Best Buy has officially rolled out its “Insignia” house-brand line of TiVo-equipped TVs. These isn’t quite the same TiVo, though: This TiVo isn’t capable of recording anything. Sounds pretty dumb, right?
Dumb like a fox.
You’re basically getting a nicely-outfitted TV (LED backlighting, 1080p resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, two-year warranty) with a built-in internet connection to Netflix and similar services atop an interface that’s light years beyond the clunky menu systems found on just about every other TV. And there are no monthly TiVo subscription fees, either.
(MORE: TiVo Changes Pricing. Again.)
So let’s say you’re one of those evil cord-cutters that the cable industry’s so worried about—you get your TV online via Netflix, Hulu and myriad other newfangled services without shelling out $100 a month to Comcast. These TVs may be right up your alley. You pay for the TV, enjoy the nice TiVo interface, and use the TV’s available online services to consume content.
It’s far from a perfect plan yet—there’s no Hulu, you can’t stream content downloaded to your computer, and the TVs themselves aren’t exactly cheap if you’re trying to save money on your entertainment setup—but it’s a step in the right direction and, believe it or not, the prices of consumer electronics devices have a tendency to move in a downward direction.
As for pricing, the 32-inch version will cost $500 and the 42-inch version will cost $700—at press time, the prices listed on Best Buy’s site were $600 and $1,000, respectively, but a company rep confirmed that those were errors that would be fixed. The press release lists the correct prices.
The TVs’ online services include Netflix, CinemaNow, YouTube, Pandora, Napster, and Chumby apps—little widgets that can hook into your Facebook, Twitter and various photo accounts along with just about every other possible use imaginable. Chumby’s featured apps section lists some of the more prominent selections, if you’re interested.
And if you find yourself longing for the comfort of a cable subscription or Apple TV, it’s not like these TVs won’t work with external boxes—they’ve got HDMI inputs just like any other TV. But if you’re looking for a TV with the ability to stream online video content with minimal setup and no switching between inputs, these both seem like they’d make for decent options.
Now we just need some smaller and cheaper models for dens and rumpus rooms—the world NEEDS MORE RUMPUS ROOMS—and we need Best Buy to fix the pricing on the site. If you’re reading this and the pricing has been fixed, greetings from beyond the graaaave the recent past.