The Insignia brand is sold exclusively through Best Buy retailers and includes products like TVs, DVD players, and digital photo frames. The NS-BRDVD is Insignia's first Blu-ray player, released in mid-2008. This is a Profile 1.1/BonusView player, which means it contains the necessary audio and video decoders for picture-in-picture content, but it lacks the BD-Live Web functionality you get when you move up to Profile 2.0. Prices continue to drop on this entry-level player, which was listed at a super-low $170 on December 1, 2008. Plus, the box includes a $100 coupon book to receive discounts on Blu-ray titles from Disney, Touchstone, and Miramax, which adds even more value.
Here's an overview of the player's features. In terms of connectivity, the NS-BRDVD covers the basics but lacks some higher-end options. On the video side, you get HDMI, component video, and composite video outputs (no S-video). For HDMI, the output-resolution options are Auto, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 1080p/24. While many players must be set up to output either 1080p/60 or 1080p/24, the Insignia offers separate 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 modes, so you can easily switch between the two for comparison. For component video, the output-resolution options are 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. The player doesn't include many of the advanced image adjustments you might find in more expensive players, but it does offer basic black-level adjustment (not available for HDMI), as well as MPEG and 3D noise reduction. For audio, the NS-BRDVD offers HDMI, optical and coaxial digital audio, and 2-channel analog audio outputs, but it doesn't have 7.1-channel analog audio outputs. The player will pass the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode; however, it lacks DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and only supports two-channel Dolby TrueHD decoding. It does have onboard decoding of Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution, but these formats are not as common. The NS-BRDVD can pass 7.1-channel PCM audio over HDMI, and the setup menu includes speaker settings to adjust size, channel, and delay for a 7.1-channel setup.
The disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, MP3, WMA, and JPEG playback; it also supports MP3, WMA, and JPEG playback via the SD card slot located on the front panel. Not surprisingly, the unit lacks advanced control ports, such as RS-232 or IR. Also, because it's not a Profile 2.0 player, it doesn't have an Ethernet port for easy firmware updates or BD-Live Web access. Insignia recently released a newer player, the $250 NS-2BRDVD, that adds Ethernet and USB ports, and the manual for the new player suggests a future BD-Live firmware update.
Read about the high points and the low points of the NS-BRDVD on Page 2.
- The NS-BRDVD supports 1080p/24 output for Blu-ray titles.
- The player can pass Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding in bitstream form over HDMI, so it's best mated with a receiver that has its own high-resolution audio decoders.
- It can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
- The SD card slot allows for easy playback of digital music and photos.
- It lacks the most desirable high-resolution audio decoders, and it lacks 7.1-channel analog audio outputs; so, it's not the best choice for someone who owns an older A/V receiver - unless you aren't interested in the ability to enjoy multichannel Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks.
- It is not Profile 2.0 and lacks an Ethernet port.
If you're looking for the best deal in Blu-ray, Insignia's NS-BRDVD is it, and the model does offer the important A/V fundamentals like 1080p/24 output and bitstream output of high-resolution audio over HDMI. However, with prices falling across the Blu-ray spectrum, you can get more features and better overall performance for only slightly more money.