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Loewe Individual 40 Compose Full-HD+ 100 DR+ review: Loewe Individual 40 Compose Full-HD+ 100 DR+

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The Good Appealing design; good picture and sound quality; excellent user interface.

The Bad Extremely expensive; confusing configuration options.

The Bottom Line For the price of the Loewe Individual 40 Compose Full-HD+ 100 DR+ with a few of the trimmings, you could buy a decent second-hand car, although the price falls considerably if it's just the screen you want. Those who want to spend thousands on an LCD TV, however, will almost certainly find the feature set and design to their taste

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8.3 Overall

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As our critical eyes stare at the large, white LCD TV in the corner, we're acutely aware that there's a recession on at the moment. If you're affected by all of this financial disaster, you might want to consider another TV, because the 40-inch, 1080p, LCD Loewe Individual 40 Compose Full-HD+ 100 DR+ is hardly the cheapest set we've ever clamped eyes on.

For a start, the TV portion alone costs a staggering £3,825. But that's not all, because the package we review here comes in at more than £6,300. Clearly the Compose isn't aimed at most of us. But is it any good? Or, more importantly, is it worth as much as a good, second-hand car?

If Apple made TVs, this is probably how they'd look. Our Compose was finished in a lovely glossy white, with some hints of black and silver scattered about. You can select a series of finishes, including the colour of the main TV, and some delightful side-trim options that even feature some wood-effect materials.

The screen is hidden behind a sheet of coated glass, which no doubt helps to improve the black levels, but also gives the TV a very sleek look. This is the television equivalent of wearing a pair of sunglasses indoors -- not entirely necessary, slightly pretentious and painfully trendy.

Connectivity is handled at the back of the set, under cover of some concealing panels. This is a little tiresome at times. If you want to bung in a Scart lead, you'll have to mess around for some time, opening things and ferreting around behind your TV. This problem is compounded by the way the sockets are placed. With two rows, if you're trying to plug something in behind something else that's already connected, it can be tricky to get to the socket. Of course, the upside is that the connected cables look quite neat, and, if your TV stands away from a wall, this can make a big difference.

In terms of actual sockets, the Compose is disappointing. There are only two HDMI inputs for a start. You also get a component video input and, surprisingly, one of the Scart sockets is configured to accept component video. There is also an RGB-enabled Scart input. Digital audio is both accepted and sent by the TV and there are two RCA jacks for this. If you get the soundbar option, your output will be used to feed it a signal.

The way the sockets are placed means connecting cables can be an awkward process

It's also worth pointing out that, when you buy a Loewe TV, the dealer will arrange for someone to come and install it for you. This is incredibly helpful, and likely to appeal to the sort of people who have the cash to spend on this set. Our engineer took around 2 hours to get the whole thing up and running, and, afterwards, took us through the features of the set and answered our questions. This is a very welcome bonus that makes you feel like you're getting the service level appropriate to your purchase.

The other advantage of an engineer installing your TV is that you don't have to plug everything in yourself. Trust us, that's a big deal with this TV. The soundbar and motorised stand both add complications to the set-up.

What makes Loewe TVs so special is the level to which you can customise them. Virtually everything can be adjusted or tweaked to perfection. For example, you can opt to have a satellite tuner built in or a digital TV recorder. There are options for surround-sound speakers and even soundbars.

It seems only fair to explain our set-up, as tested. The central component is, of course, the TV. The 40-inch LCD cost £3,825 in the configuration supplied to us, including its Freeview and satellite tuners. Because we wanted to be able to record TV, we also got the recorder option, which allows you to save your favourite shows to the Compose's 160GB hard drive.

As regards the satellite tuner, while this TV can access high-definition satellite channels on freesat, it can't use the freesat electronic programme guide or access ITV's HD channel. For this reason, it's not badged as a freesat TV, so please don't expect anything like the functionality found with Panasonic freesat TVs.

Our review sample was also fitted with a soundbar, which costs an additional £1,220, and an optional subwoofer, which costs a further £580. We also added a floor stand, which costs £530. The final tally for the unit comes to an eye-watering £6,155.

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