Q: Because of limited desk space I am looking for a 19-inch (or maybe a little larger) smart television with 1080p resolution. Does anyone make such a television?
A: I did not find much available in 1080p 19-inch TVs, and what I did see was nothing I would recommend. At small screen sizes like 19 inches to 26 inches, 720p resolution is more than enough, anyway. In this age of 4K televisions, 720p is looked down upon by some people, but it is still considered a high-definition signal. Several networks — including ABC, Disney, ESPN and Fox — broadcast in 720p, so a lot of times people are watching a 720p program and don't even know it.
As of late, I have been impressed with the picture quality of the small Insignia televisions sold at Best Buy (bestbuy.com). The Insignia NS-24D310NA19 television has a 24-inch screen and 720p resolution, and it produces a really nice picture. Buyers concur, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars garnered in over 500 reviews. It is normally $129 but was on sale for $79 when I ran a computer search for it. Even at $129, it is worth it. At $79, it's a steal.
The Insignia has two HDMI ports, one of which can be used with your cable or satellite box. It has a built-in tuner, so you can use it with an antenna to receive free over-the-air broadcasts, as well. However, it is not a smart TV. That's not a criticism; most small TVs do not have smart TV functionality.
The good news is that you can add it with a $29 Roku Express. This is a small box with a remote control. Connect the Roku Express to your TV using the included HDMI cable, set up an account on roku.com and you will be in business with a fun, easy-to-use streaming platform that has tons of programming choices, many of them free. I have Roku Express boxes on my TVs. I still use the Amazon Fire Stick sometimes, but I have come to prefer Roku for the interface and the ease of finding and adding channels. My Roku account now has quite a few free channels featuring everything from Pokémon to old western movies and TV shows. Other Roku devices are available if, for instance. you want a voice remote or wish to receive 4K programming.
Going your separate ways
If you want the most power and best performance for your stereo, get separates, meaning a separate preamplifier and power amplifier. The preamplifier chooses the source, adjusts volume and balance/tone before sending the signal to the amplifier, which powers the speakers.
What is nice about this kind of setup is the flexibility it offers. If you buy a good amplifier, it will never become obsolete. I have amplifiers that are almost 30 years old, and they still do a flawless job of driving my speakers. If you want to update the system, you need change out only half of it. You can replace the preamplifier to add the features that you want. Or, if you decide you want more power, you can keep the preamplifier and change the amplifier. So, long-term, this solution delivers the most value.
This is pretty specialized, so if you want to go this route, you might want to e-mail me so we can review your needs and find a good setup for you.
Speaking of e-mail, I fell a bit behind in my replies, but I'm working hard to catch up. If you have written to me and I did not reply yet, please be patient. If it has been more than a couple of weeks, don't be afraid to drop me a line and remind me to get back to you.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.