Olevia LT32HV review: Olevia LT32HV
A relatively inexpensive choice for people who want a bright picture and aren't too concerned about performance.
This is the year that flat-panel LCDs will get larger and cheaper. All the manufacturers who were pushing 30-inch panels last year are lining up 32-inch models this year. The Olevia LT32HV continues what the low-price LT30HV started, combining mediocre performance with a rock-bottom price.
The Olevia LT32HV's all-black bezel is a big improvement over last year's blah silver casing, but this set will still have a hard time standing out next to panels like LG's RU-23LZ21 and Sony's KDL-32XBR950. However, it goes a little ways toward imitating the Sony with a blue-lit Olevia nameplate under the screen that happily turns off when there's a picture. The rear input bay is also illuminated from above--a convenient touch, except that the light is so dim it's almost useless. Buttons to the bottom right of the screen provide menu access and control volume, channel up and down, and source. The Olevia includes a relatively handsome arc-shaped stand.
The somewhat slick-looking remote control is not backlit and its responsiveness was spotty in our tests. More than once, repeated button pushes yielded no results, though with persistence, the commands always did go through. A number of important functions, including aspect ratio control and direct input access, are hidden under a sliding panel.
With a native resolution of 1,366x768, the LT32HV has more than enough pixels for full 720p HDTV. All sources, including 1080i high-def, standard TV, and computer, are converted to fit the available pixels. The panel has two built-in tuners for regular TV. If you want to watch HDTV, you'll have to add an external tuner or a cable or satellite box.
Dual-tuner picture-in-picture is foremost among convenience features. Independent input memories let you adjust the picture once for each type of source. The Warm color temperature preset came closest to the 6,500K standard. The sparse aspect ratio selection includes only zoom (enlarges 4:3 picture to fill the wide screen), full screen (displays 16:9 sources properly), and 4:3 (displays 4:3 sources properly, with sidebars). A stretch mode, to fit 4:3 sources on the screen without cropping, would've been nice. Happily, you can also Zoom HD sources, although we would have liked the option to stretch them as well.
Inputs are adequate, though the omission of HDMI is notable. Included are two component, two S-Video, two composite, one DVI with HDCP, one coaxial, and one VGA computer input on the rear of the panel, each with a corresponding stereo audio input. There are also one S-Video, one composite, and one stereo audio input on the side for easy access. Outputs comprise a single stereo audio pair and one subwoofer.
The LT32HV performed significantly better than the smaller LT30HV out of the box, though its color temperature was still very blue. We couldn't access the service menu to properly calibrate the television, although RGB gain controls in the user menu let us improve the color temperature noticeably (see the geek box for more). The color decoder showed a fair amount of red push, and primary colors of red and green suffered from respectively orangey and limey appearances that are characteristic of inexpensive LCDs.
Results from our rounds of video torture testing were not encouraging. In addition to an abundance of video noise, due in part to nondefeatable edge enhancement, the opening scene of Star Trek: Insurrection revealed this panel's lack of 2:3 pull-down detection. Chapter 2, "Left Behind," from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, underscored the Olevia's disappointing black-level performance. A plethora of shadow detail was lost in the dark foliage and trees as E.T. runs from his would-be captors. Throughout the scene, in both dark and light areas, distracting video noise and artifacts flourished. On the plus side, false contouring barely reared its ugly head, though it did pop up in difficult, high-contrast transitions, such as the bright lights of E.T.'s mother ship, which fade quickly into the dark of the forest.
Compared to the component inputs, DVI showed significantly more detail. Naturally, high-definition 720p content looked a lot better than 480p DVDs, but we've definitely seen a lot better. The LT32HV just couldn't do justice to DiscoveryHD's lovely footage of exotic locales around the globe, as it revealed too much video noise.
If all you care about is the size and shape of your TV and you don't anticipate doing much home-theater viewing, then the Olevia LT32HV might be right for you. But if you want a decent LCD picture in the same price range, you'd be better off downsizing a couple of inches to something like Sharp's older LC30HV6U. And if you're also considering a plasma, 42-inch models such as the Panasonic TH-42PWD7UY provide much better home-theater performance.
|Before color temp (30/80)
|After color temp (30/80)
|Before grayscale variation
|+/- 1,722 degrees K
|After grayscale variation
|+/- 867 degrees K
|Color decoder error: red
|Color decoder error: green
|2:3 pull-down, 24fps
|Defeatable edge enhancement
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.