The next significant finding among the Spheros R37's features list is something called Image+. This is the name Loewe gives to a new, proprietary picture-processing engine, designed to enhance contrast, colour tone, colour saturations and overall image sharpness, among other things.
Although we've been rather down on the Loewe's operating system so far, we should say that it does at least have one ace up its sleeve -- its interactive instructions manual. This ingenious device allows you to call up onscreen explanations of features listed in the onscreen menus at the press of a single button.
There are other features on our test version of the Spheros R 37, but our time is better spent talking about the fact that, in typical Loewe style, there's more than one version of the Spheros R 37. As well as providing an unusual degree of design flexibility, Loewe also offers a more expensive version of the TV that comes with a second digital tuner and a built-in 80GB HDD PVR recording system.
The Spheros R 37 gets many things spectacularly right with its performance, but also hits a couple of potholes along the way.
With certain kinds of footage -- mainly bright, colourful, high quality broadcasts or DVDs -- its pictures can look pretty sensational. Image+ is clearly being proactive, ramping up colours to exceptional levels of solidity and richness, and serving up levels of fine detailing and sharpness that do even the most pristine of our high-definition movies proud.
Yet more positive Image+ energy can be seen in the unusually smooth, clear way moving objects pass across the screen, avoiding the slightly flickery and ill-defined look motion tends to have on most LCD TVs.
Our biggest problem with the Spheros R 37 emerges while watching dark scenes, as the screen fails to deliver the sort of deep, detail-filled black levels now being delivered by its strongest rivals.
Another glitch concerns video noise, which can become quite prevalent unless you're careful not to leave the TV's sharpness settings too high.
Happily there's nothing bad to say about the Spheros R 37's sound. The bass rumble, vocal clarity and treble finesse it produces practically redefines what we consider a flat TV to be capable of, setting a new audio benchmark for others to be judged against.
Though we're performance-obsessed fans, the flaws in the R37's image just do enough to deter us from wanting to buy one -- especially given its hefty price. But we have little doubt there are plenty of well-heeled folk who will happily ignore the odd performance foible in return for the set's awesome, status-symbol design.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield