Toshiba and Insignia have released their new Fire TV Edition televisions for 2020. There are 11 variations of screen size and resolution available across the US and Canada. They range from 24-inches for $149.99 and up to 55-inches for $429.99, with 32, 39, 43, and 50-inch sizes in between. There are more models this year than in previous years that support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Additionally, for the first time, there are now models that support DTS Virtual:X passthrough surround sound.
Distinguishing the new 2020 models from the old 2018/2019 models can be tricky at times, since some of the older models are still being sold and often alongside each other on the same product page. The easiest way to identify the new 2020 models, for both Toshiba and Insignia, is to look for “21” at the end of the model number of the TV. A couple models are not yet available to order, namely the Insignia 32-inch and Toshiba 55-inch, but their quick setup guides are published by Best Buy, here and here, so they may be coming in the future. Here are direct links to all the new models that I could find:
- 24-inch Insignia 720p:
- 32-inch Insignia 720p:
- US – Possibly Coming
- 32-inch Toshiba 720p:
- 39-inch Insignia 720p:
- 43-inch Toshiba 1080p:
- 43-inch Insignia 4K:
- 43-inch Toshiba 4K Dolby Vision:
- 50-inch Insignia 4K:
- 50-inch Toshiba 4K Dolby Vision:
- 55-inch Insignia 4K:
- 55-inch Toshiba 4K Dolby Vision:
- US – Possibly Coming
- Canada – CDN$699.99 at BestBuy
The 2020 Fire TV Edition televisions from Toshiba and Insignia come with a different remote than the 2018/2019 TVs. It’s actually the same remote included with the TCL and Nebula Fire TV Edition sounbars. On this new remote, the Home, Back, and Menu buttons have been moved below the directional circle, to match the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Cube remote. There are also now dedicated Channel UP/Down buttons. The other two new buttons are a Settings button (gear icon) that opens up the quick settings overlay and a Recents button (square icon) that opens a row of recently watched content. The button between the Channel and Volume buttons, that has a TV icon on it, was also on the previous remote and opens the live TV channel guide. The four app buttons this time are for Prime Video, Netflix, HBO, and Hulu.
The specs for the non-4K models haven’t been published, but the 2020 4K Fire TV Edition device specs can be found here for the Toshiba sets and here for the Insignia sets. For the 4K TVs, the specs haven’t changed too much from the 2018/2019 models. They still have 2GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO WiFi, and a 10/100 Ethernet port. The CPU is now a MediaTek T31 ARM Cortex-A55 at 1.5GHz, versus 1.4GHz in the old models, and the GPU is bumped up to the newer Mali-G52, versus last year’s Mali-T820. I don’t know exactly how these updates translate to performance improvements, but I suspect marginally better performing than the outgoing models.
As you’d expect, these TVs are running Fire OS 7, based on Android 9, which is the latest version of Amazon’s operating system. While it doesn’t really make much of a difference today, compared to Fire OS 6 on the older models, having the newer OS could result in a longer lifespan and app compatibility. Another addition that will help the longevity of these TVs is the addition of AV1 video codec support. These are the first Fire TV devices, TV or not, to support this new open format that is expected to compete with H.265 HEVC in the coming years. Also added this year is the addition of Miracast support.
Toshiba vs Insignia
Unlike the previous models, where both the Toshiba and Insignia models were pretty comparable and the one that was more discounted at the time tended to be the deciding factor between the two, Toshiba has pulled out ahead this year with some unique features. For starters, all of the Toshiba 4K models support Dolby Vision HDR, which is not found on any of the Insignia models. Additionally, the higher end Toshiba sets support DTS Virtual-X surround sound passthrough, which, again, is not found on the Insignia models. Of course, you need a compatible soundbar or AVR to take advantage of DTS’s latest competing format to Dolby Atmos, but it’s nice to know the option is there regardless.
Looking at the 43-inch and 50-inch 4K options from each brand, the addition of Dolby Vision and DTS Virtual:X on the Toshiba comes at only a $30 price increase. That seems like a no brainer, but that’s based on list price and these TVs will constantly be discounted. Even right now, as I write this, the 43-inch Insignia 4K is already on sale for $249.99, which is $50 off of its regular price, making the price premium for Toshiba’s set $80. For the 4K sets, if both are similarly priced at the time, I’d choose the Toshiba over the Insignia, but for non-4K sets or when one is more heavily discounted, price is still the biggest differentiator.