Loewe Connect 37 Media Full-HD+ DR+ review: Loewe Connect 37 Media Full-HD+ DR+

The Good Picture and sound quality; media streaming; built-in PVR; ease of use; design.

The Bad Price; some codec support missing from media streaming portion.

The Bottom Line If it wasn't for the price, this TV would be an excellent choice for anyone looking for an all-in-one solution. As it is, there isn't very much this TV doesn't do, and its picture and sound quality are certainly excellent

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8.3 Overall

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You'll need to take a deep breath to say the name of Loewe's latest TV. Sure, the Loewe Connect 37 Media Full-HD+ DR+ is a ridiculous product name. To some extent, though, it's easier to remember than a traditional model number, like, say, Loewe Connect 37FHD45314159265. That said, this TV name has more plus signs than some computer programming languages.

While it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, the Connect 37 is, however, a remarkable piece of eye candy. It offers features from built-in Freeview hard disk recording and 1080p compatibility to even media streaming from a Windows-based PC. With a jaw-dropping £2,150 price tag to go with it, will this TV leave us speechless?

Everything on the Connect 37 has been styled to perfection. While its unique style may not immediately rouse you, we'd hope with three colour variations of chrome silver, black or white, plus four different stands -- ours came with the floor stand 'trapeze' -- that you'd be able to find one to suit you.

The front of the TV is bare, apart from a simple button in the centre of the TV. This button turns the TV on standby, and the ring surrounding it controls channel changing and menu access. Intriguingly, there is no volume control, which means you have to use the remote. The TV does redeem itself by offering a real power switch, located underneath the set.

The beauty of the Connect 37 extends to its remote control: it's one of the nicest we've ever seen. Finished in light grey with a black strip at the top, it has a finger-friendly texture and good weight. The buttons, though small, are well-spaced and easily pressed. Even better, it's very responsive, with no delay between pressing a button and the TV acting on it.

One of the main features of the Connect 37 is its ability to stream media over a home network. We did try this initially over our office Wi-Fi network and couldn't get it to pick up our Windows Media Player, but corporate networks are never the best place to try this. When we tried it on the wired Ethernet network, we were very impressed: the TV found our Windows Media Player straight away. Once we granted the TV permission to access our files, we were off.

When the Loewe is streaming media over the network, a rubber tag at the side of the TV glows. Don't worry -- you can turn it off!

Of course, like any media streamer, it has its limitations. Firstly, it won't play any QuickTime video and some of our XviD sample clips had some problems with judder. The TV also doesn't get on with MPEG-4 files with packed bitstreams. If you have a file that uses this format, you can convert it using a free utility called MPEG4 Modifier.

Conversion aside, the Loewe really came into its own with WMV video. It played faultlessly and at resolutions of up to 1080p, which really won us over. It was also very simple to see pictures and get MP3s to play, and the whole interface experience was a breeze.

If you're choosing this DR+ model over the other available Connect 37s, you'll get a 160GB hard disk recorder built in. The idea is similar to any external PVR: you schedule recordings via the EPG, but using the Loewe menu system. As we're used to PVR menu systems, we're in two minds about using Loewe's -- the different layout can be confusing.

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