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 Post subject: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competition?
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 6:39 pm 
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I was looking at an old 1954 Crosley TV brochure, noting it's broad lineup, and was struck by the fact that by 1957 they were gone.

No Color TVs were marketed, I believe, by Crosley. And many other manufacturers, some for awhile.

A good many went under. So I ask:

Was the advent of Color TV, by the Major Players, also a way of chasing their marginal competition to their demise?

I also realize that the majors had economies of scale on their side with regard to production of regular B & W sets. That's capitalism.

But, I can just see the also-rans at the Consumer Electronics Trade Shows, apologizing for their lack of color TV protoypes and/or early production models. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 6:47 pm 
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I doubt color TV had much to do with it, as the vast number of radio manufacturers also declined rapidly in that era. Probably just normal competition from the big manufacturers in general, and nothing to do with the advent of color.

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 6:51 pm 
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Quote:
Was the advent of Color TV, by the Major Players, also a way of chasing their marginal competition to their demise?


Maybe it was just a new, exciting innovation that consumers really wanted? Maybe the marginal competitors didn't have the skills or money to compete? Life is cruel, but I don't see a conspiracy here. Even Mad Man Muntz did better than Crosley in color TV.

Maybe Apple introduced tablet computers and smartphones to drive IBM out of the personal electronics business?

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 6:52 pm 
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I'm not aware of anything except normal market forces.

Color TV happened because someone figured out how to do it within rational cost constraints. (remember the very early spinning wheel and other ideas whose time did not come?)

Obviously, not everyone making B&W sets could simply jump in---at least while key patents were in force. But eventually anyone making TV sets was making color. There was active competition, the quality kept improving, and the prices dropped. That's how it's supposed to work.

Side note:
What % of conspiracy theories turn out to have significant credibility?---I'm betting well under 1%.

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 7:04 pm 
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Rich, W3HWJ wrote:
Quote:
Was the advent of Color TV, by the Major Players, also a way of chasing their marginal competition to their demise?


Maybe it was just a new, exciting innovation that consumers really wanted? Maybe the marginal competitors didn't have the skills or money to compete? Life is cruel, but I don't see a conspiracy here. Even Mad Man Muntz did better than Crosley in color TV.Rich


I'm not implying any conspiracy here, just market forces, economy of scales, market shares and penetration, normal stuff.

But, as a Manufacturer's Rep in the Consumer Electronics Industry for 27 years (retired) I can appreciate the phenomenom of NOT having a color set on the floor to at least put customers and retailers at ease.

I can just see the RCA guys bragging on their CT-100 and their competition having nothing.

"Oh, we're years ahead of those guys...!" 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 7:09 pm 
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I do recall RCA Victor not posting any profits on color television until the mid-late 60's.

I wonder how many of their B & W competition went belly up trying to field a color TV of their own? 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 8:15 pm 
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Most of the companies making TVs had many other items in their product lineup besides televisions. If their other core businesses were profitable, I don't see the inability early on to have their own color set as a major catastrophe, especially because there was so little programming broadcast in color anyway. Besides, many that didn't actually design their own were able to buy the technology from the big guys and market sets with their own brand name on them.


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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 10:42 pm 
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I can't see the advent of color TV having anything to do with market forces. Many badges dropped by the wayside over the years. Between '50 and '59 there were 102 different brands being offered;

http://www.tvhistory.tv/1950-59-ALL-USA.htm

As has already been said, there was little in the way of color programming in the early years anyways. I think it wasn't until about 1965 or so that TV production began to primarily use color film.
When I got out of the service in 1969 and got my own pad, I bought a little Sharp 12" B&W (that I still have), and there were plenty of B&W sets available in the showrooms even at that "late" date.

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 09, 2016 11:09 pm 
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RCA put so much into innovation and research with the Color TV that only royalties enabled them to make a profit. Without competitors, no royalties, so RCA helped where they could. I think many 40s/50s manufacturers simply folded with the demise of some broadcast networks, and the increased prices on raw materials used in Radio and TV set manufacture.

I've read a ton on the subject - I chose it as a history paper once. 3 months of reading for a 3.5-page summary report. Over prepared, I was, but it got me interested in more, particularly the Japanese dumping, the patent infringement cases (some of the litigants are now the same company!), and the outright counterfeit issues we have today. Counterfeits aren't new - there was a NY Times front page article in 1980 about counterfeit children's' toys....

