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Insignia NS-42L780A12 LCD HDTV Review$599.00
A black level of 0.34 cd/m2 is very poor, even for an LCD screen. You could increase the depth of the black by lowering the backlight, but that would also lower the peak brightness. More on how we test black level.
The Insignia NS-42L780A12 was plenty bright for most needs. 304.22 cd/m2 is not the brightest LCD screen we've ever seen (and in the chart below, you can see that it is actually the dimmest), but it should still be able to stand up to the ambient lighting in most home theater environments. More on how we test peak brightness.
Unsurprisingly, the Insignia NS-42L780A12's contrast is poor. With a black level that's brighter than we would like and a peak brightness that is lackluster for a modern LCD television, the ratio comes out to about 895:1. That's only in the hundreds, when good TVs are capable of thousands. You might be able to improve the contrast by adjusting the Adaptive or Dynamic Contrast settings, but this runs the risk of destroying detail in shadows. Boosting the contrast also serves to crush dark shades into black and light ones into white. More on how we test contrast.
Our tunnel contrast test measures the black level of a shrinking black rectangle on a white background. LCD technology doesn't usually have a problem maintaining a deep black level, even when its surroundings are bright whites. The Insignia NS-42L780A12 lives up to this expectation. More on how we test tunnel contrast.
White falloff is the same as tunnel contrast, but the rectangle is white and the background is black. As with tunnel contrast, the Insignia NS-42L780A12 had no problem separating bright and dark areas, even when they are right next to each other. Even if the TV itself doesn't have very good contrast, it won't lose detail in intensely contrasting areas, like silhouettes. More on how we test white falloff.
The Insignia NS-42L780A12 was very weak in uniformity. On a completely white screen, the only issue was a noticeable dimming in corners and along the edges. On a black screen, however, there was major flashlighting in especially the bottom corners. Since the viewing angle of the display is not great, if you are sitting very close to the TV, the corners may appear even lighter due to a drop in contrast. More on how we test white falloff.
The Insignia NS-42L780A12 performed decently in the greyscale gamma test. The chart below shows the transition that greyscale makes as it goes from black to white. Since the curve is straight and even, it indicates a smooth transition. There is a little bit of a "knee" at the end, which means darker greys are crushed into black, but we have seen much worse. This transition is actually quite smooth, although it is a little steep with a slope of 2.67 when it should be around 2.15. More on how we test greyscale gamma.