Don’t be surprised to see the JVC brand resurface shortly on a Roku TV in a store near you.

Roku and the latest licensee of the JVC brand for TVs marketed in North America, China-based Shenzhen MTC, issued a brief statement this week that the JVC brand will soon appear on new Shenzhen MTC-made Roku smart TVs.

The latest brand will join a group of TV brands from mostly Chinese TV manufacturers selling televisions using the Roku operating system. Other Roku TV brands include: TCL, Hisense, Insignia, Hitachi, Sanyo, Magnavox, Philips, Sharp, and Element.

JVC (short for Victor Company of Japan), has long been used on televisions sold in the United States. Initially, the actual JVC manufactured and sold here JVC-branded CRT-based TVs before expanding into D-ILA projectors and flat-panel televisions.

Like other Japanese TV makers feeling intense profit pressure due to currency fluctuations and declining margins, JVC opted to discontinue making and marketing mainstream televisions (keeping only its high-margin projector business) here, and licensed the brand to Taiwan-based AmTRAN, which was previously known as a major OEM resource for TV brands including Vizio.

Under AmTRAN, the JVC TV brand was placed in some independent consumer electronics retail stores and warehouse clubs, like Costco, before ultimately disappearing. That effort focused mainly on mid to large-format LED LCD TVs in Full HD and 4K Ultra HD resolution.

Many of the early AmTRAN JVC sets were marketed without a smart TV platform, or later added one on through a bundled outboard streaming stick.

Under the new deal, Shenzhen MTC is expected to make and market televisions using Roku’s TV hardware reference designs and the Roku OS. The first JVC Roku TVs are expected to ship in the United States later this year, the companies said.

Since their launch as an integrated smart TV solution, Roku TVs have been remarkably successful. Roku ensures the sets are easy to use, include the largest assortment of apps and app partners in the business, are affordably priced and deliver very good picture and sound quality for the money.

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TV maker partners are free to differentiate televisions in some aspects of performance and styling design, but the basic overall use and look of the streaming service on screen remains consistent from brand to brand.

One of the leading supporters, TCL, has been able to use the Roku reference design to dramatically increase its share of the U.S. television business, rising to the No. 3 overall brand at various times last year.

Roku has said that nearly 1 in 4 smart TVs sold in the U.S. in the first half of 2018 were Roku TVs.

Roku has also prospered by combining Roku TVs with its own sales of Roku streaming players to build its base of users. The company said it added nearly 7 million new active accounts in the past 12 months.

“For more than 90 years JVC has been delivering quality video and audio products and we look forward to working with MTC to grow the JVC smart TV presence in the US,” stated Chas Smith, general manager of Roku TV and players. “We know most TV manufacturers will license a TV OS and are proud of our low-cost purpose-built solution and the level of collaboration and support that we offer our partners while delivering a superior experience to consumers.”


By Greg Tarr


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