Best Buy’s Insignia HDTV TiVo Launching Soon with Chumby Apps


If you had any doubts that Best Buy will be launching an Insignia-branded, TiVo-powered HDTV any day now… well, I can pretty much put them to rest. Since my previous speculative coverage, a treasure trove of product packaging photos have come my way – providing a decent amount of detail:

The only TV that combines the power of the Internet with the legendary TiVo user interface, all in stunning HD. You’ll find entertainment from both broadcast TV and the Internet with just a few clicks of your remote. Now get what you want when you want it.

Award-winning TiVo experience: Easily access all your favorite TV shows, movies and more with the easy-to-use TiVo user interface.

Broadband connected: Delivers a plethora of new entertainment choices, including TV, Movies, Music and Games.

Intelligent Search: Search by title, actor, director, keyboard and more…

Access to the best entertainment: Enjoy movies from Netflix, CinemaNow and Insignia On Demand, music from Pandora, and much, much more.


As expected, the 1080p HDTV features “TiVo Design” but “No DVR Included”. However, there’s also no monthly fee. Basically, what we have here is a connected television (via dual band 802.11n or Ethernet). And it looks as if TiVo’s app platform is about to expand with a few newcomers such as Twitter, Facebook, and Chumby offerings joining Pandora and Netflix. Based on the descriptions, I assume the LED LCD provides over-the-air ATSC tuning… but no digital cable CableCARD capabilities. There’s also no mention of TiVo Premiere-to-HDTV streaming. But that may be too technical for box marketing and the feature hasn’t been officially announced. So I’m still holding out hope. Lastly, the backlit universal remote looks a bit like a TiVo peanut and Samsung controller got together…

As far as timing and pricing, I’ve seen nothing to contradict materials declaring 7/31 as the big day and I’m told Best Buy’s Insignia HDTV TiVo will ship in two models — a 32″ running $599 and a 42″ version pegged at $999.

38 thoughts on “Best Buy’s Insignia HDTV TiVo Launching Soon with Chumby Apps”

  1. That seems stunningly expensive, no? Is the TiVO interface worth that much of a premium without a DVR? I bought a ‘connected’ 42″ Vizio, 1080p, 120hz with all the various Yahoo widgets available, and 3D, and it even came with 2 pairs of passive polarized glasses for under $700. I realize there are better spec’ed TVs out there, but what makes this thing worth $999?

  2. Did you buy a LCD or a LED LCD? I find the LED tends to demand a price premium. From what I looked on Best Buy’s site, they offer two LED TVs at 42″, the Toshiba at $1199 and the RCA at $599.

    I am a Plasma guy so I have never looked into LED pricing to see what the average going MSRP is of the various LED sets.

  3. Beats the heck out of me. Unless you get all your programming streaming from the internet and OTA, you’re going to need a DVR anyway. I guess if your DVR isn’t a TiVo and you don’t have any other device capable of playing netflix the built-in apps are worth something of a premium.

    And that “something” is $100, the cost of a Roku2.

  4. Thinking out loud I see two options for my new bedroom TV going forward. I don’t really need a DVR in my bedroom especially if I can stream from my living room TiVo.

    Option 1 is to buy this Insignia TV and connect it to an HD STB from my Cable Provider. That would give me the option of receiving all of my Cable Provider’s VOD + OTT from TiVo + Chumby Apps without changing inputs on the TV.

    Pros: Chumby Apps; Access to Cable Company’s VOD services
    Cons: Lack of integrated search across linear and OTT programming; No Amazon Instant Video Support?; No Hulu Plus?; …

    Option 2 is to buy a different TV and connect a Preview box + CableCard + external Tuning Adapter. If the Insignia TiVo streamed from the Premiere or Premiere Elite I would be very tempted to go the first route.

    Pros: Integrated TiVo experience across Linear and OTT programming; Streaming from the TiVo Premiere; Possibly better software upgrade support?; Support for TiVo Slide Remote
    Cons: Additional external box (Tuning Adapter); No Chumby Apps?

    Looking through this list of Pros & Cons I think I will be moving towards the latter option but Option 1 isn’t a horrible option for someone who wants the cable companies programming and doesn’t want another external box (Roku, ATV, etc. )

  5. I would pay a small premium for a TV that would work as a basic live TV (OTA or Cablecard), Netflix and as a TiVo client to access recordings off another TiVo. Having no extra boxes or remotes for a bedroom or office TV would be nice. But for much more expensive than a house brand TV + Roku? This isn’t all that much cheaper than an Inisignia 42″ TV + Tivo Premiere with lifetime service.

  6. “I am at work so it is tough to look at the pics, is there no pic of the remote?”

