Insignia NS-P502Q-10A 50 Inch Plasma HDTV Reviewed

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insignia_ns_p502-LCD-HDTV.gifInsignia, known better as Best Buy's house brand of electronics, has come on strong as of late with their myriad of affordable HDTV product offerings. Their NS-P502Q-10A reviewed here is just one of many sub-$1,000 HDTVs in Insignia's stable. The NS-P502Q-10A is a 50-inch plasma-based HDTV which retails for a rather attractive $899.99 and is sold exclusively at Best Buy. What you get for your money is simple and straightforward. Keep in mind that while the price may be attractive, the NS-P502Q-10A faces some stiff competition from the likes of Vizio, arguably the budget HDTV leader, as well as Toshiba and Samsung.

Additional Resources:
• Read reviews of other top performing plasma HDTVs from Panasonic, Pioneer, LG, Samsung and others at HomeTheaterReview.com.
 

The NS-P502Q-10A is a 50-inch 1080p native plasma display measuring in at 48 inches wide by 30 inches tall (without the included stand) and three inches deep (without the stand) and tips the scales at 76 pounds. The NS-P502Q-10A features two HDMI inputs as well as a built in HDTV tuner for viewing HDTV signals via airborne signals though you'll need an antenna or digital set top box to take full advantage, both of which are sold separately. In terms of other inputs, the NS-P502Q-10A plays host to a single composite video input along with two component video inputs. The NS-P502Q-10A has a reported 30,000:1 contrast ratio, in Dynamic mode, as well as a 1,000/cd/m brightness rating into its 600Hz refresh rate screen. Internal video processing is not named but the NS-P502Q-10A does offer 3:2 pulldown (don't all displays these days?) and a 3D Y/C digital comb filter which is said to deliver state of the art detail and color enhancements on film based sources. The NS-P502Q-10A is Energy Star qualified, which will save you a bit at the meter over older or previous generation plasma displays but for the ultimate in savings you're going to want to look at an LCD or better yet, an LED-based display. The NS-P502Q-10A has (2) 10 Watt built-in speakers with SRS TruSurround HD processing to emulate a surround sound movie experience, which is surprisingly effective though it won't completely envelope you the way five speakers and a subwoofer can.

In terms of performance the NS-P502Q-10A is pretty much average in almost every regard; performance akin to first or second-generation plasma displays versus those available today. A Pioneer Kuro competitor the NS-P502Q-10A is not, for the image is fairly noisy and showcases digital artifacts even with Blu-ray source material. Black levels are better with the NS-P502Q-10A over Insignia's LCD based HDTVs but still not on par with what you'll get from Vizio or Panasonic, causing some film based material to appear a bit washed out. Colors are nicely saturated and definitely pop, though they're not the most sophisticated nor are they able to be reigned in through calibration the way you can with costlier sets. While primary colors may be well and good via the NS-P502Q-10A, it's the subtleties and transitions between the shades that cause the NS-P502Q-10A some grief, with noticeable banding and an overall lack of dimension throughout, if I'm honest. White levels are very bright though a bit prone to blooming and can easily display digital artifacts within, especially during rapid fire scenes and/or camera pans like those you'd see in a HDTV broadcast of a sporting event.

Read about the high points and the low points of the NS-P502Q-10A on Page 2.

HTR Product Rating for Insignia NS-P502Q-10A 50 Inch Plasma HDTV

Criteria Rating

Performance

2.5

Value

4

Overall

3.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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High Points
• The NS-P502Q-10A is a very affordable way to get into the HDTV game if you haven't already.
• If you're looking for a non critical display for a child's room or game room, then the NS-P502Q-10A is a great HDTV to consider, for it is very straightforward, easy to use and does only what a basic HDTV should without confusing the user with things like widgets, Internet connectivity and the like.
• The NS-P502Q-10A is better suited for source material of the animated or sitcom variety, so if you're one to watch a lot of prime time programming or films from Pixar the NS-P502Q-10A should do the trick. 
• The NS-P502Q-10A's speakers are not bad and the SRS TruSurround is definitely an added bonus.

Low Points
• The NS-P502Q-10A is an okay value for its asking price. However if you're willing to step up an extra hundred or two, you'll find yourself playing in a whole other ballgame in terms of HD performance. 
• The NS-P502Q-10A lacks inputs and connectivity options that many of today's HDTVs now offer at or around the NS-P502Q-10A's asking price. 
• With 3D right around the corner the NS-P502Q-10A is going to leave you behind the curve, as it has no upgrade path of any kind.

Conclusion
The NS-P502Q-10A from Insignia is a bare bones HDTV designed to get holdouts or cash strapped consumers (aren't we all these days?) off the fence and into the game. On that level the NS-P502Q-10A succeeds, for it is definitely an affordable solution, not to mention a big set. However it may do a few too many things wrong and not offer enough "toys" to make it the strongest of investments. If you already own an HDTV or two and are looking for an additional display to go in a guest bedroom or game room, then the NS-P502Q-10A might be perfect for you, but if you're looking to buy your first or a primary HDTV, I strongly urge you to look at all of the available options.

Additional Resources:
• Read reviews of other top performing plasma HDTVs from Panasonic, Pioneer, LG, Samsung and others at HomeTheaterReview.com.


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