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Olevia 537H

At a Glance
  • Olevia 537H LCD HDTV

    TechHive Rating

    This model's color and image quality are a good deal for the money; manual is only available on a CD.

The bargain-priced Olevia 537H--the first HDTV we've tested from this company--made a good first impression. The 37-inch LCD did particularly well in standard TV tests, effortlessly minimizing pixelation on baseball stadium turf and displaying noteworthy color vividness.

Color saturation, skin tones, and color detail all looked good in our high-definition tests, as well. For instance, a George Lopez scene showed pleasingly natural skin tones on the actors. The TV kept artifacts in curtains and wood grain to a minimum. Green tones seemed excellent on this set, with distinct shades on trees and grass in a wine country scene. The 537H also did very well in DVD tests, reproducing good background detail and contrast in a difficult dark scene from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Though a few judges noted the 537H's seemingly "dark pictures," they gave it high marks overall for its color quality.

The Olevia 537H is the only 37-inch LCD HDTV we've recently reviewed that includes fine RGB controls--something that more-expensive models, like the Sharp LC-37D90U, often lack. These color controls reside in the adjustment area related to color temperature. If you enter the "6500 user" or "9300 user" temperature settings, you'll find red, green, and blue gain and offset controls. You can establish maximum and minimum values for the RGB colors the TV will display.

"Icon wheel"-based navigation helps you go through the TV's OSD in an unusual but easy-to-use way. Pressing the menu button activates an icon of what appears to be a hexagonal cylinder (not really a wheel, as the manual claims) in the upper right-hand corner of the screen; and this cylinder rotates when you press the up and down arrows. Each side of the cylinder contains a different menu item. Selecting one activates a subcylinder (really, a submenu) as the main menu shrinks to about half its original size and moves farther up the corner of the screen. The process may sound complicated, but it isn't in practice.

When we viewed the final horse-racing scene in Seabiscuit, the TV set's built-in speakers emitted above-average high and satisfactory midrange audio. The strings and brass in the dramatic soundtrack were nicely defined, as was the simultaneous dialogue. Dull horse-race sound effects were predictable from the built-in 10-watt speakers. Sound presets let you change the aural experience somewhat, so a setting such as "Rock" emphasizes voice, while "Hall" adjusts the speakers to produce a more enveloping, background-heavy sound.

The Olevia HDTV's remote is fairly typical for a set in its class. The buttons, all of which light up whenever you press one of them, are of a good size, though the extra buttons at the bottom for functions such as freeze frame and aspect ratio adjustment were a bit small. Like many "universal" remotes, this one allows you to program codes to control other components, such as DVD players and cable or satellite boxes.

The Olevia's CD-only manual is a disappointment. When you're dealing with an LCD monitor, you're more likely to be able to read the manual from the CD drive of a computer. But who reads a TV manual on a PC? Unfortunately, Olevia's arrangement means that, if you need to refer to some troubleshooting issue, you'll have to fire up your desktop or laptop first. Note to the manufacturer: Print the manual on paper already.

The 537H sports an all-black cabinet and a simple, though unremarkable design. Connections reside within a narrow L-shaped space, just above the stand. Very thick cables, such as the HDMI cable we used for testing, can be difficult to bend and insert into the narrow space. With luck, you' won't have to do this more than once. Otherwise, the color coding and labeling of the connections is helpful.

If you're a thrifty TV shopper, Olevia's 537H LCD HDTV deserves consideration. It's put together well, carries a low price ($1499 as of September 8, 2006), and offers a pleasant viewing experience.

Roy Santos

This story, "Olevia 537H" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    This model's color and image quality are a good deal for the money; manual is only available on a CD.

    Pros

    • Excellent color quality

    Cons

    • Manual is on CD instead of on paper
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