The Best Buy house brand Insignia can be found on some of the cheapest, er, least-expensive HDTVs available anywhere, and judging from the company's terrible NS-PDP42 plasma, you might be tempted to write these sets off entirely. Not so fast, bargain hunter. The 32-inch NS-LCD32-09 LCD TV fared a lot better in our tests, owing to fine performance for the price and more inputs than anybody expected. If you're looking to save cash on a smaller HDTV, there's no reason not to audition this li'l bargain.
Editors' Note 04/17/2007: When this review originally published, it referred th the Insignia NS-LCD32-09. That model name is incorrect; in fact, this is a review of the Insignia NS-LCD32-09. This review has been updated to reflect the correct name.
Glossy black has migrated down to the lowest end of the LCD market, making the Insignia NS-LCD32-09 look much like a more-expensive Samsung. A graceful curve along the panel's bottom edge adds a bit of additional class, and we were surprised when the included stand swiveled a bit. The 32-inch NS-LCD32-09 is average size, measuring 30.8x22x8.7 inches including stand, and weighing a feathery 24.5 pounds.
The remote feels light and cheap in-hand, but the size is nice and all buttons are well-spaced and accounted for. A row of four keys along the top edge allow direct access to four input types. The bare-bones menu gets the job done with minimal fanfare, and we didn't have any issues once we figured out that the "preset" selection actually reset the picture settings.
Albeit inexpensive, the Insignia NS-LCD32-09 cuts no critical corners. The set's native resolution of 1,366x768 is perfectly fine because the advantage of a higher pixel count, say 1080p, is completely wasted at this screen size.
Picture adjustments are relatively basic. The NS-LCD32-09 lacks picture presets such as Movie and Dynamic, but we did like its independent input memories and the inclusion of a backlight control to adjust black levels and overall light output. The Insignia buries its three color temperature presets in an Advanced menu under the Feature tab instead of the Video tab where it belongs, but at least it's there, along with a couple varieties of noise reduction and dynamic contrast, which are best left turned off for critical viewing. The 3D Y/C control, which cleans up composite-video sources, should be left on.
We appreciated the four aspect ratio choices with both HDTV and standard-def sources. The Insignia lacks picture-in-picture, although it does have a freeze-frame option.
The biggest surprise came when we counted not one, not two, but three HDMI inputs on the NS-LCD32-09. Two are located on the back panel--along with two component-video inputs, a VGA-style PC input, and an AV input with composite and S-Video ports--while the third can be found along the left side of the panel, along with a headphone jack and a second AV input with composite and S-Video. All in all, connectivity is superb on the NS-LCD32-09, especially at this price point.