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Sat 10, 2016 1:04 am 
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wiscojim wrote:
Most of the companies making TVs had many other items in their product lineup besides televisions. If their other core businesses were profitable, I don't see the inability early on to have their own color set as a major catastrophe, especially because there was so little programming broadcast in color anyway. Besides, many that didn't actually design their own were able to buy the technology from the big guys and market sets with their own brand name on them.


Good points.

But the parent company can (usually) bring the same product to market at a lower price. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Sat 10, 2016 1:29 am 
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I don't know if Zenith was #1 or #2 in color TV in the decade of the 1960s but they were certainly one or the other. They wisely stayed out of Color until there was a nationwide market (circa 1962). Not being able to offer color in the 50s didn't hurt them at all. If you look at Zenith sets of the last half of the 50s their focus was more on Hi-Fi sound and pushing the envelope on cabinet design, which made more marketing sense than color at the time. The second tier manufacturers probably also recognized color wasn't ready for prime time yet, but most didn't embrace Hi-Fi either (Magnavox comes to mind as an exception). The companies that dwindled out probably just lost the marketing war. Emerson and others (Muntz) held on by cut-rate bare-bones no-frill budget-sensitivity, for a while until Japan chimed in. Companies like Admiral and Westinghouse and Philco just didn't find a niche. Predicta and Seventeener excluded. Perhaps some other novelty sets.

Business in a free market is tough.


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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Sun 11, 2016 1:03 am 
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WeekendHacker wrote:
Companies like Admiral and Westinghouse and Philco just didn't find a niche. Predicta and Seventeener excluded. Perhaps some other novelty sets.

Business in a free market is tough.


As it should be, IMHO. Competition improves the breed.

The Predicta killed Philco, IIRC. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Sun 11, 2016 5:49 pm 
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It helped as did a lot of other factures. . The Korean war caused parts shortages, the Japanese on slot started, many of our smaller manufacturers over expanded. Google Map the Bellevue New Jersey Post Office on Main St. 07109 for an example; this was the FADA factory starting in 1947. Color narrowed the profitable of the industry as a whole. In a discussion one day with a manufacturer my company represented the vice president stated that no one was making much money with color sets. And then to top it off I'd guess that at one point we might have had the production capacity to supply half or more of the world.

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Mon 12, 2016 5:52 pm 
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This

fifties wrote:
I can't see the advent of color TV having anything to do with market forces. Many badges dropped by the wayside over the years. Between '50 and '59 there were 102 different brands being offered;

http://www.tvhistory.tv/1950-59-ALL-USA.htm

As has already been said, there was little in the way of color programming in the early years anyways. I think it wasn't until about 1965 or so that TV production began to primarily use color film.
When I got out of the service in 1969 and got my own pad, I bought a little Sharp 12" B&W (that I still have), and there were plenty of B&W sets available in the showrooms even at that "late" date.


And This...

WeekendHacker wrote:
I don't know if Zenith was #1 or #2 in color TV in the decade of the 1960s but they were certainly one or the other. They wisely stayed out of Color until there was a nationwide market (circa 1962). Not being able to offer color in the 50s didn't hurt them at all. .

Business in a free market is tough.


BTW AFAIK Sears never sold a CTV till the '62 model year... I only saw a couple of those(CTC 11 clones) and no literature for anything earlier...


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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Mon 12, 2016 6:03 pm 
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M3-SRT8 wrote:

The Predicta killed Philco, IIRC. 8)


How so? Philco went through many owners (Ford and Philips were two), but continued to innovate well into the 1980s with their modular color TV. Sure, they didn't innovate like RCA, GE and Zenith, but they certainly didn't die...

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Mon 12, 2016 6:21 pm 
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Quoted from another forum...



Quote:

Much said about Philco and the Predictas is urban legend. I will share some history. Some supports the legend, some does not.