    For a long time, the feature I’ve long thought belonged in a “smart” TV is a “screen mute” button on the remote, so it can be gracefully used for music.

    If anyone is ever going to figure that, it should be TiVo…

  7. The pricing makes absolute sense. Look up the prices of LED TVs. This is a LED-LCD not a LCD. The average MSRP of a 42″ LED is $1199 on Amazon

    What price were you all expecting for a LED TV with built in WiFi?

    “For a long time, the feature I’ve long thought belonged in a “smart” TV is a “screen mute” button on the remote, so it can be gracefully used for music.

    If anyone is ever going to figure that, it should be TiVo…”

    Have you looked at Media Center? Their screen saver is a fade to almost black so it is tough to see it is even on. The 360 does the same thing when in Media Center/exteder mode.

  8. Brennok, I’m still percolating and will have more thoughts later… but here’s a 42″ Vizio LED LCD with Internet apps, a QWERTY remote, and a MSRP of $750:

    MZ, yeah it’s more slab shaped but with some TiVo buttons – you can see the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down. The Toshiba TiVo remote was actually my favorite for a long while. So I’m not so worried about the new form. Although a TiVo Slide remote would have been hot. Wonder if you can add one after the fact? There does appear to be a USB port… (although no eSATA, MZ)

  9. Umm, amazon has the googleTV for $752. Admittedly it’s 40″, but it’s a much better brand.

    Here’s a panasonic for $797, also a superior brand.

    And a vizio for $728. Vizio is a comparable brand to insignia. The vizio includes internet apps too. It plays netflix, vudu, and pandora.

    There are lots more examples, but of the 3 above I’d get the googletv. It’s 40″, but it’s a Sony and while googletv hasn’t exactly been a breakaway success, it’ll play tons of web video in its integrated browser.

  10. “Yeah, the pricing simply doesn’t make any sense. There’s just no way.”

    I’m sure there’s a market for a better “smart” TV.

    Personally, I think you should always keep the flat-panel separate from the inputs as a matter of economics, but I’m not the entire market.

  11. Rodalpho, while I mostly agree with the direction you’re going, two of the three you listed run at 60Hz versus the 120Hz of the Insignia set. Also, we can’t confirm the pricing the way we can confirm product details written the box. So perhaps my intel is incorrect and these prices are off. We shall see…

    Chucky, without a CableCARD slot that’s how I’m leaning.

  12. I personally don’t notice 3:2 pulldown, and don’t really think it’s a killer feature at this low price point. People who care about that stuff already know what they want and it’s not a cut-rate house brand like Insignia.

    Then again, I guess if the Insignias and Vizios of the world were comparable to the higher-end brands, they’d be in the running too.

  13. I don’t really get this.

    So you have a TiVo w/o the DVR. Does that mean it’s only TiVo remote device used to stream?

    There’s no cable card so I’m guessing the whole TiVo interface/guide is a wash unless you’re OTA only.

    I really think these ‘internet connected’ TVs are short sighted. The TV will long outlast the goofy little widget that they give you. My TV has goofy widgets. They’re slow and painful to use. I looked at them initially to see what was there but it’s far easier to look at any other device in my house to get the same information faster.

    Reminds me of Gateway’s Destination TV. It ran Windows 98. It sold for $2000 in 1999. I’m guessing most folks were abandoning it by 2001-2002 if not sooner.

  14. I have seen it and it is really greate. Picture quality is really good and owning it means you have a entertainment box by wich you will never get boar.

  15. Even if it doesn’t have a dvr, it would be nice if you could schedule a channel change, my wife is disabled and we use a series 1 Tivo (11 years orig hd) to change the channel throughout the day, (no hands). We don’t record anything to keep.

  16. Like others, this thing confuses me. Okay, so some time back a lot of TVs came with guide data. The problem being of course that the guide data was for OTA channels and most people hook up their TVs to cable or satellite STBs. Meaning also that a) the guide only had a subset of the shows you could watch (or in some cases even some shows you couldn’t watch), b) the channels were wrong, and c) even if those things weren’t problems you couldn’t actually use the guide to change the channel. So most of those things went by the wayside. And TVs don’t come with channel guides anymore.

    Now unless this is somehow different, like it has a cable card slot or something, its got the same problem right? How is the guide worth anything to me? Can it send out network commands to an attached Tivo to get it to change the channel? Seems unlikely, and wouldn’t work for most people who won’t have Tivo but rather a Cisco or Motorola STB…

    Then there’s the apps. Okay, so it supports the apps that Best Buy owns so they’re incented to sell it, but really its app selection isn’t really any better than any other ‘internet connected’ TV on the market is it? I’ve got Netflix, Vudu, Hulu Plus and Amazon on my Samsung, plus Pandora. Of those this has Netflix and a subset of Amazon, e.g. not including the Amazon Prime streaming stuff (e.g. free). And like Dave and Mega have pointed out the Netflix app is ancient, and the general state of these apps is pretty creaky compared to some of the competition–say Apple TV or Roku, both under $100.

