Olevia TV-Maker Files For Bankruptcy. Goodbye, Warranties.

If you have an Olevia TV, your warranty is probably going to be worthless now. Parent company Syntax-Brillian has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Olevia is going to be spun off into its own limited liability company. An Engadget commenter suggests that after the bankruptcy proceedings, Syntax-Brillian will have no assets, only liabilities. In accounting terms, outstanding warranties are a liability. It’s just an educated guess, but don’t plan on counting on Olevia to fulfill their warranties (not like they were so great at service to begin with). Instead, if you bought an Olevia on a credit card, you may have extended warranty protection through your credit card company, as Meghann describes in a recent post (see number 6).

1-Syntax-Brillian files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy [Reuters]

Comments

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  1. zigziggityzoo says:

    I heard that they have a new company Olevia Holdings, which is taking on something like $60 million in Syntax-Brillian Liabilities.

    “The terms of the agreement is that TCV Group / Olevia International Group will receive most of the assets and property of the Oleiva LCD division owned by Syntax-Brillian in exchange for assuming $60 million in debt. This means that Syntax-Brillian transfers all the assets of their Olevia division to TCV along with $60 million in debt, and BRLC receives no cash from the sale.”
    [seekingalpha.com]

  2. temporaryscars says:

    This is so sad. They made great cheap LDC TVs. I never owned one, but I know plenty that do and they all say they’re great TVs. With so many people buying them, I can’t but wonder how this could have happened…

  3. Veeber says:

    @temporaryscars: Maybe they sold them a little too cheap?

  4. mbd says:

    Getting parts may be an issue if the agreement with the new company does not include supporting the pre-bankruptcy products.

  5. FreemanB says:

    I’ve had one for about two years as a secondary TV in our office. Its great for watching football games in HD while we’re working/playing/whatever. Its a great TV, especially for the price I paid. I have a larger Sony TV as my main TV, but there have been a couple of times when I wished the Sony had a feature that was included in the Olevia.

  6. Norcross says:

    You almost wonder if the parent company had a lot of debts from the initial advertisting blitz (ESPN, etc) and R&D, so the spun off the company to ‘start fresh’ now that they have an actual product to sell.

  7. IrisMR says:

    …uh, first time I hear about that company.

  8. SOS_Hunter says:

    I guess this gives people a good reason to buy the extended warranty now. Also I hope this means Olevia TVs will be clearanced in the near future so I can pick one up cheap.

  9. temporaryscars says:

    Maybe it’s the economy that finally did them in. It wasn’t too long ago when there was a story posted about LCD sales taking a nosedive.

    I’d much rather have Vizio go down rather than Olevia.

  10. thebluepill says:
  11. selectman says:

    @temporaryscars: Why? I love my Vizio. Cheap & good quality.

  12. temporaryscars says:

    I’m not putting down Vizio’s quality, but compared to Olevia, Olevia tops them in quality in many aspects, so if it came down between the two, I’d rather see Vizio go. They still make great TVs for the price, I just think that Olevia (and Westinghouse) slightly inch out Vizio.

  13. thebluepill says:

    There is plenty of room in the market for others to take their place.

  14. Oface says:

    We bought an Olevia LCD 3 years ago. One of THE best TV’s ever. I was curious as to why H.H. Gregg wasn’t carrying them anymore. This now explains it. And makes me sad.

  15. Flyinace2000 says:

    This is why i bought my warranty from a 3rd party. it was way cheaper and is good for 5 years on-site service. As long as thy don’t go out of business i am ok.

  16. TACP says:

    I looked at Olevia but got a Vizio instead. I’ve been happy with it. I almost bought an Olevia, at CompUSA even. Talk about dodging a bullet!

  17. bohemian says:

    This is a bummer. We really like our Olevia. When we were looking it had a comparable picture to Tvs that were twice the price. We have been burned before buying brand name more expensive items expecting better quality and longer life only to have them die faster than a cheaper item probably would have.

    If Olevia continues to put out TVs with some assurance of support after the sale we would buy another one.

  18. zigziggityzoo says:

    @TACP: hahaha, double whammy. What would make the hat trick complete is if you used a bankcard of a Bank going under from the housing crisis they created!

  19. Coder4Life says:

    Lot of their lcd’s were being sold at COST in hopes they could get people to buy them at retail at a later price.

  20. sleze69 says:

    So sad. I got my 37″ Olevia for a steal when Fry’s had a ridiculous online sale last year. It was a great value for the cost.

    Ah well. If it had a 1 year warranty, my Amex will cover any problems for the next year, anyway.

  21. mike says:

    OH NOES!!!~

    I have an Olevia and it works great (bought from NewEgg for $900 shipped!)

