The TV business is at a tough juncture. A slow economy, coupled with a high household penetration of HDTVs, means that replacement and secondary set sales are poor. The result, a shift of TV brands. A few years ago Olivia, iLO, Loewe, and HP sold TVs in the US. Now they’re gone. Recent new “no-name” brands include Curtis, Element, Skyworth, Sceptre and Sigmac (link).
Now a new class of brands is emerging. In 2008 Japanese company Funai purchased US rights to the Philips TV brand. Ã‚Â Funai now makes all the Philips and Magnavox sets you see today.
Recently, JVC sold its TV branding rights to a Taiwanese company called AmTRAN Technology. If the name sounds familiar, it should. AmTRAN makes all of Vizio’s TVs.
At the recent CEDIA trade show, HD Guru met with Tom Paterniti, VP of Sales and Technology for AmTRAN. He explained the new JVC line and AmTRAN’s reasoning for buying the JVC name.
Paterniti said AmTRAN developed the new models with a higher quality audio and video than others in its price range. All models feature better bass response than competing models and direct-firing drivers with higher frequency response tweeters. The new models use SRS’s HD surround sound for an enhanced sound field. Audio is 10 watts per stereo channel.
Paterniti explained AmTRAN wants to build JVC TVs as Vizio doesn’t fully utilize AmTRAN’s vast design and production capability. He added that unlike Vizio, AmTRAN owns part of an LG LCD panel factory in Szechuan China, and all JVC TVs will use LG glass.
The pricing target is below the tier one brands (i.e. Samsung, Panasonic), but above the no-name companies like Sceptre and Element. He added AmTRAN has national parts availability, plus 42-inch and above products have in-home service.
There will be two series of TVs. The first is called the Black Crystal 3000 series, which has four models: a 32-inch, 37-inch, 42-inch and 47-inch. All are cold cathode florescent lamp (CCFL) backlit sets. The two smaller models have 60 Hz refresh and 2 HDMI inputs. The larger models are 120Hz refresh with 4 HDMI inputs. All models have shiny black bezels, anti-glare filters, and 1080p resolution.
Models and prices are
32″ JLC32BC3000 Retail $388 Amazon $351.20
37″ JLC37BC3000Retail $500 Amazon $469.98
42″ JLC42BC3000 Retail $600 Amazon $549.98
47″ JLC47BC3000Retail $800 Amazon $698.98
The step-up 3001 Series has the same screen sizes but use LED edge-lighting and have higher claimed contrast ratios and lower power consumption. Both lines are Energy Star 5.3 certified. Models and prices are
32″ JLE32BC3001 Retail $475
37″ JLE37BC3001 Retail $550
42″ JLE42BC3001 Retail $776
47″ JLE47BC3001 Retail $1000
All models are currently shipping. The 3000 Series CCFL LCD line is available through Amazon and other on-line sellers, while the 3001 Series LED line is sold through brick and mortar stores.
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