TCL vs. Insignia: Which TV Lineup Is the Better Value?

tcl vs. insignia

TCL vs. Insignia: Which TV Lineup Is the Better Value?

Key Points

  • TCL and Insignia are budget TV brands with features that make them a good choice for price-conscious users.
  • TCL offers higher-end models with better performance and picture quality compared to Insignia.
  • Insignia TVs have lower brightness, narrower viewing angles, and lack important features like local dimming and lower input latency.
  • Both TCL and Insignia have poor built-in speakers, but TCL has better audio support with options for Dolby Atmos.
  • TCL offers options for both Roku TV and Google TV interfaces, while Insignia uses Amazon’s Fire TV interface.
  • TCL has better overall build quality with thinner bezels and more mounting options.
  • TCL is the clear winner in terms of overall quality and variety of options compared to Insignia.

Who wins between TCL vs. Insignia? Both TCL and Insignia are often thought of as budget TV brands. However, these “budget” brands come with quite a few features to make their TVs a great choice for any price-conscious user.

It can be a bit difficult to determine which TV is the best fit for you. There are so many different types of displays on the market that it can seem like you’re drowning in choices.

So, you might as well get some clarification before you start budgeting for your next TV purchase. It is time to pit these two manufacturers against each other to see which one comes out on top.

TCL vs. Insignia: Side-by-Side Comparison

PricingOffers different models, ranging from low-end to high-end QLED TVsMostly lower-cost models subcontracted to various manufacturers, like Hisense
Maximum Resolution Supported8K4K
Local DimmingQLED models come with excellent local dimming zonesMost models don’t support local dimming
Picture QualityGenerally excellent, with minimal flickering and motion blurLess than stellar motion transitioning can result in motion blur
Audio SupportSome models come with Dolby Atmos and DTS Surround Sound supportDTS Surround Sound, DTS Virtual X, and other standard codecs supported
Viewing AnglesOn the narrower end, but adequate for most viewing situationsVery narrow, can be an issue when arranging seating in your viewing area

Insignia is very much a budget brand and is made for the likes of Amazon and Best Buy. As such, you can’t expect stellar results for the price range of these TVs. There are some marked differences between both brands.

TCL vs. Insignia: What’s the Difference?

Now that the broader overview of these two brands is out of the way, it’s time to take a deeper dive into these TVs to see which one is the best overall purchase for you.


Great for Gamers
TCL 55″ Class 6-Series
  • 4K Ultra HD
  • Led backlighting with contrast control zones
  • Dolby Vision HDR
  • Auto game mode delivers smooth action, low latency, and the best picture settings for gaming
  • 4 HDMI inputs (one with HDMI ARC)
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Generally speaking, TCL’s higher-end models are going to perform at a much better capacity than Insignia’s. When you compare the two brands side-by-side, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

TCL has televisions that go well into the thousands of dollars, with a great mid-range option being the 6-Series. You get great motion support, superb brightness, and automatic gaming mode support.

When you contrast that against something like the Insignia F30, there isn’t really a fair and equal comparison. The F30 is a budget 4K display and is one of the absolute cheapest on the market to boot. It doesn’t have the greatest motion support, with blurring noticeable on high-motion video.

Generally speaking, color support is good, but don’t expect deep blacks or accurate whites in brighter videos. Insignia displays are generally less bright, even at the higher end of the product line.

Image Quality

4K on a Budget
TCL 50" Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR Smart Google TV
  • 4K Ultra HD resolution with HDR support.
  • Powered by Google Assistant and voice controls.
  • Built-in Chromecast with access to top streaming services.
  • Custom watchlists through Google TV. 
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Again, this isn’t a fair comparison, but TCL is the clear winner when it comes to overall picture quality. Something like the 4-Series is very budget friendly but offers better contrast, colors, and motion support right out of the box.

Higher-end televisions like the QM8 are oozing with quality image content. You’re getting rich and deep colors with super motion support and minimal input latency. The image quality isn’t quite on par with something like the LG G3, but it comes quite close.

Looking at the budget end of Insignia like the F20 line just continues to paint a disappointing picture. The general color quality is great, make no mistake about that. However, you’re losing standard features like local dimming zones and lower input latency.

Budget Choice
INSIGNIA 32-inch Class F20 Series Smart HD 720p Fire TV
  • Quick & easy setup
  • Alexa pre-installed
  • Build-in Fire Tv
  • Sleek display
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Insignia doesn’t really have support for lower input latency, which is very noticeable when gaming on demanding titles like Fortnite or Apex Legends. It is very much a case of getting what you pay for when looking at an Insignia TV.