    Certainly this avoids the switching inputs problem. But that seems to be about it…

  17. @Glenn I was wondering the same thing about changing channels on a non tivo cable box connected via hdmi…The only thing I can think of is TiVo is either adding a ir blaster to the tv so when you hit change channel to “The Daily Show” at 11pm the software will know that it needs to change the cable boxes channel to 878 and send that over its own ir blaster, Or the tv’s remote could be bluetooth or have some 2-way communication with the tv so the tv could tell the remote it needs to change the channel to 878 when you select the daily show and then the remote is a universal remote already with you cable box code entered so it would send it over its ir port.

  18. @Ben I do wish people would work to enable the use of HDMI CEC so all this crap was unnecessary. The TV really should be able to send channel change commands in through the HDMI cable to the DVR it is connected to, in some abstract vendor-independent form. Or at least something more reliable than IR blasters anyway. Why do I still have to use IR repeaters in 2011?

    There are lots of things this would improve. If I’m using Rdio or MOG or Spotify on my iPhone, and decide I want everybody to hear it, I set it up for Air Play to my Apple TV and the Apple TV automatically switches inputs on the TV (I’m it now!) so I don’t have to. Same with a Blu-Ray player when I hit Play or even just insert a disk.

    Any chance this is coming? Seems like the whole thing is being ignored by everybody.

  19. @Glenn that is one of the best statements I’ve read on the internet in a long time…I wish that hdmi control was widely used for everything but it seems over 99% of people have no idea about it or just don’t care at all, and that’s a real shame because it could make like so easy if everyone could just adhere to a standard

  20. Weren’t we promised something along the lines of ethernet connectivity between all of the home theater components about a year ago?

    Even so, I’ve often thought: Why not just put a fibre optic cable between all components and then have a protocol that sorts all of this out? The best we’ve had so far is something along the lines of: If you buy all Sony components, no matter how good or bad, then they communicate through some proprietary link like lynked (or some such stupid name).

    I really don’t understand why this wasn’t sorted out 20 years ago.

  21. “Hm, I’ve learned some interesting things… but today isn’t the day to share them.”

    Either TiVo has acquired Chumby, or else Chumby is being integrated into other TiVo devices.

  22. If you use HDMI cables to connect devices such like a DVR that would support CEC, you should be able to walk through the remote control setup (channel changes, etc.) by simply following the OSD guide (since it is a TiVo). Like the legacy TiVo HDMI control, you should be able to setup the cTV remote control in such a way that it can support the following functions (just some examples):
    – Power on/off all other HDMI-connected devices when the cTV is turned on/off.
    – MENU, Volume UP/Down, MUTE, or TiVo buttons can control other devices connected to the cTV through HDMI cables. I agreed with Glenn that the bottom line is folks should learn how to make use of cool technology like this.

  23. Is this the next Google TV?

    If you want apps like Netflix you can get them on the Roku or a $99 Blu-ray player.

  24. I was thinking does best buy usually not do press releases or announce new insignia products? I am just wondering if it is telling that best buy has said nothing now that the tv is coming out.

  25. It’s amazing how the more ‘proper’ tech blogging sites get simple stuff wrong.

    Dave has pics showing “NO DVR”

    e.g. Tech Crunch’s coverage today by John Biggs, who “is the editor of TechCrunch Gadgets.”

    “Insignia, Best Buy’s in-house tech brand, has just released a TV with a TiVo device built-in. Why? I suppose people didn’t want to have a separate DVR on their CE shelves. Two great tastes that taste great together, right? ”

    “Big deal? Nah, but a $499 32-incher with DVR built-in isn’t too bad and if you’re hard up for cash you can save a little money by sticking getting a TV and DVR in one. You’ll note that Yahoo! also has something called Connected TV, but they’re Yahoo! so who cares? Available now, presumably in time for Back-To-School.”

    -Retrieved on 8/1/11 @ 8:30am ET from

    Proof that any people can write news, but only some can report the news correctly, and actually know WTF they are reporting about. ;)

    Hat tip to Dave Zatz!

    PS – Tech Crunch has published many articles with errors and when I contact them, they never seem to update or when they do, never documents correction for readers. Bad form.

  26. Does anyone know of a way or a device that allows for a qwerty remote control? I called both Insignia and Tivo (they have a slide qwerty remote) and I am told that the 42 inch model NS-42E859A11 currently does not allow for qwerty remote functionality.
    If anyone has any ways around this or ideas, please advise?

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