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Product Review: Syntax Olevia 37" LCD TV, Model 537H

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Product Review: Syntax Olevia 37
© Pricegrabber
The 537H is a 37” flat panel LCD TV capable of displaying 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i video signals. It has a built-in ATSC/NTSC tuner - meaning it can receive and decode over-the-air (OTA) analog and digital broadcast signals. The panel has a native resolution of 1366x768; it utilizes MediaTek’s MDDI technology.

At this time of this review the 537H was listed at Pricegrabber.com between $1100 and $1200.

Specifications quoted were provided courtesy of Syntax Olevia.

Key Specifications

  • 37” widescreen (16:9) LCD TV with built-in ATSC/NTSC tuner
  • 1600:1 contrast ratio
  • 8 ms response time
  • 1366 x 768 native resolution (up to 1080i) at 60hz
  • Firmware upgradeable through USB
  • MTK MDDI (Media Direct De-Interlacing) video processor
  • Picture in picture and split screen
  • 2:2/3:2 pull down
  • Digital 3D comb filter
  • Progressive scan
  • One year on-site warranty
  • Energy Star rated 180W power consumption
  • Dimensions 40.82" x 32" x 12"
  • Approximate weight: 60 pounds

Connections and Audio

  • (1) HDMI w/ HDCP
  • (3) Component video/RCA audio
  • (2) Composite video/RCA audio
  • (1) 15 pin D-sub/RCA audio
  • (1) RF coaxial
  • (1) USB
  • (2) 15W bottom-mounted speakers
  • (1) RCA audio output
  • (1) Stereo mini jack output
  • (1) Optical output

The Contrast ratio and response time are very good for a panel in this price range. Some cool features include picture-in-picture (PIP) and a split screen option that equally splits the screen between two inputs. The 537H also has the usual extras like parental controls, V-Chip rating censoring and automatic power off.

The 537H has a menu system that gives the user a full hands-on experience in adjusting the look of the screen. At first glance the menu is complicated but it becomes easier after a few times going through it.

What I Liked

The Picture: The 537H had an excellent display of HD and DVD images. Actually, the picture was awesome in HD and it was also great for gaming.

Picture quality was lower when watching standard definition from my satellite receiver. This was expected - 4:3 had a better overall picture than 16:9. This was also expected. The only real issue was in displaying scrolling text – words were blurred and did not scroll smoothly.

During the time I was reviewing the 537H, I forgot that it was a 37" television. I thought it was 42" because the size of images appeared consistent with 42" TVs. This probably doesn't mean much except that this panel would be large enough for a 15x15 room.

Use with Off-Air Antenna: Connecting an antenna and watching OTA stations was as easy as expected. Over-the-air HD looked just as good on this TV as on my Samsung DLP (if not better).

Connectivity: The 537H had enough connections so you can plug in your components into the TV without an adapter. I like the use of three component inputs (one is used as a VGA connector). There is no side or front input for connecting a camcorder and a slot for digital picture cards.

The Panel: It is plain but well-designed. The bottom-mounted speakers and command buttons are good. Cables plug into the back panel facing down and to one side. There is no plate to remove when plugging in cables, which is a good thing. The speakers are fixed. It would've been nice if Olevia had detachable speakers, like on their other models, that mount on the side or bottom. That option would've given this panel an entirely different look.

What I Didn't Like

Delayed Start: The time elapsed between turning on the television and seeing a picture was 12 seconds.

  • Is This an Issue: Not really. There is always a lag between power on and picture. Still, 12 seconds is long.

Power-Off Light: The light on the front panel that signals when the unit is turned off is blue and could illuminate more light than a hallway nightlight.

  • Is This an Issue: Is it going in your bedroom? My suggestion would be to put some black tape over the light if it's bothersome. It is kind of ironic in this day and age of Energy Star ratings, but I wonder how much energy is required to power a light, when illuminated, signals that the unit is turned off? I would think it would make more sense to have the light turn on when the unit is on.

The Menu: I mentioned that the menu gets easier after using it a couple of times, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. The layout wasn't traditional. Basically, the menu was a wheel-type of display that reminded me of the showcase showdown wheel on The Price is Right.

  • Is This an Issue: Television menus are different from model to model. The Olevia’s menu didn’t appeal to me but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it.

Source Button: It took 10 presses of the source button to complete a full circle through all possible sources.

  • Is This an Issue: This was a mild inconvenience that only frustrated me when I passed by my desired source.

Final Thoughts

The 537H is a good product. It has the high-end performance to rival a Sony or Samsung but without the price tag of a larger manufacturer. The display of analog and standard digital signals is good. I noticed some issues with the presentation of moving text but when watching non-HD satellite the picture quality was almost as good as my Samsung DLP and the 1080P Westinghouse 42w2 that I reviewed a few months ago.

What does this tell me? Olevia makes a quality product and should be considered when looking for a LCD TV. Don’t be misled by my comments. There are LCD TVs that display a better non-HD picture but you will be hard-pressed to find one for this price in the 37” size.

The Bottom Line: Olevia's 537H is a must see for anyone looking to buy a LCD TV with a limited budget. If you're thinking about a Vizio because you saw some commercials then I suggest you find a store near you to see how Olevia stacks up against the competition. You might be surprised, in a good way, by what you see.

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