Crave was recently invited to plush old Harrods, if you please, to tour the Loewe mini-store. Donning our best bib and tucker, we got a fascinating insight into the well-to-do audience for the German manufacturer's stylish and desirable TVs. As a shopping experience, it's about as far away from your high street electrical store as you can imagine. While we were being guided around the range, we noticed the Loewe Art SL 42 Full-HD+ 100 DR+, and couldn't help developing a sizeable techno-crush on it.
Loewe reminds us a little of Apple. Its TVs are aimed at deep-pocketed types who want an attractive product with an extensive list of features. They don't care about the price as much as they do about the way it complements the modern art in their enormous drawing room. But there's more to these TVs than their glorious looks.
Firstly, a built-in 250GB digital recorder means you don't need to stay in to watch Antiques Roadshow anymore, and there's no need for a separate set-top box. You can plump for a satellite tuner too, which allows you to pick up programmes from many European satellite broadcasters. Sky won't allow you to watch its channels, but you can getand many of the stations.
There are also options for speaker systems, and by adding a DTS/AC3 decoder card, you can add 5.1-channel surround sound without the need for a bulky, unsightly AV receiver. Speakers are an optional extra, but Loewe does some lovely matching aluminium jobbies that look pretty sweet.
One of the most useful optional add-ons is the remote repeater. Using this, it's possible to hide away your original equipment -- in an antique wedgewood cabinet, naturally -- and use Loewe's IR sensor to send the remote signals to your equipment. If that's not a brilliant idea, we don't know what is.
The name of the game here is elegant, integrated equipment. It might seem rather expensive, but when you own half of Surrey, that's unlikely to be much of a problem. The Loewe Art SL is available now, and the price will vary depending on the options you pick -- but don't expect much change from £2,000. You'll find more details on the Loewe Web site.