Today, we're focusing on the Insignia NS-50L240A13 (MSRP $650), a TV that best exemplifies the house-brand strategy. It's low-frills, inexpensive, yet manages to hit all the specs that people want (at least think they want): a big screen, 1080p resolution, and a handful of features you'll probably never use. Nevertheless, the picture quality is pretty decent – just don't expect top-of-the-line.
The Insignia NS-50L240A13 won't win any beauty pageants, but it will still make it to the prom. The design is basic and the TV is very light – it only took one person to move this 50-inch display around. While a lightweight TV is not necessarily a bad thing, this Insignia feels lacking in the quality department.
This remote suffered from the same problem that the DX-32L100A13 from Dynex, Insignia's sister company, had. The remote would frequently stop responding, leading to some frustrating (and funny) moments of the TelevisionInfo.com staff getting very upset.
The Insignia NS-50L240A13 comes with a remote, batteries, a quick setup guide, and a very basic user manual. The real user manual is available online.
The NS-50L240A13 has a fine array of connections on the left side of the TV. There are three HDMI ports, a USB port, an antenna input, a hybrid component/composite input, a digital audio output, a headphone audio output, a VGA input, and a PC audio input.
The last three ports mentioned (headphone audio, VGA, and PC audio) were rather hard to find – they reside underneath the side arrangement of connections. We didn't realize that they were there until reading the manual.
The Insignia NS-50L240A13 is not a bad performer at all. It has a decent contrast, it has an excellent uniformity, and the screen dynamics are great, too. For a budget-friendly TV, this Insignia exceeds our expectations.
It does stumble a bit when it comes to colors. The colors are mostly good, although the color gamut for this TV leaves a lot to be desired. The viewing angle was just average, although it did score better than more expensive TVs.
The Insignia NS-50L240A13 has a good contrast. The peak black level of 0.05 was great, although the peak brightness of 146.60 was not impressive. More on how we test contrast.
These are decent color curves. The blues get off to a rough start – they are very jumpy at dark input signals, meaning they do not transition smoothly. The reds are not as smooth as we would have liked, although we have seen much worse. None of the colors peak early, which is great. More on how we test color performance.
The color temperature on the NS-50L240A13 is on the warm side. Grey input signals get a slightly warmer tone and black signals get warm, as well. The lighter input signals look very good. More on how we test color temperature.
The blues on this color gamut are very oversaturated and look more purplish than they should. Greens look OK and the reds look a bit more pink than they should. More on how we test color temperature.
Picture dynamics were almost flawless here. The NS-50L240A13 kept a consistent black level with an increasingly white screen and a consistent white level with an increasingly black screen. More on how we test picture dynamics.
The Insignia NS-50L240A13 is a native 1080p HDTV and displays all standard NTSC formats.
The NS-50L240A13's viewing angle was just average as far as LCD TVs go, although it did best other TVs that we compared it to.
Motion performance was just average here. Images moving moderately fast were a bit blurry and color trailing was noticeable. When testing for choppy motion, which involves vertical lines moving horizontally across the screen, the NS-50L240A13 performed quite well.
As far as motion processing features, this TV does not have any.
This Insignia employs CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) backlighting, which means three things for the average user: the TV will be thick, it will use more power, and it will have a very good uniformity. The NS-50L240A13 is no exception to these rules and in terms of uniformity, it does indeed perform very well. A completely black screen is smooth and clean. A completely white screen is also very good, although there was very slight shadowing on the edges.
The NS-50L240A13 can produce extremely loud audio. We felt uncomfortable turning the volume up all the way during testing because of this TV's thunderous output. While we applaud Insignia for getting plenty of decibels out of this TV's two 10-watt speakers, we do have to point out that the sound is not very clear.
The mid-range frequencies, like voices, are clear and sound good. The problems with the audio come into play with the high frequencies and the low frequencies. Both of these audio frequencies sound muddled, especially the bass. Low-end frequencies, like explosions or thunder, sound very distorted.
Insignia offers the option to increase or decrease the treble and bass, as well as having five different sound modes to customize your listening experience:
| Sound Mode | | Description |
| Standard | | Flat response for a natural sound. |
| Theater | | Enhances treble and bass for a rich sound experience. |
| Music | | Preserves the original sound. |
| News | | Enhances vocals for TV audio. |
| Custom | | A customized audio setting. |
In our experience, we did not notice a difference in the audio output with any of the sound modes except for news, which just made everything sound flat.
TV's with CCFL backlights usually draw a lot of power and the Insignia NS-50L240A13 lives up to that generalization.
When we calibrate TVs for the minimum recommended backlight level, we adjust their luminance to around 200 candelas per square meters. This Insignia's maximum luminance was nowhere close to 200, so the maximum and minimum recommended costs are identical. With such a low peak brightness, this Insignia sucked up way more power than we thought it would.
Calibrating the Insignia NS-50L240A13 was rather difficult. After setting the picture mode to theater, our typical choice for calibrating, we noticed that the TV would not let us change some of the settings like brightness, contrast, sharpness, and backlight. The fix for this? Turning the overscan option on. This was definitely an annoying glitch, but we were able to calibrate the TV to our satisfaction and turn off that awful overscan.
All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.
There are five video modes to choose from on this Insignia: vivid, standard, theater, energy savings, and custom. Anytime a setting, like brightness or contrast, is changed, the video mode is changed to custom.
Normally, we would say that Insignia's menu interface is the definition of bare-bones, but that honor belongs to Dynex. What is offered here is a slight step up from bare-bones and, similar to Dynex, still gets the job done.
Insignia's menu interface is very similar to the one used by their sister company, Dynex. There are still just five tabs, although they are arranged differently: picture, audio, channel, settings, and photos. The channel tab only works when the antenna input is used and the photos tab would not allow us to access it, no matter how many USB drives we plugged into the port.
When it comes to this menu, what you see is what you get. The options are very basic and we suspect that consumers in the market for budget-friendly TVs such as Dynex do not care about advanced settings like horizontal and vertical sharpness.
There is a quick setup guide and a very basic instruction manual packaged with this TV. The basic instruction manual, which has troubleshooting tips and specs, says on the cover that the real manual is in another castle called the internet.
Users can access this .pdf manual on the Insignia website and we must say, it is quite a treat. The manual is well-designed, easy-to-read, and includes plenty of pictures to explain everything it discusses.
Did out tests prove that the Insignia NS-50L240A13 (MSRP $650) is a TV destined for greatness? No. Did they prove that the TV is worthy of your consideration? That all depends on how much you want to spend.
This is not a bad TV by any means. The NS-50L240A13 has a good contrast ratio, decent colors, and a smooth uniformity. It is not the worst looking TV and as far as LCDs go, it has an average viewing angle.
The NS-50L240A13 stumbles in more than a few places. While we didn't hate the TV's design, we did think it felt cheap. The Insignia menu interface is outdated and in serious need of a revamp. The audio produced is passable, although the low-range and high-range frequencies are often times distorted. The worst offense this TV committed was having a remote that would stop working – this is extremely frustrating and unforgivable on any TV.
If your budget for buying a 50-inch TV is $650 and not a penny more, you would be hard pressed to find a better TV. If you can shell out a couple hundred dollars more, then you might want to shop around a bit longer.
Meet the tester
An enthusiast of all things tech, Josh is one of Reviewed.com's resident television experts. When he's not looking at bright TV screens in a dark room, he's probably reviewing a laptop or finding a new snack at 7-11.
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