Skip to content

I Used an Insignia Fire TV: The Good, the Bad, and Who Should Buy

After years of using a small LG TV in my home office, it was time for an upgrade. I came across an Insignia TV on sale at Best Buy for a great price, so I decided to give it a try. Insignia is Best Buy‘s exclusive house brand, offering budget-friendly options comparable to other value brands like Hisense and TCL.

I‘ll cut to the chase: overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the Insignia Fire TV. It does everything it claims to at a very wallet-friendly price point. However, it also has some drawbacks that buyers should consider. Below I break down my hands-on experience to help you determine if an Insignia Fire TV is right for your needs.

What I Used the Insignia Fire TV For

I purchased a 32-inch 720p Insignia Fire TV to use in my home office. I mounted it on the wall to replace an old 24-inch LG TV that did not have smart capabilities. The 32-inch screen size fits the space perfectly, providing an upgrade over what I had before.

I don‘t watch too much TV in my office, but it‘s nice to have something larger than my computer monitor for streaming news or throwing on a basketball game in the background while I work. I don‘t need anything too high-tech given my use cases, so the Insignia Fire TV fits the bill well enough.

Is an Insignia Fire TV Worth It?

Insignia TVs aim for the bottom tier of the market next to other bare-bones budget brands. They cut corners that allow for exceptionally low pricing. But given realistic expectations, an Insignia can absolutely be "worth it" if you find a good sale.

Take my 32-inch 720p Fire TV model—it cost nearly half what a comparable 32-inch LG 720p smart TV runs. And it includes the Fire TV interface rather than needing something like a Roku or Apple TV on top. If all you need is basic functionality without bells and whistles, an Insignia starts looking pretty appealing.

However, it certainly will not stand up against more premium options in terms of display quality, audio, design, smart features, and overall user experience. You get what you pay for. An Insignia Fire TV hits a sweet spot of balancing cost versus performance, but lean too far either way and it becomes less suitable.

Does an Insignia Fire TV Actually Work?

Simply put, yes it does work. I‘ve used mine regularly for over a year without issues. But evaluating an Insignia Fire TV across various factors paints a more nuanced picture. Let‘s break down some key elements that impact real-world usage.

Picture Quality

Given the budget-oriented nature of Insignia TVs, you shouldn‘t expect incredible image quality. My 720p screen looks decent enough for casual viewing but has clear drawbacks compared to pricier models.

The resolution tops out at 720p rather than 1080p, so there‘s only so much crispness and clarity possible. Colors appear washed out when viewing from sharp angles. The contrast leaves something to be desired, especially noticeable with dark scene content. And you‘ll see pixelation and artifacts far quicker than a 4K TV.

Overall, the picture quality ranks as just "OK" given tempered expectations. It works fine for my office use case, but I‘d want better performance for a living room setup. Even stepping up to a 1080p Insignia model would provide noticeable improvements.

Sound Quality

Like most modern slim TVs, audio quality suffers due to bottom-firing speakers and lackluster drivers. Voices sound thin and tinny, while soundtrack swells fail to fill a room. This disappoints but doesn‘t surprise—great sound still requires external speakers.

Thankfully, solutions like soundbars are affordable and effective. I use a $70 Vizio soundbar with my Insignia Fire TV to bump up both volume and richness across movies, TV shows, and streaming tunes as I work. The soundbar elevated the listening experience tremendously.


One pleasant upside to the Insignia Fire TV is its voice remote. Similar to Amazon Fire TV products, it allows searching by content name or actor via voice commands instead of hunting through apps and menus. This proves surprisingly accurate and handy for everyday use.

The remote lacks channel buttons but includes power and volume control. Some buyers might prefer old-school channel numbers, but I appreciate the simplicity. Between voice search and on-screen guides, I can still flip to live TV easily when needed.

Overall, the voice remote stands out as a highlight, adding worthwhile functionality not found with most budget TV remotes. It likely utilizes the same speech recognition tech that powers Alexa devices.

Build Quality

Don‘t expect stellar construction or aesthetically pleasing design from an Insignia Fire TV‘s chassis. The plastics feel hollow and thin, prone to scratches over time. And the chunky bezels lack the sleek, uniform appearance of high-end sets.

I mounted my Insignia Fire TV to the wall since I worried about it easily toppling from an uneven surface or accidental bump. The light weight surprised me at first but contributes to the somewhat chintzy feel. Materials and manufacturing clearly got cut to reach such low price points.

With reasonable care and no plans to move it around much, the build quality proves adequate for static placement. But it can‘t compare to dense, premium constructions from the likes of Samsung, LG and Sony.

