Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Olevia 237V 37" LCD HDTV Review

Olevia 237V 37″ LCD HDTV (1080i)  Olevia 237V 37" LCD HDTV Review

Syntax/Olevia is a LCD TV company that most have never heard or have seen.  They have recently had some great deals on mid size LCD HDTVs (usually 1080i since 1080p's will up the anter a good $200 or so) for under a grand.  I recently was able to score an Olevia 237V 37" LCD HDTV (1080i) on newegg for a nice $730 shipped and thus my entry into the HDTV realm.  Again, is it worth the money saved to get a no-name/generic LCD HDTV? Lets find out, shall we?

Up until about 3 months ago, I was very anti-HDTV.  I was one of those, 'it doesn't make a difference' or 'why do i need that much detail person'.  However I started to become curious to see what I might be missing and was hooked instantly.  Up until now, i have been viewing my HDTV on my Dell 24" Widescreen (1080i) monitor on a cable HD DVR box.

Packaging:

Honestly, horrible! Most places that you buy from on the internet have a policy in that if you sign for it and its damaged, you have to go to the manufacturer and cannot get a refund; however if you refuse delivery due to damage, they are liable for refunding or replacement.  Just thought i'd give everyone a heads up on this since the packaging for this HDTV is almost non-existent.  I received my HDTV w/a little puncture in the box (not by the LCD though, phew!) but still signed for it hoping there wouldn't be any problems.  After getting the packaging off, I put her on the stand.

Included in the box, TV, Remote, Quick Startup Guide, Manual on CDROM, Batteries for remote.

Basic Specs/Important Info:



















































Display
Screen Size37"
Recommended Resolution1366 x 768
Aspect Ratio16:9
Video Processor
Viewing Angle
MTK MDDI Technology
178°(H) / 178°(V)
Contrast Ratio1600:1
Response Time8ms
Connectivity
Input Video CompatibilityPC Input: Analog RGB
TV Tuner Input: ATSC/NTSC
HDTV: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i
HDTV CapabilityHDTV Tuner Inside
ConnectorsComponent Input: 3 Component + 3 R/L RCA Audio (VGA connector accepts as 3rd Component source)
AV Input: 2 composite + 2 R/L RCA Audio
S-Video Input: 2 S-Video with R/L RCA Audio
Digital Input: PC + Video, Plug & Play, CEA EDID Extensions
VGA Input: RGB 15 Pin D-sub with Analog EDID, PC + Video, Plug & Play, Third Component Input + R/L RCA Audio
Audio Output: 1 R/L Audio
Digital Output: 1 SPDIF
1 Stereo Mini Jack
HDCP ReadyYes
HDMIYes

Installation:

fairly simple except for ONE THING: there is a power toggle switch by the power cable!!  It took me a few minutes to find this and made me start to get that swirl in my stomach of a bad lcd (had a prob w/3 lcds i ordered in the past), however i checked the power cable one more time and spotted the rocker.  Flipped her on and the olevia startup screen appeared.

Power toggle

The inputs/outputs on the tv are located in reachable areas.  There are a ton of inputs on this thing too including a QAM Tuner ( read more here:  wikipedia entry)

  • HDMIx1

  • Componentx2

  • VGAx1

  • Compositex2

  • S-Videox2

  • Optical Digital Audio Out

  • Coaxil In (HD OTA, Cable, QAM Tuner)


Setup was fairly simple with it, if you've setup a home theater or tv before, you should have no problems.  the exclusion of a paper manual does leave a few people in the dark (those w/a pc readily available) if they need to find an input/setting.  Also, when you turn on the TV be sure to not put it into Showroom mode, you will not have access to all of the functions as in Home mode.

Image Quality/Viewing:

First off, i am not a 'hardcore' HDTV buff.  I'm fairly new to the HDTV sector and got my first taste of it via my PC, ATI HDTV Wonder, and my Dell 24" LCD (1080i).   I currently have a Scientific America 8300HD DVR box for cable connected via Component at 1080i (upconverted for most), Nintendo Wii via component at 480p and just added a PS3 and connect that via HDMI.

Image quality is great.  In comparison to my pals Samsung HP S4253 42" plasma it is nearly identical. However, I have noticed less pixelization on the Olevia than his (using Fifth Element Superbit) and also less ghosting.  Contrast levels are very good for an LCD, however the Samsung wins on this one.  Contrast in comparison to my Dell 24" LCD is better on the Olevia though.

Colors also look very good.  Whites sometimes may have a very slight blue hue however this may be due to my color temp i use (native).   Flesh tones are accurate.  HDTV content looks great like w/all HDTVs. SDTV looks pretty decent too.  Of course its going to be less clear, pixelated due to it be Standard Def (480i).  1080i content looks very crisp. Again, take down the sharpness setting if you notice blurry or pixelization.