1. I am not aware that Philco was ever bankrupt. Philco had so many other businesses including appliances, computers, government, military, transistors, auto radios, mail sorting equipment, special test equipment and aero space so one model of one product could not have much impact on the bottom line.
2. The transition to Ford started quietly in the mid 50s, completed in '61. It was part of Ford's strategy to emulate GM and Chrysler by having broader consumer lines; Chrysler with Airtemp and GM with Fridigaire. The OEM auto radio business was also an attraction that was expanded under Ford.
3. The Predicta electronics were contemporary designs jammed into unconventional enclosures.
4. The picture tubes were following the trends toward lower wattage heaters to reduce heat and extend life. The same picture tubes were used in other cabinet designs including the "Seventeener 3", 17 inch briefcase portable. They sold at the rate of 5,000 per week and numerous ones survive today with good CRTs. Eventually most manufacturers followed to 450 ma heaters for series string TVs.
5. Predictas earned a reputation for poor quality. They were difficult to assemble, had poor factory yeilds and high on-arrival failure rates. They were the result of the stylists winning out over the engineers. Too much heat into too little space. Product Planning wanted something different to put in the dealer's showroom. They got that, but they were never intended for a 50 year product life.
6. I am surprised that so many Predictas survive, considering the number sold and the volume of other good products of the era that have been long since discarded.
7. Philco supplied hotels and motels through the Telesound Division. Many of the Predictas available today are former hotel TVs that got hard use and shoddy repair.
8. Philco President, Philip Caldwell, shifted the emphasis to quality after the official Ford takeover. By that time, the Predicta was long out of the product line.
9. In the 60s, investment went to color TV and appliances, like everyone else, so the B&W console chassis remained virtually unchanged until it was discontinued around 1970.
10. The Philadelphia TV plant closed in 1975, long after the Predicta so the Predicta did not put Philco out of business.


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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Tue 13, 2016 12:59 am 
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Great stories so far.

My take on color is that initially, they didn't sell. RCA had to seriously discount the first CT100's to keep the production lines moving. When only a small portion of shows were actually in color and a set costing as much as a good year or two old car, it's no wonder why sales were slow. When the CT100 and the Westinghouse were coming to market, a bunch of companies, close to a couple dozen initially, had prototypes and some got as far as actually getting sets to market. RCA didn't care, they would license the patents or flat out build the chassis. They were so committed they had to get the sets out there, no matter what it took. It was still a tiny fraction of the market.

By 1957-58, all I know of was RCA and Sylvania, although there may have been one or two others. Sales did not start to pick up until the early sixties, right when Zenith got into the market. Color sales didn't outsell Black and White until around 1966-67, when the networks finally went 100% color, at least in prime time.

So, in my opinion, color had next to no impact on the competition, at least not for another decade. TV's were becoming too common, margins were shrinking, and too many companies were building them.


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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 23, 2016 9:53 pm 
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35Z5 posted: "BTW AFAIK Sears never sold a CTV till the '62 model year... I only saw a couple of those(CTC 11 clones) and no literature for anything earlier..."

In 1956 Sears Silvertone marketed a 21" color receiver model 7140. Sorry for the quality. Here's an ad:

-Steve D.


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DSCN2144.jpg
DSCN2144.jpg [ 104.13 KiB | Viewed 767 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Fri 23, 2016 10:22 pm 
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Several companies built color sets in the 1955-59 time frame, including GE, Motorola and others who all had their own design, not copies of the RCA set. Others such as Emerson sold rebranded RCA chassis.

The sales during the first few years were dismal, and the reliability of the sets was horrible, so combining that with the very small number of color programs it didn't lead to the public having much interest.

Zenith was being very conservative by not entering the market until after 1960, even though they were one of the major forces in the TV market. They wanted to be sure they could recover the costs involved and that color TV was going to succeed. It took a significant increase in color programming before many people would even consider buying a color set. In fact it was common for families to still purchase a new black and white set as their main TV in the mid-1960's. We had many customers who did not get their first color TV until the late 60's or early 70's, typically older people who saw no reason to replace a perfectly good working black and white set.

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 Post subject: Re: Did the 1954 Introduction of Color TVs Kill the Competit
PostPosted: Dec Sat 24, 2016 12:56 am 
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As far as Zenith, what brought them up to the top in Color TV in the 60s was their steadfast determination NOT to use Printed Circuit boards.

Their chassis used an unusual terminal strip style that made production easier as the components were hand inserted, but not soldered.
Soldering was a separate process.

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