Fire TV Experience

As hinted to already, Insignia Fire TVs run Amazon‘s Fire TV platform for smart functionality. This was my first exposure to Fire TV after years using Roku devices. And while different than the Roku approach, Fire TV proves smooth and capable for streaming.

Rather than siloing content within individual apps, the Fire TV home screen aggregates movies and shows from multiple services together. Jumping between Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and more happens seamlessly. And of course you can still launch dedicated apps if preferred.

I encountered the occasional lag or visual bug, but far less frequently than with my old LG webOS setup. Voice commands and text searches surface results quickly without much friction. Overall Fire TV offers better-than-expected responsiveness and utility.

What‘s Special About an Insignia Fire TV?

Really nothing stands out as terribly "special" given Insignia‘s affordable price points. You‘ll need to look to brands like Samsung, Sony and LG for truly unique display tech and premium features.

But considering its budget tier status, the inclusion of Fire TV elevates an Insignia from an ultra-basic "dumb" TV to a capable smart streaming portal. And the voice remote‘s excellent microphone and search makes navigation easier than expected.

Beyond these smart features, Insignia Fire TVs focus on no-frills simplicity from box to bezel. They aim to provide just "good enough" quality to meet needs at the lowest viable prices. And in that regard, it‘s hard to complain too loudly given the value returned.

How an Insignia Fire TV Differs from an Onn Roku TV

To provide comparison, let‘s examine how an Insignia Fire TV differs from a similarly priced Onn Roku TV. Along with Insignia, Onn represents an ultra-affordable house brand sold through major retailers like Walmart.

In terms of pricing, you can often find an Onn Roku TV for 20-30% less than a comparable Insignia Fire TV. However, reviewers cite better image quality and construction from Insignia models over Onn. And Insignia enjoys smarter integration via the Fire TV operating system.

Both brands cut significant corners that prevent competing with mid-range and premium televisions. But most buyers agree Insignia Fire TVs provide better bang for buck over rock-bottom brands like Onn. The extra dollars get you noticeably—if not dramatically—better performance and quality all around.

Should You Buy an Insignia Fire TV?

An Insignia Fire TV works best as an affordable smart TV option for secondary rooms like guest bedrooms, dorms, home offices and kitchens. The simplicity, voice controls and low cost suit these use cases well.

But I would hesitate recommending one as the main television in a household‘s living room or home theater. Viewing distances tend to increase in these spaces, magnifying an Insignia‘s shortcomings like lower resolution, poor viewing angles and light construction.

That said, even these drawbacks fade for the right buyer. If your budget prevents anything pricier or you just need basic streaming in a pinch, an Insignia likely satisfies. Just know its limitations and align expectations accordingly.

Ideally, wait for seasonal sales when Insignia Fire TVs get discounted 20-40% off MSRP. This stretches value further and makes it easier to overlook corner-cutting. For light streamers on tight budgets, catching a deal makes success more likely.

The Bottom Line

After over a year‘s hands-on experience, I give the Insignia Fire TV line a solid "B" grade. The combo of low cost, simplicity and Fire TV smart features outweigh the expected drawbacks to display, audio and build. Just set realistic expectations and pair with a soundbar.

Insignia Fire TVs deserve consideration among shoppers wanting the basics on a strict budget. Just don‘t expect them to dazzle beyond the price tag. Think of one as the Honda Civic of televisions—affordable, capable transportation from Point A to Point B without luxury appointments.

For the right user, primarily concerned with streaming apps and voice controls over aesthetic flair, an Insignia Fire TV delivers. But premium shoppers wanting the very best image, construction and sound should look elsewhere…or be prepared to pay for upgrades later.

Do you own an Insignia Fire TV with thoughts to share? Let me know your experience in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can you buy an Insignia TV?

Insignia TVs are exclusive to Best Buy, both online and in most retail locations. More recently, Amazon has also begun selling certain Insignia Fire TV models.

Do you need an Amazon Prime subscription to use a Fire TV?

No. An Amazon Prime account is not necessary, though it obviously provides access to that content catalog. There‘s also plenty of free streaming content available.

Can you connect a Roku or Apple TV to an Insignia Fire TV?

Yes. Insignia Fire TVs include HDMI ports to connect additional external streaming devices. You‘ll still need to navigate the onboard Fire TV interface and change inputs to access the connected device though.

Does Insignia offer Roku TV models?

No. Insignia only uses the Fire TV platform for its smart TV operating system currently. Brands like TCL, Hisense and Onn sell Roku TV models instead.

Can you connect an antenna or cable box to an Insignia Fire TV?

Yes. Insignia Fire TVs include built-in TV tuners that allow connecting an OTA antenna for local channels or a cable box from your provider.