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With cord-cutting quickly becoming popular, it is not surprising that televisions are now coming with integrated streaming capabilities. This saves the cost of purchasing a streaming stick separately. The Insignia 43” Roku TV that I am reviewing here has a lot to like. It not only includes an integrated Roku, but is also a 4K ultra-HD set for under $400. It can be even cheaper when on sale. I purchased one recently for $299.

Insignia is Best Buy’s in-house brand. Most of the components currently seem to be manufactured by LG. As you know however, when creating in-house-labeled products, the manufacturer can change suppliers at any time. The good news is that over the years the Insignia brand televisions have been consistently good.

roku tv

Design

The design of this device is unspectacular. The television is 2.5-inches thick. A thin black bezel surrounds the screen which measures 42.5″ diagonally from corner to corner. The set comes with two sturdy curved legs that allows a Blu-ray player or sound bar to be set below the television.  Wall-mount is also possible.

Connections include an audio output, headphone jack, analog audio inputs, composite video input, a USB port and an antenna/cable input. There are also three HDMI inputs and an Ethernet port as well as built-in 802.11ac wireless support.

Remote

This television comes with a dedicated Roku remote. As you can see from this side-by-side comparison, it looks very much like the remote from the Roku Ultra. This remote does not have the voice search, the remote finder, the A-B buttons or the headphone jack for private listening that is on the remote from the Ultra. There are slight variations in the dedicated keys for the Roku TV remote as well as an on/off button and sleep timer button. The Insignia Roku TV remote is slightly smaller and has a shiny black finish compared to the flat black of the Roku Ultra remote.

You not see any number buttons on any Roku remote. You can use a universal remote, but I found that using both the numbered remote from my cable provider and the Roku remote works quite well. Remember that once you set up the cable, disc player or other device on this TV, simply choosing it from the Roku interface will adjust it to the proper input, so you won’t have to worry about that.

roku tv

The volume buttons are on the right side of the remote. A mute button is under the volume buttons.

Performance

Picture quality is amazingly good for a 4K television in this price bracket. The only thing missing is high dynamic range (HDR). So the color quality will be better if you are watching a 4K HDR movie on a more expensive television. Yet there are currently so few HDR movies that unless you are a serious movie buff, you probably won’t miss it.

This Roku TV is a basic 60-Hz panel. It has snappy load and response times. There can be a slight blur in fast-moving sports, but not enough to detract from the picture quality.

Sound quality is also good. It has DTS TruSurround with two main channel speakers.

Picture upscaling is very good. Overall, there is no pixilation and no blurring or flickering of objects. Viewing angles are pretty good with 178° horizontal and vertical viewing angles providing a clear picture for viewers seated near the side of the screen.

The Interface

You may be surprised to find that when you turn on the TV, you don’t immediately get to the cable channels or the over-the-air channels, even if you have set these up on the Roku TV.

Instead, you will see the large colorful squares of the Roku interface.

Roku’s interface is very easy to use. With more than 3,000 online channels, Roku offers more choices than any other streamer.

If you added your cable, OTA television, Blu-ray player or other device to the TV, you will see an icon square dedicated to that device, as shown below. The interface is customizable allowing you to move the icons around to suit your needs

roku tv

Roku’s built-in 4K Spotlight is very useful in helping you find 4K content across all of your apps. There is also a My Feed feature that allows you to follow an actor, movie, or series and will notify you when something new is available.

Image: interface on

The Roku interface has a lot of adjustable settings. You can easily boost color saturation, change the contrast, and choose from presets for brightness. If these don’t fulfill your needs you can also dig a little deeper into the Advanced Settings to initiate even more adjustments.

Additional Features

This Roku TV also accepts a USB drive. This allows you to play audio and video that you may have stored on the drive. The USB drive also allows you to pause live television, but I could only get this to work with the TV’s antenna input, not the cable input.

Roku has a very useful app that essentially turns your phone into a remote for the television or a second screen. The app also allows you to search using voice commands.

Summary

The 43” size is great for a small living room or bedroom. The picture quality and upscaling is exceptional for the price. The built-in Roku is both easy and fun to use. The lack of high dynamic range (HDR) is the only drawback. But there is a lot to like to make up for this. All-in-all, this TV is a bargain that will suit many needs and make average television viewers quite happy.

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.