During 2017, the German Loewe has been incorporating OLED screens to its televisions. It started with the high-end, but little by little this technology has reached more affordable models. Now it's the turn of the Bild 3 model, which makes a high-quality TV available to even more people. We have tested the Loewe Bild 3.55, which for less than 3,000 euros allows us to enjoy all the advantages of the brand, as we will see. It only exists with a tabletop stand, very robust and rotatable, which can be removed if we want to hang it. And it exists in two metallic shades, dark graphite gray or light gray.
As we have indicated, that is the bet of the Germans for their screens. Already last year they marked this path with the Bild 7, and in 2017 their choice was confirmed. The Bild 4, Bild 5 and Bild 9 mounted organic panels of LG origin, and now there is Bild 3. Coming from the Korean manufacturer but with its own specifications and quality control, these OLED panels are right now the best for home televisions.
That is the case except for specific moments of a lot of ambient light, or looking for a very high brightness. But when it comes to deep blacks, high contrast, and natural colors, OLEDs dominate. That's why they are the favorite of the fans, as plasma used to be: with dimmed light it is the closest thing to cinema. Recall that this 4K OLED panel consists of 3,840 x 2,160 WRGB pixels that can be turned on or off independently. Therefore, they do not need extra lighting, as with LCDs or LEDs. That is why they can be very thin, a few millimeters thick. Another advantage is that the viewing angle is huge. When an LED screen is viewed from the side, the image is lost, which is not the case with OLEDs. You can look at an OLED from a very side angle and you will still appreciate its colors and contrast perfectly.
The Loewe difference
But Loewe is not just using a good panel on your screen. As in previous generations, the Germans manage to extract the best images from the screen thanks to their own electronics. In this case it is called Vanta Vision. It basically offers sharper and smoother movements, maximizes contrast and brightness, and improves color fidelity. In addition, it also optimizes the gray scales, so that they are reproduced without color casts (green, red or blue). In other words, it works to achieve a result equivalent to an optimal calibration.
In addition to the exterior design and sound, which we will see later, what makes Loewe televisions different is their electronics . For the control and management or processing of images, and for interaction with the user. Let's first go over the benefits of Loewe image processing. The first thing is scaling: how lower resolution images, such as DTT, pass to the 4K screen. Loewe uses its own upscaling from Full HD or lower resolutions. Then there is the management of moving images, that is, how the intermediate frames are interpolated (invented). This, plus the treatment of moving images scaled to 4K, achieve smooth and fluid images.
HDR with Dolby Vision and HLG
The Loewe Bild 3.55, like its older OLED sisters of the German brand, is compatible with all three types of High Dynamic Range . They are the HDR10, the HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and the advanced Dolby Vision. The latter is the most demanding HDR format and guarantees vivid images with very high contrast. It is capable of processing dynamic metadata: it changes the settings of the TV with each frame. Optimize the image on the fly.
As for HDR10, which uses static metadata (the same settings for the entire video stream) it is also fully compatible with Bild 3.55. It is the type of HDR used in UHD Blu-ray movies. And the HLG, which does not use metadata, therefore allows the use of less bandwidth and will be the standard for 4K HDR broadcasts , which for now only Netflix seems to have started on time.
Protection against burns
Not all are advantages in OLED screens: in addition to a slightly lower peak brightness than LEDs, they have a limited life. After several tens of thousands of hours, they can lose luminosity . And that on a television, if still images are projected, it becomes what is called "burned" or retention.
Loewe includes several measures in its control electronics to mitigate this effect. For starters, when the TV detects a still image, it reduces the brightness after a short time. It is something similar to a computer screen protector : after 1 minute it begins to dim and after 5 minutes it has minimum brightness. Also, the image is periodically shifted a few pixels (in an 8 × 14 area) to avoid fixed positions.
Additionally, on-screen menus (white letters on a black background) are darkened when kept in view. After a few minutes they are transparent. If the screen detects a clock as a still image, it will also periodically scroll a small area. Everything, to avoid always having the same pixels on for a long time. Even the Loewe detects the station logo and dims it after a few minutes.
Schedule and recordings
As we said, the advantages of Loewe electronics are not only in the images we see. They are also in the facilities to choose a program, make recordings and share content. As standard, the Loewe Bild 3.55 does not have the DR + system with its 1TB internal hard drive, but it is something that can be purchased as an option. Without the DR +, anyway, it is enough to connect a USB memory to be able to record programs using this capacity.
Doing so is very easy thanks to the clarity of the Loewe menus. In fact, anything is simple: next to the available options there is always advice and help. The response of the television to the command is always immediate. The speed in the change of channels stands out. Remember that it has two tuners, so that it is possible to record programs while watching another . The recording and content management possibilities of the Loewe, and from which this Bild 3.55 benefits, are enormous. We can start watching a show, and let it record ("freeze") to do something else. And continue watching it on another Loewe television or on a mobile device, pulling the recorded file on the first television.
