By Don Lindich
Week 1, 2019
Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve received a very large quantity of email recently, with lots of really great questions about lots of different subjects. I am falling a bit behind in my replies but am working hard to catch up so if you have written to me and I did not reply yet, please be patient. If it has been more than a week or two, don’t be afraid to drop me a line and remind me to get back to you!
My recent columns about televisions generated a particularly large quantity of mail, so look for more columns about televisions and programming in the weeks to come.
Q. Because of limited desk space I am looking for a 19-inch (or maybe a little larger) Smart Television with 1080p resolution. Does anyone make such a television?
A. I did not find much available in 1080p 19-inch TVs, and what I did see was nothing I would care to recommend. At small screen sizes like 19 inches to 26 inches, 720p resolution is more than enough anyway. In this age of 4K televisions, 720p can easily be looked down upon but it is still considered a high definition signal. Major networks ABC, Disney, ESPN and Fox all broadcast in 720p, so a lot of times people are watching a 720p program and don’t even know it.
As of late I have been impressed with the picture quality of the small Insignia brand televisions sold at Best Buy. The Insignia NS-24D310NA19 television has a 24-inch screen size and 720p resolution, and a really nice picture. Buyers concur, with a rating of 4.7/5 stars garnered in over 500 reviews. It is normally $129 but was on sale for $79 when I submitted this column. Even at $129 it is worth it. At $79, it’s a steal.
The Insignia has two HDMI ports, one of which can be used with your cable or satellite box. It has a built-in tuner so you can use it with an antenna to receive free over-the-air broadcasts as well. However it is not a Smart TV and you will find that most small TVs like this one do not have Smart TV functionality. Fortunately, you can add it with a $29 Roku Express. The Roku Express is a small box with a remote control. Connect the Roku Express to your TV using the included HDMI cable, set up an account on roku.com and you will be in business with a fun, easy-to-use streaming platform that has tons of programming choices, many of them free. After my very positive experience with Roku as implemented in the TCL 5 Series TV I went and bought a few Roku Express boxes myself and added them to the TVs around my house. I still use the Amazon Fire Stick with some televisions, but have come to prefer Roku for the interface and the ease of finding and adding channels. My own Roku account now has quite a few free channels featuring everything from Pokémon to old Western movies and TV shows. It’s about the most fun you can have for $29, and I highly recommend it. Other Roku devices are available if you want a voice remote or if you have a 4K television and wish to receive 4K programming. roku.com