    Bummer…

  22. haoshufu says:

    Go out and buy an Olevia now and make sure you get that Extended Replacement warranty and you may end up with a Samsung when it breaks in a couple of years.

  23. selectman says:

    @temporaryscars: Interesting. When I did my research 8 months ago, I actually found the opposite; of the three “value” brands you mentioned, Vizio actually came out with the highest quality. In fact, most comparisons I found rated it equal or better than competing Samsung, Sony and Phillips models. Olevia was acknowledged as a good bargain – just not as good as Vizio.

  24. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    That’s too bad. I picked up an Olevia 537H about a year and a half ago for $700 (recertified, but in perfect working condition) and have been very happy with it. It’s got some hardware quirks (PNP is only HDMI and other, you can only cycle through inputs instead of picking one directly, etc.), but nothing that would stop me from recommending it as a nice mid-range LCD.

  25. mewyn dyner says:

    I’m so glad I didn’t buy that Olevia LCD when I was TV shopping a year and a half ago. I found the image quality to be horrible, the viewing angle poor, and the contrast unacceptable. Instead I went with a larger Samsung DLP and it’s served me well ever since. And I think they are still around ;)

  26. selectman says:

    @selectman: Also, Costco carries Vizio at very reasonable prices. More importantly, their warranty and return policy is leaps and bounds better than others. You can get a full refund in the first 90 days, plus a solid 2 year warranty. Way better than taking your chances on a fly-by-night online retailer.

  27. SkittleKicks says:

    I love my 27″ Olevia. Just got it a couple months ago, too – so if there’s an issue, hopefully it’ll be far enough down the line that prices drop again.

    The TruTech 13″ I bought, however, – well, that was a lesson in getting what I paid for.

  28. Southern says:

    I bought an Olevia 232H at CompUSA Christmas of 2006 (for $349) for my primary computer monitor, and I love it. Sorry to hear that they’re leaving the business.

  29. GrandizerGo says:

    I have been looking at their 42″ line for months now…
    Time to look elsewhere…

  30. temporaryscars says:

    @selectman: I stand corrected. I did a quick search on Cnet.com by brand name, and here are the scores for the first four TVs that came up (all are out of a score of 10 and are editor review/ user review):

    Vizio:

    6.2/7.9
    6.6/8.3
    6.5/9.2
    6.9/6.5

    Olevia:

    6.3/NA
    6.0/7.8
    5.3/7.5
    NA/8.2

    Westinghouse:

    7.0/NA
    6.6/7.9
    6.7/7.4
    7.0/7.7

    Though, I still think Westinghouse TVs are better than Vizio, but I was flat out wrong about Olevia.

    Oh well, I own a Samsung which got an 8.4. :P

  31. mjd0210 says:

    Oh man, I own one of these… I was kicking myself recently for being such a sucker to buy the extended warranty from Circuit City for a cheap TV, but now I’m feeling a little bit better about it.

    I wonder though… if it breaks will Circuit City just tell me that they don’t have another Olevia to replace it with? It’s been a pretty good TV up until now. Hopefully I won’t need to replace it.

  32. babette says:

    We bought an Olevia 6 months ago and have been very pleased. Fortunately our credit card has great extended warranty coverage.
    We were actually going to buy another one next month to replace the TV in the bedroom.

  33. Jamie All Over says:

    @selectman: Umm… no. I know they’re not terrible TVs, but to say it’s as good/if not better to a Samsung or Sony?

  34. allstarecho says:

    (not like they were so great at service to begin with)

    Talk about a swipe. I own 2 of their 52″ HDTV flat screens. Damn fine units for sure. The first one I ordered from Target.com worked for about a week. Olevia had it replaced in a week (I sent it on Monday, got back the new one the following Monday). I was impressed with their service so I bought a second one. Skip to March this year. My house burned down. 1 of the Olevia’s lived through the firefighter’s water and I’m using it now. The other got ripped off of the wall by the firefighters trying to get to the fire in the wall.

  35. MadameX says:

    We have an Olevia in our guest bedroom and a Vizio in our bedroom. They’ve both been great TV’s. The particular Vizio we have is the better of the two, but it is two years newer than the Olevia.

    As an Arizona resident, I’m always sorry to see any local business go. I suspect the new Olevia company won’t be Arizona based, but hopefully I’m wrong.

  36. weakdome says:

    Love my Olivia. I got a 37″ LCD from Newegg for under $500. Viewing angle is amazing, color is crisp, picture is clear, super bright. Best deal for the money. Not like I ever would have called customer service on a TV anyway, but I’m sad to see such a great value-for-price company go away.