This LCD TV also has PIP and PBP options so you can split the screen in PBP mode w/two sources.  Also, this LCD can be used with a HTPC or PC by hooking one up via the VGA connection.  Text is very readable and clear since it has a native resolution of 1366x768.

image w/pip on

My Nintendo Wii plays very well on it, there is no delay or audio/video sync problems. However if you do have AV sync problems, this TV has a setting to let you account for such delays in the menus.  The PS3 looks great on it, Blu-Ray movies really do look crisp and is making it hard for me to go back to standard DVDs.

Audio/Speakers:

Audio from the builtin speakers is ok.  I have noticed times where i get some feedback from the speakers w/my surrounds sound speakers, but i just disable the TV's speakers then.  There are a few built in sound environments to try and also ability to change treble and bass leves and of course balalance between L and R speakers.   I would recommend using a receiver for sound.

Conclusion:

All in all, Olevia makes a great LCD HDTV for a deal.  If you can get the LCD HDTV to you w/o any damage you should be very happy.  If possible, you might want to try to find a deal in a store so you can just pickup and not have to worry about the crappy packaging and possible damage while in transit.  The TV does come w/a 1 year warranty from Olevia.

The 37" 237V LCD can seriously compete w/the bigger name plasma and lcd makers however like many will say 'you get what you pay for' and in the case of this LCD TV, you do and then some.  Sound quality through the builtin speakers, the hidden power toggle switch, and crappy packaging are my only main gripes. Oh yea, and the last gripe is that i can not program any of my universal remotes to this tv's remote.  i've emailed olevia on this so i may add a followup if i get a response (so far, the only way to get the remote to work on a universal is to get a learning remote).  as for pluses, amazing price for an LCD HDTV, does 1080i,720p,480p very well and has a ton of inputs/outputs that are easily accessible.

And for those HDTV buffs, this has the MTK MDDI video processor not the ATI one! (seems ATI one is a bit flaky and not as good quality picture as the MTK).

Seamonkey says: Recommended! 9/10

Tips/Notes:

  • Here's a link to Olevia/Syntax's FAQ on LCD HDTV they make:
    http://www.syntaxgroups.com/products/faqs.html

  • If you notice blurring when viewing HDTV content, try to change the sharpness setting to very low or none (noticed this w/HDTV and 480p DVD)

  • If you hit Source when the Olevia Splash screen comes up you can bypass waiting for it to go away when you power on the TV

  • If you do not like the speakers on the TV, just disable them if your like me and hook everything up to a Home Theater AV Receiver (connect using digital optical)

  • This TV can have its firmware updated via USB, mine shipped w/the most recent firmware.

  • upgrading the htpc to vista, running origami pack on it my olevia… (vista on my olevia)


around 3 year update (sept 2009):
its now sept 2009. my olevia lcd is still running like a champ and has not had any problems. as the comments section of this post will show, i seem to be fluke since a lot of people seemed to have had failures after 2 years or less of owning. most probs related to motherboard/mainboard.

one thing that i did do that most may not have; i kept the firmware up to date.  my 237v has the last update that olevia put out and in turn may be the reason why its lasted so long compared to others.

another possible reason may be the fact that i have never really used the atsc tv tuner on mine, i use my hdtv more as a 'monitor' than a tv.  currrently i run my tv through my hp laptop and windows 7 and media center and have the ps3 connected via a hdmi hub.  i could see the tuner causing the motherboard/mainboard to heat up and in turn possibly loosening the solder from the board (just guess here).

3 month update (mar 07):

well, its march 07 and so far so good.  my baby still looks excellent and my previous notes still apply.  i've upgraded the firmware on it to correct the date/time problem however it seemed to have broken the favorites option if you use the built-in tuner.  i am no longer able to use or add favorites, another email to tech support letting them know.  the firmware upgrade process is not too hard, just follow the steps and is even easier if you have a HTPC in your living room or a laptop.

i've been using the olevia as the main audio hub (ie all of my devices connect to the tv's audio inputs and then output via optical digital to my receiver) and it seems to work pretty good, seems the speakers quality vs via outputs are opposites.  however, i do connect my dvr via hdmi (dolby 5.1 for hd channels) and my wii via normal rca's; dvd player goes to receiver via spdif.

inputs: HDMI connections look superior to any of my component ones. i had originally setup my HD DVR box to use HDMI, but this week moved it over to Component since i'm getting a PS3 shortly and have noticed that the HDMI connection makes for much cripser images/picture so if you got the option, go HDMI! btw, i'm using a cheap $10 HDMI cable from ebay (i'm no sucker for the cable game, imo they don't make that much of a difference).

vista looks very nice on it, i've been running it only at 800x600 resolution to use the Origami Experience properly and using the Full Screen option for video.  vista itself looks distorted due to the stretching, however the origami experience pack looks perfect since it seems to be made for widescreen aspect ratio.  see my youtube to see origami on this baby.  thanks everyone for stopping by and adding your experience/tips!  this blog post will be updated w/3 month updates of my experiences.