Only that function and the on-screen aids already reveal how “smart” the Loewe Bild 3.55 is. It also has access to different sources of content , both video and music. In addition to Netflix, now with direct link, YouTube or Amazon video, we can access Tidal. And also access the content that we have shared on our home network, of course.
If the electronics on board is one of the differentiating elements of Loewe TVs, their sound is another. When televisions were one big piece of furniture (tube screen) it was easy to mount capable speakers inside. With flat screens this has changed, and with increasingly minimalist designs, and these ultra-thin OLED screens, more. However, Loewe does not give up on offering good sound and this Bild 3.55 mounts a good speaker at the bottom of the screen. It has two speakers, with a bass reflex system, and a total of 40 W per channel. Each side (or channel) has a cavity of just over half a liter with reflex outlet below. Invisible but effective.
In this case, the television itself does not have a multi-channel sound decoder (Dolby Digital and DTS). The Bild 3.55 differs from its older sisters Bild 5 (and 7 or 9), which thanks to that can handle a system of up to 5.1 external speakers, without another external decoder. But the Bild 3.55 has standard digital outputs, so we can connect another system. In the sound menu we will discover many options to customize it to our liking. The Loewe has, for example, the Loudness function, which increases the relative level of bass and treble at low volume.
On the other hand, there are different simulations of surround sound, which in turn allow different presets. This is useful if we want to use one mode for concerts or music, another for movies (action, intrigue), and one for TV shows. We can adjust the sound separately, to avoid damaging the clarity of the dialogue in a newscast (for example). It works very well, and as always in Loewe the same menu guides us through the different options (in perfect Spanish).
The Loewe Bild 3.55 has four HDMI inputs compatible with UHD 4K signals. In addition, three USB ports and integrated WiFi apart from Ethernet connection. Standard comes with Bluetooth , perfect for connecting a mouse or keyboard, or for headphones. Also to send music and other content, although through Wifi or wired network is ideal.
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED
|screen||55 inches 4K UHD 3,840 x 2,160 pixels|
|Technology||OLED (LG panel), Loewe VantaVision processor|
|Sound||Internal DD / DTS decoder, Loewe sound bar (2 speakers and 80W total)|
|HDMI connections||4 x HDCP 2.2 (1 ARC)|
|Other connectivity||3 USB (1 is 3.0), Ethernet, Wifi, Bluetooth|
|Tuners||DVB-T2 / DVB-C / DVB-S2 (double)|
|Recording||Via USB (optional DR + system)|
|Antennas||Satellite, Cable, Terrestrial. CI 1.3 slot|
|Dimensions||1,230 x 789 x 55 mm (with table stand)|
Having tried the luxurious Bild 9, the elegant Bild 5 and the affordable Bild 4 (until the arrival of this Bild 3), we wondered where Loewe had saved. And we still wonder, because the finish and construction is just as impeccable as its "older" brothers. A little less metal maybe, but these OLED TVs are so slim and minimal that you don't miss anything because there is so little!
The sound is different from the others: the bar is fine, but those of the Bild 4 and 5 are somewhat better (although they are also 80 W they have more speakers and volume), not to mention the evolved bar of the Bild 7 and 9. The voices are reproduced very well , the most important thing on a television, and for background music it goes through something of higher quality. With action movies, a TV of this quality is entitled to a more capable standalone sound system, anyway.
We have already discussed how successful the menus are, and how easy to understand everything is. The programming of each channel is also very easily followed with the time bars, and the channel or source changes are very fast . Another advantage: a direct access on the remote control to the PIP function. That is, watch another channel in a small window, while we watch one on the big screen. Something that, by the way, is worth seeing on a 4K screen (the window looks like a miniature HD TV). Not only does it work perfect and fast, it is also configurable.
We knew the virtues of OLED screens and Loewe electronics, we lacked a television like this Bild 3.55 that would make it available to more people. For less than 3,000 euros this television enters to compete with other brands , and continues to offer much more. It is not just buying a premium product with more warranty and better design, it is getting more functions and better control. Only the robustness of the aluminum base, and how it allows the television to rotate without oscillations, already allows you to get an idea that this is a high quality product. Same as the connection access cover (fixed with magnets) or the rear finish.
4K images are seen in the OLED of scandal, although the truth is that there are still few sources available. But the good thing is that HD images look superb too, and we already have a lot of that. Through DTT (HD channels), satellite broadcasts, BR discs, and online providers. And if we take another step towards standard DTT broadcasts, we will be surprised by the game that Loewe electronics takes from them to present them on this wonderful screen. This is what is called a master purchase.