They aren’t bad TV sets by an appreciable measure, but they are lacking vital features that can really accentuate and enhance your enjoyment of shows, movies, and games.

Audio Support

Neither one of these TV brands is going to win awards based on the general quality of the built-in speakers. This is a very fair comparison to make, as the quality of the built-in speakers on both brands is generally quite lacking.

Now, this is to be expected when looking at the speakers on any particular television set. You aren’t purchasing a TV for the quality of the audio it’s pumping out, after all. TCL has slightly better overall frequency response but is very heavy on mid-frequencies.

The same is applicable to Insignia, with poor bass response and a tendency to have harmonic distortion when pushed to higher levels. You’ll likely be purchasing a soundbar of some sort to get the best out of your viewing experience.

TCL does have more robust support for standard audio codecs, like digital surround and Dolby Atmos. Insignia TVs can come with Dolby Digital support, but you aren’t likely to find Dolby Atmos.


Stunning Picture Quality
TCL 65-Inch QM8
  • 240Hz refresh rate
  • 4K resolution
  • Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support
  • Alexa compatible
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TCL comes with options for both Roku TV and Google TV for its primary operating systems. These are great options if you’re looking for something that is easy to navigate while presenting a familiar interface. Google TV is essentially Android for televisions.

You get access to the Play Store and a variety of streaming providers. Roku TV is identical in function to the Roku streaming device interface. It is quick to navigate and a familiar sight if you’re used to devices like the 4K Express.

Insignia utilizes Fire TV, a proprietary operating system developed by Amazon. This functions very similarly to the version of Android that Amazon packages in its Fire tablets and Fire Sticks.

It is fine to navigate but could be a bit more responsive. Still, given the price, it is absolutely remarkable to have smart TVs in the sub-$200 range.

Build Quality

Low Cost 4K
Insignia F30 4K TV
  • DTS Studio Sound
  • No need for a separate soundbar
  • Supports Bluetooth for easy listening on headphones
  • Comes with Alexa pre-installed
  • Fire TV gives access to thousands of shows
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Both television brands are fairly equal when it comes to overall construction. These are going to be thicker TV sets, especially if you’re looking for something as thin as an OLED display.

Insignia often has more pronounced bezels on the sides of the screen, but they aren’t glaringly huge. The legs on most sets, like the F30, are great for supporting the weight of the television. You also have access to VESA mounting, with the F30 having a 400×300 mount.

Returning back to the 4-Series for TCL reveals a similar level of build quality. The legs are adequate for the weight of the television. The bezels on the 4-Series are generally thinner, so you’ve got more area for the main display itself to be visible.

It also comes with a VESA mount, with the smaller 300×300 option being included from the factory.

TCL vs. Insignia: 6 Must-Know Facts

  1. TCL licenses QLED technology from Samsung for its high-end displays.
  2. TCL makes TVs across a wide variety of price points.
  3. The QM8 is one of the best high-end TVs on the market for gaming and sports media.
  4. Insignia makes televisions for Amazon and Best Buy.
  5. Insignia TVs don’t have local dimming zones.
  6. Insignia TVs are currently some of the most affordable 4K TVs on the market.

TCL vs. Insignia: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

So, which manufacturer wins this shootout? There really isn’t much in the way of competition when directly comparing TCL against Insignia. As such, TCL has absolutely run away with the winner’s trophy.

TCL has more options across more price points with better overall picture quality than Insignia has in its product line.

Insignia does offer some compelling options for users looking to get a 4K TV without breaking the bank. However, you can’t expect the same level of quality from the F30 as you’d get from something like the 6-Series or QM8.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Insignia support variable refresh rates?

No, you’ll more than likely find any particular TV set has a standard 60Hz refresh rate.

Are TCL TVs good for gaming?

Some models are absolutely excellent for gaming with high refresh rates and AMD Free Sync support.

Are Insignia TVs budget friendly?

Absolutely; even the high-end models aren’t going to cost over $1,000.

Is TCL a reputable brand?

TCL is a reputable brand; they’ve made quite a bit of headway into improving the product line on offer over the last few years.

Is purchasing an Insignia TV a poor choice?

Not necessarily; it might be the right choice for your budget. Not every household has the means to purchase a TV set costing thousands of dollars.

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