Insignia NS-42L780A12 LCD HDTV Review$599.00
Audio & Menus
The Insignia NS-42L780A12's dual 10W speakers produce audio of a decent quality. Middle-frequency sounds and voices sounded somewhat muffled, but it was relatively clear, on the whole. The TV offers a "SRS TruSurround HD" mode to emulate surround sound, but we were not terribly impressed with its results. With the last sound options being auto-volume limitation and simple Treble, Bass, and Balance sliders, your only real choices are to accept the mediocrity of the audio or, as our preference, to get some external speakers.
The menu interface is okay, but it's pretty much the epitome of ridiculous and kitschy, as applied to a television interface. Sure, the categories are laid out at the top of the screen as icons, but they don't become highlighted when you select them. Instead, they simply get slightly larger, with no animation, to indicate your chosen category. Since the icons are odd shapes of different sizes, this is no help whatsoever.
Perhaps the most ridiculous thing about the menu interface is the completely aliased portrait of a man in sunglasses. Not only does it look drawn in MS Paint, its face is stretched to demonstrate aspect ratio and recolored against a fall or wintery background to show color temperature. It's even paraded on the TV screen at the top of the menu for the picture settings icon. The radio boxes for settings show that they're selected with ugly, equally-aliased check marks. At least Insignia chose a theme and kept it consistent, even if that theme is "drawn with Kid Pix."
Instead of coming with an instruction manual, the Insignia NS-42L780A12 comes with a quick-start guide and a piece of paper informing you that Insignia is "going green" and has decided not to print a paper manual. Once you download the PDF version from their website, you'll find that it is quite well laid out and easy to navigate. We liked the clarity of its diagrams. Since it's a PDF, it's searchable, so you probably won't even need to make use of the table of contents.