Just took delivery today from Beach Camera - great experience w/them. Ordered late on 12/9, chose free 8-10d delivery via FedEx ground, arrived today (3 business days, 4.5 calendar days) in Boston. Well packed by factory, Beach Camera just shoves another cheap cardboard box over the Syntax packing. Outermost box took some body blows in transit, but inner box looked good, so I signed for it.
Setup is very straightforward. Unit is HEAVY, but feels well made as a result (most of the weight is glass, though). Cosmetically looks great, sleek and classy.
NOTE OF CAUTION: manual says to remove the external film protector from the screen (p. 19). There are 2 layers of plastic, not one. The adhesive tab happened to fall off my unit, so I picked at it with a fingernail, and both layers started to come off. The top layer is meant to come off, but the bottom layer IS NOT. I had the misfortune of realizing this after I had already worked off a corner of the bottom layer, and was past the point of aesthetic no return. After beating my head on the wall as punishment, I peeled the whole thing off, an arduous process. Luckily no residue. The bottom layer is basically a high transmittance anti-glare plastic screen protector covering a plate of glass, which covers the LCD screen. Using my misfortune as an opportunity, I compared image quality with and without this protective screen. As you might expect, colors were a tad more crisp & image was brighter with just the glass, but there was more glare. Bottom line -- don't take the bottom layer off unless for some reason you want only glass between you and the LCD. You won't be able to tell the difference unless you start peeling.
Hooked the unit up to RCN SD cable via ANT coax, p-scan DVD via component, and OTA HD via DTV coax.
SD: looks surprisingly good. iDEA scaler really does work. Not nearly as nice as my Sony WEGA 36" CRT with SD, but definitely acceptable, and significantly better than my bro's Samsung 60" DLP HDTV w/Comcast SD. Jaggies are minor, as is pixelation.
OTA HD: Looks good with ABC's 720p programming, don't get great signal with 1080i channels yet, so the jury's still out.
p-scan DVD: looks good to great depending on the DVD. Original Matrix looks good, LOTR looks great.
I won't get my 6412 phase III STB until the end of the month, so can't tell you yet how HD via HDMI cable looks. Similarly, can't tell you how an HTPC looks because haven't tried DVI->HDMI or VGA yet.
Menus are nice, remote seems to work well, although sometimes with significant lag in response time. Blue power LED is indeed quite bright as mentioned already in this forum. Nice feature is that the TV keeps a unique set of image parameters for each input, e.g. contrast, saturation, hue, etc., so you can tune the image characteristics based on your source signal. My SD feed needs a lot more "help" from TV controls, whereas p-scan DVD needs very little help, resulting in very low settings for hue, sharpness, contrast, etc.
Image quality is excellent, really. I will try not to gush like many others have in sibling Olevia forums, but let's just say that I doubt that LT42HVi owners will be envious of any other LCDs currently on the market. All ratings are subjective anyway, but to my eye, contrast is great, black levels are good (but less good than plasma and much less good than CRT), but you'll never know unless you have them side by side in the same room.
No dead pixels. After some menu massaging using p-scan DVD as my highest quality signal, the colors really pop on this set with a viewing experience similar to my WEGA CRT. Try these settings: backlight low, DNR low, all iDEA settings on, saturation 45, hue 35, brightness 40, contrast 60, sharpness 50. All #s change with my SD signal, as I'm sure they will w/HDMI HD or HTPC. Glass without the plastic really enhances luminance and brightness (OK, I'm just trying to make myself feel better).
In all seriousness, the plastic coating was probably designed to preserve > 90% optical transmittance while cutting 10-20% reflectance (glare), so that's what I'm losing without the coating. Just know that for future reference, if you end up smudging or scratching the plastic, you CAN take it off.
Bottom line: I'm very pleased, especially for $$$ AR. This is a high quality set for a competitive price. It even passed the wife test: "hey, it actually looks GOOD!" Highly recommended.
mod note: no price other than MSRP, please. Thanks.