TV Brands Aren't Always What They Seem
TV Brands Aren't Always What They Seem - Consumer Reports


Element first came to our attention during Walmart promotional events. The manufacturer earned some press a few years back for touting that its TVs were assembled here in the U.S., first in Detroit, now in South Carolina, though much of the part production was done in China. But since then the American company has been quietly acquired by Chinese manufacturer TongFang, which also owns the Seiki and Westinghouse TV brands.


Since late in 2011, the JVC TV brand has been licensed to the Taiwan manufacturer AmTRAN. The company's U.S. arm, AmTRAN Video, is also known for producing TVs sold under the Vizio brand.


Once a U.S. market leader, the Philips-owned Magnavox brand is now licensed by Funai Electric. The Japanese manufacturer also controls the U.S. licenses for the Emerson, Philips (see below), Sylvania, Sanyo, and Symphonic brand names. Funai recently created a stir by announcing it would stop producing VCRs. It goes down in history as the last company to make them.


This one's licensed to Funai via a subsidiary called P&F USA. The deal, which also includes the Magnavox name, runs through the end of 2018.


The once-venerable Polaroid name has become something of a cautionary licensing tale, at least as it pertains to TVs. In 2001, the genuine Polaroid declared bankruptcy but reorganized and licensed its brand to the Petters Group Worldwide, which bought the name outright in 2005. But Petters Group filed for bankruptcy protection three years later after an FBI investigation concluded the company was being run as a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. In 2009, a group of investors snapped up the Polaroid brand and launched a company called PLR IP Holdings, which now administers the licenses. The current U.S. licensee is Empire Electronics.


Once the premium sub-brand of RCA TVs, the ProScan name is owned by Technicolor, which controls RCA as well. The brand is currently licensed in North America by Curtis International, an Ontario, Canada, manufacturer and distributor of value-based consumer electronics products.


Ask your grandfather about the Quasar name and he'll probably remember it fondly. This TV brand launched by Motorola was acquired by Matsushita (the parent company of Panasonic) in the '70s, but the little-used trademark expired in 2007. About three years ago, though, Panasonic re-registered it. And now, Quasar TVs can be found in a few retail outlets, including B&H Photo and BrandsMart.


One of the most significant consumer electronics brands in American history (the original company helped develop the NTSC standards for color televisions) is today owned by Technicolor. Over the past decade, the trademark, which stood for Radio Corporation of America, has gone through several TV licensees, including TCL a few years ago. But the U.S. brand is currently licensed to On Corporation, a Korean TV manufacturer.


Two years ago, Panasonic agreed to license the Sanyo TV brand to Funai Electric. Today, Sanyo TVs seem to turn up mostly in Walmart stores, almost as a private label for the retailer.


Seiki, which gained some prominence in the U.S. by offering early 4K TV sets at very low prices, is another TV brand controlled by TongFang. (See Element and Westinghouse.)


No company did more to develop and commercialize LCD TV technology than Japan's Sharp Corporation. Despite owning one of the most advanced LCD plants in the world, the company yielded to market pressures here in the U.S. and decided last year to license its brand to Chinese TV manufacturer Hisense.


Joining the growing list of Japanese TV manufacturers that have found the U.S. market too competitive, Toshiba pulled the plug on its U.S. TV business last year, licensing its brand to Taiwanese manufacturer Compal.


The Westinghouse TV brand, still controlled by a CBS subsidiary called Westinghouse Electric Corporation, is now part of TongFang Global's growing portfolio of TV brand names. The Chinese electronics manufacturer sells those Westinghouse-brand TVs through a subsidiary called Westinghouse Electronics. It acquired the rights to do that following the dissolution of prior licensee Westinghouse Digital.
Why It Doesn't Always Pay to Buy a Cheap TV
TP Vision (subsidiary of TPV Technology Limited) are the ones making Philips television in Europe since the last 5-years.

Maybe more interestingly here is TP Vision makes Philips branded televisions with Android TV operating-system for Europe

Philips televisions for the US market are made by Funai and instead have a propriatory OS called “NetTV”

So if buy a Philips Smart TV in Europe you are garanteed it has Android TV, and in the US you are garanteed it does not.

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