Review Price free/subscription
Loewe Connect 42 Media Full HD+100 DR+ 42in LCD TV
And the prize for the longest TV name in the history of TV names, ever, goes to: the Loewe Connect 42 Media Full HD+ 100 DR+. In fact, it's such a long name that I'm not totally sure I've got all of its various bits in the right order. The cool thing about this name, though, is that it isn't just there to give journalists and shops nightmares. It's actually so ridiculously long because the TV it describes has, as we'll see, such a ridiculously long list of features...
Regular readers may remember that the Connect 42 (by which abbreviated name it shall henceforth be known!) is not actually the first TV we've seen from Loewe's Connect range; we saw a 37in model way back in 2008. However, we're not just featuring the 42in Connect today because it's 5in bigger.
As usual with Loewe product lines, the latest Connect TVs are really quite different to last year's models, since the German brand's general policy is to keep improving existing ranges rather than adopting the usual path of just introducing a whole new range every time there's a new technology in town.
Therefore my first - rather complicated - job in this review is to get to the bottom of exactly where the Connect 42 Circa November 2009 differs from the Connect 37 Circa June 2008.
The first change I spotted was an aesthetic one, as the table-top stand Loewe provided with our review sample is a much prettier chrome cross design than the slightly plain-jane one found on the original Connect TVs.
Not that you have to stick with this cross-style stand if you don't like it, though. For arguably the single most important feature of the Loewe Connect range - and most of Loewe's TVs, come to that - is the fact that you can actually choose how your Connect 42 looks and the features it carries. More on this in a moment when we've finished picking out the differences between today's and last year's Connect features.
Another key difference is that the Connect 42 manages three HDMIs versus the previous Connect models' really rather disappointing two. This makes the current Connect 42 much better equipped to be the central hub of a home entertainment installation.
As does the fact that Connect's already extreme multimedia talents - the things that inspire its Connect name, in fact - are boosted on the new Connect 42 by the addition of Internet Radio playback, and the introduction of much wider file type compatibility, including FLAC, WAV, DivX, XviD, AVI, H.264 video, AIFFWindows Media Audio, MP3, AAC (compressed and lossless), and WAV.
Given that finding and accessing multimedia files on the previous Connect could be a rather confusing business, it's also a relief to find that Loewe has improved the interface for the latest Connect's Media Player, making it more accessible and, crucially, allowing you to input text search data to make it quicker and easier to quickly find specific files within, say, your endless list of audio tracks.
Yet more improvements worthy of note include a free TWONKY account; the facility to update the TV's system software via the Internet rather than having to have a dealer do it for you; an application that lets you add Internet Radio favourite lists to your iPhone so that you can take the links with you wherever you roam; and finally (unless I've missed something, which I probably have), an increase in the amount of 'DR+' HDD recording space from 160GB to a very healthy 250GB.