Why bother with an HTPC when your TV can play all your media anyway?
I expect that from the title you’re going to assume I’ve lured you in here to talk about a completely new product from Loewe so I have to apologise, because, although as far as the UK is concerned the Loewe Connect range is brand spanking new, it has actually been known of for a while, débuting at August 2007’s IFA trade show. Nonetheless, a launch in the UK is what matters for those of us living here which, as I say, it now has.
As you can see, the Connect is an extremely ‘design conscious’ machine and while it might not be to everyone’s tastes, I personally think the sets look pretty darned swanky. Aesthetics isn’t the only box ticked though as inside we find Full HD, 1,920 x 1,080 panels in all of the three different sizes, namely 32, 37 and 42 inches, although sadly details such as contrast ratios aren’t mentioned.
Explaining the ‘Connect’ name is the ability for the TV to interface either wirelessly or over Ethernet with networked devices and stream media from NAS boxes and PCs. On this front the Connect also allows playback from USB devices, including flash memory sticks and cameras. There is also a DVR add-on, called the Connect Media DR+, which packs a 160GB hard drive allowing recording from the integrated Freeview tuner.
Loewe claims around 200 hours of video can be recorded, which harks at some pretty decent compression, hopefully not at the expense of quality – if channels such as The Hits and QVC can be referred to as such. Unfortunately, while the above description may sound favourable, the pricing of the televisions isn’t with the 37in model coming in at £1949 and no price yet set for the other two models. And yes, that’s 2-grand for a 37in LCD TV…sounds like great value.