Insignia, a brand owned by Best Buy, has just launched Insignia Connected TV, a new line of televisions that features a Tivo user interface that helps users navigate settings and find content much faster than they currently do, even on high-end televisions. Just to make it clear: although the HDTV is using a Tivo user interface, it does NOT have the digital video recorder (DVR) component that Tivo is known for.

The user interface helps Insignia accomplish three primary objectives: Easy to 1/Connect 2/Use 3/ Find (content). The reason why this product exists in the first place is because Best Buy has noticed that smart TV may be smart on the paper, but their customers have been saying that even cutting-edge TVs often have terrible user interface, and were difficult to use. Being a huge retailer has to be useful to get this type of “field data”.insignia-connected-tvActing on this information, Insignia/Best Buy has built the TVs from the ground up, but when it came to the user interface, they turned to Tivo, one of the rare companies that has mastered 10-foot interfaces. That’s probably a good idea, because when we checked the live demo, it was working really well. Despite not having the DVR component, the TV still has the “brains” of Tivo when it comes to the recommendation engine. The broadband connection setup even has a built-in test which is very useful, and that I have yet to see on a Smart TV.

Concerning the “display” side of the television, Insignia has selected components with very decent specifications: LED lighting, 120Hz, 1080p, SRS audio and Rocketboost wireless audio connectivity. We particularly like the latter because it can be very convenient to setup fancier wireless speakers. That said, on the pure image quality front this is still amid-range TV that is close, but not quite as good as the best out there.

To be fair, many users may care more about “bang for the buck” than absolute image quality, especially if you take into account that the 42″ Insignia Connected TV costs $699, while high-end LED TVs of comparable size can go as high as $1200 on Amazon. The Insigna 32″ costs $499. The price also includes a 2-year warranty (most TVs have a 1-year warranty).

The Insignia connected TV will update itself even when in sleep mode (this is nice) to stay up-to-date with the latest features and fixes.

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