Finally finding our way into the Connect 37’s picture quality, we find images that occasionally look spectacular, and are seldom less than ‘good’.
Their strongest suit is the amount of detail they manage to resolve with a high quality HD source. Fed Tim Burton’s ”Sweeney Todd” on Blu-ray, for instance, the Connect 37 does a great job of revealing just how much work has gone into the film’s recreation of early Victorian London, with the textures of clothing, background walls and ready-for-shaving beards looking absolutely pristine. What’s more, this impressive sharpness does not come at the expense of accompanying noise, such as grain or over-stressed edges.
Given what a predominantly dark film ”Sweeney Todd” is, it was also good to see the Connect 37 delivering deeper black levels than its 5,000:1 contrast ratio claim had led us to anticipate. The gut-churning scenes in Mrs Lovett’s basement benefit from less greying over of the darkest corners than we still often see in the LCD world, and there’s just enough shadow detailing around to pick out little details here and there that frankly you probably wish you’d not seen!
More good news concerns the way the Connect 37 tackles LCD’s familiar problem with resolution loss over moving objects. The Image+ system works really well on sharpening up ”Sweeney Todd’s” occasional motion-packed moments, such as his demented singalong through a crowded London street calling for victims.
The final positive thing about the Connect 37’s pictures is their colours. For even though ”Sweeney Todd” is hardly the most colour-rich film in the world, the Loewe set really blazes out with outstanding intensity what colours the film does show, such as Mrs Lovett’s fantasy of her future life with Todd, or, of course, the copious amounts of blood that fly all over the place at regular intervals.
I should add in here, too, that the recordings from the DR+ system tend to be very good. Using the highest quality setting, in fact, I struggled to spot any significant difference between the recordings and the original broadcasts.
So how come the TV only scores an 8 for picture? Well, first and foremost the processing used to reduce motion blur unfortunately causes a problem all of its own, namely a tendency for really fast pans or objects to flicker a little, as the TV’s processing struggles to keep up with what’s happening. The other main problem is that for all their impressive vibrancy, I wasn’t always totally convinced that the Connect 37’s colours looked 100% natural in tone, especially where deep reds are concerned.
I should probably also add for consistency’s sake that while good by LCD standards, the Connect 37’s black levels are no match for those found on a good plasma TV.
No such reservations need trouble us when it comes to the Connect 37’s sound, though. So powerful, dynamic, rich and expansive is the soundstage it creates that at times it had me convinced that I’d accidentally left my surround sound separates system switched on during the test – but no, it’s simply the Loewe’s astonishing speakers putting those of almost every other flat TV brand to shame.
In terms of design and features, Loewe’s Connect 37 is a truly unique proposition that should deservedly win a devoted premium-buyer following. But picture quality obsessive that I am, I can’t quite bring myself to give a whole-hearted recommendation to a TV that only scores 8 for pictures despite costing roughly double what you’d have to pay for a ‘mainstream’ 37in LCD these days.
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