Loewe's Connect ID TV range is unapologetically premium. Hideously expensive by commodity gogglebox standards, yet boasting exquisite design (small wonder that the rumour mill has linked the brand with Apple's iTV ambitions), the Loewe Connect ID 32 DR+ is not your everyday flatscreen telly. See also: group test: what's the best 3D TV?
The ID suffix stands for Individual Design, and the set is certainly distinctive. The screen has a minimal piano-black bezel offset by grey fabric trim which disguises forward-firing stereo speakers. Our sample came with a crisp white back panel, but a variety of hues are available. See all Digital Home reviews.
You can opt for gloss-black back or one of six wraparound finishes: silver, orange, green, beige, black or white. The Loewe Connect ID TV is available in 32-, 40-, 46- and 55-inch screen sizes. These are priced at £1395, £1595, £1995 and £2495 respectively.
Loewe Connect ID 32 DR+: connectivity and storage
The DR+ tag indicates that the set comes with the integrated 500GB personal video recorder (PVR) option, for an additional £300 on top. Connectivity is awkward but tidy. The main inputs face downward along the back panel, feeding into the pedestal's cable management channel. There are two HDMI, an AV mini socket, VGA, ethernet, USB, coaxial digital audio in/outs, analogue audio outputs. Aerial inputs feed the Freeview HD tuner and two DVB-S satellite feeds. Wi-Fi is built in.
Additional side-facing inputs ports include a conditional access slot, third HDMI, second USB, phono stereo inputs and S-Video. The user interface is clean and unfussy. IPTV options sit alongside network UPnP devices, USB and the set's own recordings library in a general Media Net area.
Streaming options are limited principally to iPlayer, Daily Motion and Vimeo, plus subscription services Cartoon Network and Box Office 365. YouTube is noticeable by its absence. Additional branded content from Audi TV and others is unlikely to elicit much interest, but you do get Aupeo and TuneIn Radio music services. The set also offers a built-in web browser, but navigating pages via the remote zapper is cumbersome, and it can't handle embedded video and the like.
Playback compatibility from networked devices is excellent. Whether streaming from a NAS or USB, the screen is able to contend with a wide range of popular codecs and containers, including AVI, WMV, MKV, MOV, MP3, FLAC, Vorbis, AAC/M4A and WAV. Image quality is generally impressive – with caveats. Pictures are dynamic, exhibiting a satisfying level of darkness; Loewe claims a static contrast ratio of 6000:1. Colour fidelity is vibrant and HD looks suitably crisp, but sharpness needs to be locked to the minimum setting, else you'll see extreme edge emphasis and ringing.
A key weakness of the screen transpires to be motion resolution. The panel struggles to offer more than 850 lines. A DMM Film Quality Improvement processor can be used to iron out minor horizontal judder, but it also introduces quite pronounced motion artefacts around moving objects. The upshot is this isn't a great set for sports fans. The screen employs Active Shutter 3D, although USB-rechargeable glasses are an optional extra.
Performance of its 3D is best described as functional. Disney's Tangled, a challenging stereoscopic Blu-ray, exhibits clear double imaging. Audio quality is high, with clean stereo separation from the gutsy 2x 10w amplifier.