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Flat Screen Televisions on a Budget

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By Edited Aug 6, 2016 0 0

Infinity LED HDTV from Best Buy

Need a flat-screen television and money is limited? You are keeping a tight rein on the budget but you still want to spring for something decent that won’t require you to live on Ramen Noodles for a month? Maybe all you want is a modest sized television for the bedroom or college dorm room. Everywhere you look the electronic stores push 1080p and 4K UHD resolutions televisions and they make it sound like that is the minimum resolution you should buy – right? Wrong! It’s like buying a new car. You don’t need an expensive sports car with a high output engine from BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar or a Chevy Corvette or Ford Mustang just for the purposes of running around the town errands. A vehicle that will get you from point A to B safely is the goal. It’s the same with buying electronics. What will the TV be used for and what features and functions does it need to have (not want) in order to achieve those “needs?”

Infinity LED HDTV

Sometimes all you need is a television with a decent picture. Not everything has to be “the best.”

720p Resolution

Recently I started examining options for additional flat screen televisions for our bedrooms and bonus room. The idea of spending a bunch of cash on televisions that will only be viewed from time to time seemed a bit unnecessary; and yet, we still wanted to set up the spare rooms as more homey. Thus I started looking at the online product reviews for low priced televisions. As I researched the options, I began to notice that a lot of 720p resolution low-end high definition TV’s are still on the market. At first I did not think too much of them; both the reviews and the notion of a 720p resolution.    

I’ll make this easy: the brand is Insignia and the best sizes are 32” and smaller. At for 720p resolution at 60 Hz the picture quality is surprisingly good. It’s not as good as a Samsung or Sony, yet it also doesn’t cost anywhere near those higher priced televisions. Depending on your favorite sites for product reviews, I’m very partial to CNET(dot)com, BestBuy(dot)com, and Amazon(dot)com.

MONSTER CABLE ISF CALDSK HDTV Calibration Wizard DVD
Amazon Price: $34.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 18, 2015)

Need versus Want

Ask yourself, “What do I really need in order to enjoy the programming?” Are you watching news, series shows and films for the entertainment or am I watching to see if I can count the number of pores on the actor’s nose? Even most video games are viewed very well on TV screens under 40” with less than 1080p resolution. Higher resolutions of 1080i/p and 4K UHD are best suited for screen sizes above 40 inches. But that’s just my opinion. The smaller the screen – the less a higher resolution HD is needed. Most of today’s programming looks very nice on a 720p resolution television. Remember the sports car analogy: what is really needed to meet your television needs? Standard digital broadcasts are in 480 i/p. High Definition (digital) broadcasts are in 720p, 1080i, 1080p and 4K UHD. Most cable and satellite broadcasts are televised in 480p, 720p and 1080i. Very few broadcasts are televised in 1080p and, as of the writing of this product review, no program are broadcast in 4K UHD. The only place to currently find a wealth of 1080p/4K UHD broadcasts are through the many internet video sites: particularly YouTube and Vimeo. If a small television is all you need, then a 720p will give you a better than decent picture.

ColorCircles
I recently purchased an Insignia 32” LED 720p Flat Screen (Model# NS-32D312NA15). It is great! It has a surprisingly good picture; after adjusting the picture settings, of course. You will need to adjust the “Custom” setting. Out-of-the box, the color settings are over-bright. All the rest of the color settings are pre-set and not adjustable; at least I haven’t figured out how to tap into the manufacture’s presets to alter them. It doesn’t matter though; all you need to do is adjust the settings (sometimes referred to a User Calibration).  The price range for these smaller low-budget televisions can be $50-$200 less than the higher end HD televisions.[1]

Suggested Models for a Modest Price

Insignia™ - 32" Class (31-1/2" Diag.) - LED - 720p - HDTV Model# NS-32D312NA15 priced at Best Buy for approximately $159.99[3]

Insignia™ - 28" Class (27-1/2" Diag.) - LED - 720p - HDTV DVD Combo Model: NS-28DD310NA15 priced at Best Buy for approximately $189.99[3]

Insignia™ - 24" Class (23.8" Diag.) - LED - 1080p - HDTV Model: NS-24D420NA16 priced at Best Buy for approximately $139.99[3]

Insignia™ - 24" Class (23-5/8" Diag.) - LED - 720p - HDTV DVD Combo Model: NS-24ED310NA15 priced at Best Buy for approximately $159.99[3]

Insignia™ - 20" Class (19-1/2" Diag.) - LED - 720p - HDTV DVD Combo Model: NS-20ED310NA15 priced at Best Buy for approximately $119.99[3]

Insignia™ - 19" Class (18-1/2" Diag.) - LED - 720p - HDTV Model: NS-19E310NA15 priced at Best Buy for approximately $119.99[3]

  • An alternative brand to Insignia is LG; another very good relatively low costing HD television.
  • For advice and a sample of picture settings go to community(dot)insigniaproducts(dot)com.[2]

Infinity LED HDTV

Here are my settings for the Insignia 32” 720p LED Television

  • Picture Mode = Custom
  • Backlight = 35
  • Brightness = 49
  • Contrast = 53
  • Color = 40
  • Tint = 3G
  • Sharpness = 35

Under “Advance Settings”

  • Aspect Ratio = Wide
  • OverScan = Off
  • Dynamic Backlight  = Off
  • Color Temp = Cool
  • Noise Reduction = Off
  • Adaptive Contrast = Off

     

Final Word

Considering how fast technology changes and the way prices fluctuate as new features are added to television technology, does it really make sense to spend a lot of money for a television that is not your primary home television. The brands and models listed above will meet the needs of most or all your television entertainment. No matter what brand, size, version with few or many features and functions the actual picture quality you see is up to your ability to adjust and tweak the picture settings. The smaller the TV screen size, the easier it can be to adjust settings to get a “good” viewing picture.

LG Electronics 24LF4520-WU LED TV (2015 Model)
Amazon Price: $179.99 $159.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 18, 2015)
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Bibliography

  1. "Get a 28-inch HDTV for $129.99." CNET. 9/07/2015 <Web >
  2. "Calibration Settings for 32" LED 720p (Insignia ns-32e321a13)." Community Insignia Products. 9/07/2015 <Web >
  3. "LED & LCD TVs." Best Buy. 9/07/2015 <Web >

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