The RCA brand is one of the oldest and well known brands in the consumer electronics industry. The brand was derived from an acronym for the company Radio Corporation of America, which was a major electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. Today VOXX Intl owns the RCA brand for its accessory and several audio video product lines. This brief history will take you from the origins of RCA to today’s high tech product which carries on the brand tradition of quality.
This is the original RCA logo, which has not changed all that much over the years. The company’s roots are in the broad cast industry with early product focus on the marketing of GE and Westinghouse’s radio equipment.
In 1929 the company made its first moves into consumer electronics products when RCA purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, then the world’s largest manufacturer of phonographs (including the famous “Victrola”) and phonograph records. This included a majority ownership of the Japan Victor Company (JVC). The new subsidiary then became RCA-Victor. With Victor, RCA acquired New World rights to the Nipper trademark. RCA Victor produced many radio-phonographs and also created RCA Photophone, a sound-on-film system for sound films that competed with William Fox’s sound-on-film Movietone and Warner Bros. sound-on-disc Vitaphone.
RCA began selling the first electronic turntable in 1930 and in 1931; RCA Victor developed and released the first 331/3 rpm records to the public. The format initially was a commercial failure because the records and playback equipment were expensive, and partially because the audio performance was poor. With the improvement of stylus for playback the product would be re released and become the standard for music playback for decades.
In 1939, RCA demonstrated an all-electronic television system at the New York World’s Fair and developed the USA’s first-ever television test pattern. With the introduction of the NTSC standard, the Federal Communications Commission authorized the start of commercial television transmission on July 1, 1941. World War II slowed the deployment of television in the US, but RCA began selling television sets almost immediately after the war was over.
In the years that followed, RCA was responsible for the development of a myriad of innovations and key technology such as color television, the electron microscope, CMOS based technology, heterojunction physics, optoelectronic emitting devices, Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs), video cassette recorders, direct broadcast television, direct broadcast satellite systems and high-definition television would be invented and developed during ensuing years. In 1949, RCA-Victor developed and released the first 45 rpm record to the public, answering CBS/Columbia’s 331/3 rpm “LP”.
In 1953, RCA’s all electronic color-TV technology was adopted as the standard for American color TV; it is now known as NTSC (after the “National Television System Committee” that approved it). RCA cameras and studio gear, particularly of the TK-40/41 series, became standard equipment at many American television network affiliates, as RCA CT-100 (“RCA Merrill” to dealers) television sets introduced color television to the public.
RCA was a major proponent of the eight-track tape cartridge, which it launched in 1965. The eight-track cartridge initially had a huge and profitable impact on the consumer marketplace.
Business and financial conditions led to RCA’s takeover by GE in 1986 and its subsequent break-up. GE then sold the rights to make RCA and GE brand consumer electronics products, notably television sets, to the French Thomson Consumer Electronics. Thomson sold the rights to the brand to Audiovox Corporation, first for consumer accessory products and then two years later for consumer audio and video products excluding televisions.
VOXX Intl purchased the brand as an extension of its already formidable consumer and accessory businesses. The company believes that the strength of the RCA brand lives on and it has plans to continue to develop high tech products for these key consumer lines.
Because of their popularity during the golden age of radio, their manufacturing quality, their engineering innovations, their styling and their name, RCA antique radios are one of the more sought-after brands of collectible radios and Audiovox is committed to that legacy.
Today’s RCA products, marketed by Audiovox Accessories include some of the most technologically advanced digital products in the market place. Small Wonder camcorders with their wide variety of software ‘firsts’ lead the way….Digital Audio MP3 players feature exclusive EZ Rip software that make them simple to use….the RCA clock radio line remains the number one brand in clock radios and the list goes on and on.