Multimedia TVs are nothing new, but previous do-it-all TVs have always been afflicted by either poor performance or dubious usability. Loewe’s Connect 37 Media is different: it’s every bit as effortless to live with as the finest Apple kit, its on-screen menus and slick remote handset guiding you through the multimedia experience with minimal fuss.
So what exactly does it do? First and foremost, it’s a Full HD television, with 1920x1080 resolution and support for 1080p/24fps content from Blu-ray. It includes a Freeview digital TV tuner, of course, and – usefully – can be specified with a 160GB hard-disk PVR built-in, as a £200 option.
Team that with an additional twin-tuner satellite TV decoding module for Freesat, costing a further £60, and you’ll have the ability to both watch and record free-to-air high-definition TV. Which is nice.
Play and watch what you want
But this is just scratching the surface of this set’s capabilities. The Connect 37 Media includes a network media player, supported by Wi-Fi and two USB inputs. So, as well as being able to display your digital photos and home videos, you can stream music and video files (and yes, photos too) from your computer, or any other networked source.
It’s brilliantly effective, too. Loewe TVs have always had better sound than any rival, so the Connect 37 Media’s speakers make a more-than-decent fist of replaying your digital music. True, the system won’t necessarily shake your foundations with its bass – but if you really, really want bigger sound, you can use the set’s digital audio output to sent its audio signals into an offboard home cinema system.
True, you could do much the same digital media job with an Apple TV linked into any old make of TV. But the Loewe’s strength is that it produces an Apple-rivalling degree of user satisfaction from a single-body set, with no additional wires or remote controls to deal with. And that, it has to be said, is way cool.
As is the Connect 37 Media’s picture performance, especially via Blu-ray. Its crisp colours and strong contrast give a dense, rich and three-dimensional feel even to Pixar animated movies, and motion is always smooth. The TV tuner is slightly less successful, being afflicted by digital noise on occasion, but it’s nothing we couldn’t live with.