Wired: ‘In difficult times, it’s good to prepare for better times,’ says Frieder C. Löhrer, Loewe’s chief executive. His company seems to have taken this attitude to heart, expanding its network of premium TV stores across the UK at a time when the green shoots of recovery are barely out of the ground.
This autumn Loewe plans to open six new stores, moving out of London into Manchester, Sheffield, the Lake District and beyond.
The company’s home market, Germany, remains its most profitable, but Loewe believes that the UK, Europe’s biggest TV market, is a natural home for its high-end, design-led TVs.
In particular, they have their eyes on the upcoming Olympics as a driver of demand for high quality sound and picture, not only for home viewers but also for designer and boutique hotels.
Loewe is very much the Apple of the TV world, offering status-symbol sets at considerably higher prices than the competition. The designs are minimalistic – all smooth edges and hidden buttons and cables. The aim, the company says, is that TVs shouls be as attractive from the back as they are from the front, so they can be placed in the middle of a room.
Features range from the practical to the plain extravagant: a light sensor measures the ambient light of the room and dims the screen to suit, for example, or you can buy (expensive) matching furniture specially designed to fit with your TV.
So how does this high-end company see the future of TV? It shares the view of other manufacturers that 3DTV is not on the immediate horizon, and that hybrid internet TVs are likely to be the next development. From next year, the company’s products will include an internet browser, and the YouTube function already found on some models will be upgraded to YouTube XL.
They are also considering implementing the BBC’s iPlayer, although this may depend on the company’s success in the UK. There are no immediate plans to introduce OLED screens, although engineers are working on it for future models.