  37. sean77 says:

    So sad. We have a 42″ Olevia 1080p that looks gorgeous. Got it for $1k (well, 999.99) at target.

  38. JulesWinnfield says:

    Here’s some more bad news for owners of “off-brand” HDTV’s like Olevia, Vizio, Polaroid, Westinghouse and Insignia: [hdguru.com]

  39. ichiban1081 says:

    @sean77:

    I have one as well, 1080p 42 inch from Newegg. Came out to $999 shipped, I did alot of research for our bedroom TV and couldnt be happier. Very sad to hear about this as I was looking forward to firmware upgrades as well. Lets hope the TVs actually stand the test of time. Gorgeous picture though.

  40. Orv says:

    @JulesWinnfield: Is that news? At this point I’m shocked if any piece of consumer electronics is actually designed to be repaired instead of thrown away. Everything’s disposable now; they don’t build ‘em like they used to.

  41. okvol says:

    I bought a 27″ Olivia at Fry’s on Black Friday, 2006 for $600. The only complaint is that the zoom cuts off a little of the sides of a 4:3 pic (which means we lose a little laterally for letterboxed DVDs. Sometimes it has a sync issue, but I still blame the Suddenlink HD-DVR box.

    Other than those, it has worked great for nearly two years. And folks are still amazed at the bargain I got.

  42. aka Cat says:

    Ah, bummer. I love my 37″ HD Olevia, and talked my parents into buying one of their 23″ TVs. They’ve been pretty well behaved so far, knock on formica. Here’s hoping they stay that way for a while.

  43. selectman says:

    @JulesWinnfield: That’s why I like Costco’s 2 year warranty for consumer electronics.

  44. ? graffiksguru says:

    That stinks, but my warranty expired awhile ago anyways. I still love my 37″ LCD I got from them forever ago, still works like a charm, just wish it had a little higher contrast ratio.
    Probably shouldn’t have sponsored all those games on ESPN.

  45. redx says:

    sorry but creditors in bankruptcy proceedings get priority then the government. in fact, there is a whole list of priorities before unsecured creditors get a piece of the pie. even then, its prorated from whatever assets they have left.

  46. JerseyCelebrity says:

    This news kind of surprises me, i know they recently did ALL of the TV’s for the Prudential Center (the arena the New Jersey Devils NHL team plays in) and theres tons of TV’s in there. That plus the advertising that they got from the arena displaying their logo at each TV must have helped them some…

  47. GearheadGeek says:

    @JulesWinnfield: My partner’s dad is a radio / electronics technician and used to run a TV repair business on the side. He says it’s been years since most TVs were really repairable, for the most part new ones are scrap if a major component dies out of warranty. While parts are sometimes available, you often have to replace whole assemblies that cost enough to make it worth your while to buy a new set with a warranty.

    Now that things are finally moving toward DTV that is a little less painful… you have an excuse to buy a set with a digital tuner if your 5-yr-old TV dies. It’s not as nice if it’s a year-old Olevia or Polaroid, but who thought that a Polaroid TV wasn’t going to be disposable in the first place?

  48. ncbill says:

    Olevia didn’t have much of a warranty to begin with:

    [hdguru.com]

    Understand 2nd-tier TVs are probably not repairable after the factory warranty expires.

    For those off-brands either buy an extended warranty that offers replacement, or resign yourself to tossing the TV, as it is unlikely your local TV repairman will be able to get the parts to fix it.

  49. dangermike says:

    @temporaryscars: I own one. I will never own another. Cheap, yes. Great, no.

    The image is decent BUT whenever it does HDTV handshaking (whenever the power cycles on my 360, for instance, or whenever a loading screen is presented on Gran Turismo 4 for the PS2), the sharpness gets set to around 150 or 200. It requires me to enter the menu and reset it. And for the TV mode, there’s no simple zoom so if something is being broadcast letterbox in 4:3 aspect ratio, I have 6″ black border around the whole image. The best it can do is stretch everything horizontally. And then on TV broadcasts, the audio chip is just plain broken. If it is set to any stereo mode, the audio gets choppy and distorted when the sounds are any more complex than speech, like, oh say, music. And there’s also a healthy dose of screen lag. Considering that the main purpose of this TV was for use with games, throwing an extra 70 milliseconds of latency into the mix really spoils my good time.

    So that’s my experience with Olevia. Good riddance, as far as I’m concerned. It’ll only be a few more months until the 46″ aquos d64 is down to the price I want to pay for one.

  50. temporaryscars says:

    Defects don’t have much to do with the brand, dangermike. my first LCD was an Aquos and the thing was defective as hell (ghosting like I’ve never seen before in my life) and Sharp screwed me over and wouldn’t honor their warranty.

