Loewe, a company that knows ‘upmarket’ better than most, today chose the overtly tasteful B&B Italia furniture store on London’s Brompton Road to launch its new Reference ID TV range.
We reported on our first sighting of the range at IFA2012 in Berlin last year here but in this environment the TVs look, if anything, even more striking. Each of the three screen sizes (40in, 46in and 55in) are supplied as standard in a fetchingly minimal combination of aluminium and chrome, with black speaker covers.
More after the break
Naturally, customised finishes are not only available but positively encouraged. In the second half of the year customers will be able to select from a dozen frame options (in a variety of colours and materials), six distinct speaker covers and nine different rear panel colours. The rear panel can also be specified with LED backlighting to make even more of a visual statement. And by the end of the year Loewe will be offering customers the option of incorporating their own bespoke designs and materials.
Tech-wise, these are Full HD, LCD-with-LED-backlighting 3D TVs. Smart facilities are on board, including catch-up TV, video on demand, internet radio and streaming home network-stored content. There’s an integrated 1TB hard drive on board, giving PVR functionality for both 2D and 3D content – it’s possible to stream recordings to other Loewe TVs and the user can even pause a transmission on one Loewe TV and continue watching it on another. Those broadcasts are accessed by integrated DVB-T/T2/C/S2 tuners.
There’s an iPad EPG app, while Loewe Media Assist enables simple on-screen integration of TV programming, internet and home network-derived content, and apps from the MediaNet portal into one ‘home’ screen.
Sound is an area where Loewe has long sought to lead the field, and Reference ID features 160 watts of integrated audio power. The TV can also form the control centre (as well as the centre channel) of a 5.1 audio system thanks to its integrated AV preamplifiers and multichannel decoder.
At the same time as dishing the details on the Reference ID range, Loewe also took the opportunity to unveil Speaker 2go. A compact (24 x 11 x 5cm), weighty, aluminium Bluetooth apt-X wireless speaker, it’s also able to function as a portable hands-free telephone system thanks to its integrated microphone. And as well as straight-ahead Bluetooth devices, Speaker 2go can pair with NFC-enabled devices like Samsung’s new Galaxy S4.Sound is delivered by two tweeter/midrange drivers (each served by a 10-watt digital amplifier) and a low-frequency driver (powered by a third, 20-watt Class D amp). In addition, Loewe has squeezed in a bass-reflex tube, intended to provide meaningful weight to the presentation. An integrated push-push stand lifts the unit up 7.5 degrees – Loewe asserts this is the optimum angle for sound distribution.Speaker 2go is on sale from June at a likely price of £269. The Reference ID range is due a month later, with a projected price of £4500 for the 40in model, £5500 for the 46in version and £6500 for the 55in screen. All things being equal, What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision reviews shouldn’t be far behind.