysterious brand called Insignia.
It seems like there’s no way a TV with 4K resolution, a 55-inch screen, and Fire TV integrated should cost less than $400 – which gets people wondering whether or not Insignia is a good brand.
Here’s the bottom line: Insignia TVs are a fine brand. They aren’t going to blow your mind like a new Sharp Aquos will, but they are much better than you’d expect. If you’re looking for a solid deal on a quality TV, Insignia may just be the way to go.
Today, we’re going to dive into the Insignia brand and discuss exactly why they’re able to sell solid TVs at budget-friendly prices!
Who Makes Insignia TVs?
Insignia is a US TV brand, fully owned and sold by Best Buy, but the manufacturing is outsourced to China. Insignia offers several different TVs, in sizes as small as 32 inches and as large as 70 inches. Some models are still in 720p, but the majority have been upgraded to 4K.
Additionally, most Insignia TVs are “smart TVs” and have either Amazon Fire TV or Roku TV built-in.
A Budget Brand, First and Foremost
How much do Insignia TVs cost?
On the whole, less than premium brands like Sony, Sharp, and Samsung.
For example, a 55-inch smart TV with 4K resolution and HDR from Insignia costs less than $400, while a TV with the same specs from Samsung would set you back more than double that price.
Buying an Insignia TV means that you’re going to get a good deal compared to other brands, every single time. If you’re shopping on a budget, it’s very hard to go wrong with Insignia!
Insignia Smart TVs: Not Always About Low Prices
Insignia’s place in the TV world is near the bottom in terms of price, but not always in terms of quality or technology.
On the contrary, they’re usually right up there with industry leaders – they even have exclusive deals with Amazon!
Insignia was one of the first companies to dive into the Smart TV revolution a decade ago, and they are still often at the forefront of technology integration today.
For example, Insignia was one of the brands that launched the first 4K Roku and Fire TVs. As of 2018, they were the only brand that had an official partnership with Amazon to sell sets with Fire TV built-in.
This stands in contrast to the general perception that Insignia TVs are just for people working with tight budgets.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming these TVs only have a low price tag to offer – often, they still pack a powerful punch!
What Other Products Does Insignia Make?
While televisions are, clearly, the most important product Insignia has to offer, they are still involved in other parts of the tech world. Here’s a brief rundown of all the different products sold under the Insignia label:
- Laptops and Desktops
- Home Theater and Surround Sound
- Gaming equipment (controllers, keyboards, etc)
- Cables, batteries, and chargers
The Big Question: Why are Insignia TVs so Cheap?
If you want to truly understand whether or not Insignia is a good brand, you need to know why their stuff is so cheap compared to other brands.
Is it because they are just worse, or is it because other brands charge more because of their reputation?
We know that Insignia TVs offer the same screen resolution, size, and smart features that other brands do. So, how are they able to offer prices that are so much lower?
The short answer is that the price you pay for a TV doesn’t always have as much to do with its quality as you might think.
Sometimes, paying $800+ for a new TV means you get a phenomenal product, and other times it means you’ve forked over extra cash for nothing more than a brand name.
The complete answer to this question – why are Insignia TVs so darn cheap? – has a lot to do with where (and when) Insignia TV parts come from. Let’s explore:
Where do Insignia TVs Come From?
Obviously, Insignia TVs come from China, Taiwan, and Japan.
The components are built in many different factories, assembled in China, and shipped to the states.
Unlike major brands, though, Best Buy doesn’t own factories or design TVs. Instead, they outsource production to several different manufacturers.
These TVs are made in the same factories as the major brands, which is why you’ll see parts from Samsung, LG, and other companies in an Insignia TV if it’s cracked open.
Usually, the TVs are produced with leftover components and materials from the previous year’s models.
That means that unused/surplus screens and processors from 2020 model Samsung TVs will find their way into 2021 model Insignias.
That makes them cheap and easy to produce, even though the components themselves are still very good.
It’s a bit like getting last year’s iPhone the month after the newest model is released – you’re not getting a bad phone, you’re just getting a great deal on a slightly older one.
If you buy an Insignia TV, you won’t get a bad TV per se, you’ll just be getting one that’s slightly older than a top-of-the-line Samsung.
Pros and Cons of Buying an Insignia TV
- You’ll Save a LOT of Money: this is the main reason anyone should buy an Insignia TV. If you have less than $500 to spend on a 4K Smart TV, get an Insignia!
- Still High-Quality: As discussed, the fact that these TVs are economical does not mean they’re “cheap”. You’re still getting a great TV, it’s just not as new under the hood.
- Fire TV-Enabled: if you’ve outfitted your home with Amazon Echo devices, it only makes sense that your TV is running on the same smart home system. And, when you get an Insignia TV, you don’t have to buy a Fire TV device separately!
- Components May be Outdated: The screens, processors, and other components on these TVs are likely a model year older than what you’d get from Samsung, Toshiba, or Sony. If you want the “latest and greatest”, Insignia might not be the right choice for you.
- Speakers are “Meh” at Best”: This isn’t a problem unique to Insignia, but it is still worth mentioning. Don’t expect the audio to be anything more than mediocre, and if you want better audio, be prepared to buy a soundbar!
Best Insignia TV to Buy Today
The best Insignia TV is the Insignia NS-43DF710NA21 Smart 4K UHD – Fire TV. This TV is incredibly affordable and has 4K Ultra HD picture quality with over 8 million pixels for stunning clarity, deep contrast and vivid colors.
And with Fire TV built in, you’ll have access to all the popular streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, Disney+ etc.
If you’re interested, you can check the price on Amazon here.
Alternatives to Insignia: Other Budget TV Brands to Consider
This brand is most recognizable as the most popular Smart TV with Roku built-in.
These TVs are, to the eye of the average consumer, virtually identical to Insignia in terms of price, picture quality, and overall value.
So, why would someone buy a TCL TV instead of an Insignia, or vice versa?
The answer is simple: if you prefer Amazon Fire TV’s interface, get an Insignia. If you like Roku better, get a TCL. Both brands offer very similar TVs at very similar prices.
If money is truly the only thing that matters to you, get a Westinghouse TV.
Virtually every Westinghouse is going to be the cheapest in its class, and that isn’t always a good thing.
They look, feel, and sound cheap – but if savings are your top concern, keep Westinghouse in mind.
The Bottom Line: Should You Buy an Insignia TV?
If you can reasonably afford a high-quality, expensive TV, you should spring for something nicer than Insignia without looking back.
But, if you don’t mind having last year’s technology in your new TV, and you want to save a few hundred dollars, get yourself an Insignia. After all, TV technology only improves very slightly year to year; technological leaps are typically slower.
Insignia is a good brand, but not the best. Alongside TCL, they are the top choice for cheap TVs that are still worth buying.
That said, if you can spring for a $2,000 Samsung, you won’t be disappointed.
It all comes down to how much you’re willing to spend: if your budget tops out at $500, get an Insignia. If you’ve got more to spend, opt for something top-of-the-line.
Have you owned an Insignia TV in the past? What was your opinion of it? Or, if you haven’t owned one, do you have any questions about Insignia TVs?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!