    Of course, that happened before I found consumerist. Were it to happen today, I’d fight harder. ;)

  51. linbey says:

    @IrisMR: You never heard of them because they were cheap crap that was sold at Wal-Mart. No respectable retailer would carry them

  52. forgottenpassword says:

    Now see?….THIS is why i dont trust all these new brands of HDTVs like say…”vizio”. I’ve never heard of them before a years ago & just dont trust them as brands as i do panasonic, magnavox & the other well-known & established REPUTABLE brands.

  53. ninjatoddler says:

    Sad news indeed. I love my 27″ Olevia LCD HDTV.

    @linbey: Bought mine at Target and never regretted that decision. Not everybody lives off their parents you know.

  54. linbey says:

    @ninjatoddler: Sorry but I live by myself. I save my money and buy quality. There is an old but true saying “You get what you pay for” Too many people forget that and try to be cheap. Id rather do without something than buy a cheap poor quality one. Hence why I saved up for a Mitsubishi TV

  55. KarmaChameleon says:

    @linbey: Amen. A lesson my cheapskate friend has failed to learn, despite the multitude of cheap Wally World laptops that keep dying on her. Spending extra to get quality products does not require living with your parents, it just requires prioritizing. I saved up and got a 42″ Sharp Aquos and it beats the hell out of any of these no name brands. It was worth every penny.

  56. hacheson says:

    Good riddance.
    Sure the tv was cheap but finding a remote code that made the TIVO remote work was beyond humanly possible. It’s like they were made on Pluto, the kind of planet. I should have spent $200 more and gotten something with a brand I kind of recognized.

  57. JulesWinnfield says:

    Allow me to retort.

    @Orv: It’s news if you don’t already know about it. Should we take a poll?

    @GearheadGeek: The point made on that web site (and it’s just one of many to make it) is that the major brands CAN be repaired, the “off-brands” can’t. With the entry price of a decent size HDTV exceeding $1,000, and bigger and fancier ones 2 or 3 times as much, it’s difficult to accept that an HDTV is a disposable item. It’s not quite like a <$100 DVD player, is it?

  58. ninjatoddler says:

    @linbey: Like I said, I had no regrets. The colors are fantastic and HD channels are a blast. No dead pixels. No overheating. Mitsubishis aren’t known for their TVs btw.

  59. calstudios says:

    Olevia had the only TV with a Silocon Optix Realta video processor, the best on the planet. Let’s hope they put out at least one more generation.

  60. raytube says:

    I was top of the line to pick a 37″ up at Target last T’giving for $549. I am super pleased with it. Getting a Logitech remote allows direct source access. Only catch, the optical out plug will not accept any optical cable I have ever seen. I was about to open a warranty service for this issue, I want my digital audio. I was smart enough and actually signed up for a AMEX card just for this purchase. (thanks consumerist!) I’m guessing I will have better luck getting another unit thru AMEX…

  61. darobin says:

    Have had a 37 HVS for four years

    and never a problem with it. . . it

    has incredibly clear video on HD,

    like the other Olevia models — I

    imagine that unless a continuation

    of Olevia production with SB technology

    is confirmed we will see a general

    sell out at low prices…

  62. Coolcatbro says:

    the salesman told me they’d filed and warranty maybe an issue. The dealer warranty for 3years was $279.

    The TV I purchased was dropped to $650 for the 42″ 242TFHD.
    So the warranty was almost 50% of the TV! I declined but have 30days.

    Does anyone know whats going on? What if this is like another KMART “fake” Bankruptcy, where they are just re-organizing, as the early poster stated.

    Damn nice 42″ HDTV for $650!!

  63. Coolcatbro says:

    came across this too….interesting? coincidence?
    Bankruptcy: a standard business re-org, more likely.

    like Kmart?…
    2003, Kmart officially emerged from bankruptcy protection as the Kmart Holdings Corporation and on June 10, 2003, it began trading on the NASDAQ as “KMRT.”

  64. lydle says:

    I bought a 537h Monday with no extended warranty. I called Olevia today and asked them if the warranty is still good, he said yes, that them filing for bankruptcy does not invalidate the warranty.

  65. lydle says:

    I recently bought a Olevia 537h with no warranty. I just called Olevia (yes they are still answering the phone) and the person stated that all Olevia warranties are still good, and that the bankruptcy filing does not effect the warranty (for whatever that’s worth). Should I still get the $65 extended 3 year warranty?

  66. klawh says:

    Breath easy comrads.

    Read this article:
    [www.marketnews.ca]