Who Bought the RCA Name?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by WA3EEC, Aug 16, 2010.

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  1. WA3EEC

    WA3EEC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've noticed several ads in Professional Magazines for RCA 2Way radios (in competition with Motorola ones). There was also an ad in today's NY Times.

    I know RCA was bought be GE which then dropped the RCA line. I also know GE sold its 2-way business.

    Does anyone know who is behind the new RCA 2-way radios?

    Lad WA3EEC
  2. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    this is complicated, GE bought RCA in ~1986 and sold us to Thomson in ~1989. They kept the RCA name for white goods. RCA couple years ago sold rights for the Tv name to a CHinese company. Last year they sold the rights to Audiovox for audio and small electronics. There are others that have the right to the name for different businesses. For example there was one deal where Walmart bought disposable cameras and was able to put the RCA name on them, that did not last long.

    It it is FMS/GMRS type radios then likely Audiovox. I have several pair from maybe 10 years ago when they started into this segment. I'm interested if anyone elses knows for sure.
  3. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you for passing this bit of history along.
    I've always wondered what happened to RCA
    (The most trusted name in electronics.)
  4. AG3Y

    AG3Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh, does that mean they really should be called "RCC", now? (Radio Corporation of China) ? ? ?
  5. NA5Z

    NA5Z XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nah it's still RCA: Radio Corporation of Asia.

    BTW, what was left of all that didn't go to China is now Technicolor. RCA/GE/Thomson bought Technicolor a while back. Due to current employment reasons, I'll refrain from my usual snarky comments about them being "brand name locusts".

    About all that's left of that segment is set top boxes (satellite, cable, etc).
  6. WA3EEC

    WA3EEC Ham Member QRZ Page

    The RCA radios I am talking about are not cheapie FRS/GMRS radios

    According to the Discount 2way radio site
    there are 3 models costing from $149 to $490
    The $490 one is compared to Motorola's HT750 and HT1250.

    Both the VHF and UHF versions cover the ham bands.

    Lad WA3EEC
  7. W8JI

    W8JI Ham Member QRZ Page

    No wonder. I bought an RCA TV set a few months ago and it was junk. The sound was terrible, very low fidelity.

    I took it back and got another brand. RCA, the least trusted name in electronics.
  8. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    A little research shows this company, RCA Communication Systems, offers a total of three handheld radios, hardly competition to any of the real manufacturers.

    They apparently have purchased the name, and are marketing some Chinese (or other Asian) radios. They don't look bad from the specs and pictures, but they really don't offer any of the new technology that the big companies do. Their website has a whole page dedicated to the history of RCA, but that's not them. They just use the name. In fact, on their website, I can't even find an adress or contact info.


    These seem to be aimed at the low/mid range market, like businesses, contractors, or small FD, PS, or security firms.

    Get a "name brand" radio without paying the name brand price!

  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I "think" that's only part of the story, as it's really more complicated than that!

    For a long time a lot of RCA consumer electronics products were produced under both the RCA and Philips brand logos, mostly in Asia. Philips, of course, is a huge multinational conglomerate with their fingers in many pies. So is Thomson, who seems to have acquired parts of what used to be RCA as well.

    The defense/aerospace operations of RCA became G.E., and then became Lockheed-Martin, which they still are (for the divisions still operating).

    The company's over 100 years old...it takes a long time to kill a Hydra.

    As an ex-partner of mine used to say, "Sears is going out of business. Problem is, they've been in business so long, it will take them a very long time to go out of business."
  10. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not since Thompson Consumer Electronics in France bought the name. I have yet to see anything with the RCA name on it in recent decades that wasn't cheaply made. Perhaps the French should stick to perfume and wine.

    RCA hasn't been the same since David Sarnoff died. In my opinion, buying a reputable company name and reselling products under it is downright dishonest and ought to be illegal.
  11. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    These look like cheapie knock off commercial radios! someone has the name for this market segment. Our licensing group was out pushing RCA name to everyone.

  12. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    But it's not, and this has been done lots of times.

    Anyone remember Packard Bell computers? They bought the rights to that name, belonging to an old electronics manufacturer that dried up decades earlier.
  13. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, that's why I said it is complicated and would take a book to tell the story.

    We never made anything and put the philips name on it for consumer electronics and that was my business segment for 23 years. we might have bought something from a Chinese company and Philips bought the same thing from the same company but Philips and Thomson/RCA were competitors and we really did not work together except to use some components from Philips.

    Which products are you talking about specifically?

  14. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have, from probably ten years ago (or so) items like TV distribution amplifiers and other assorted TV accessories that were labled "RCA" (silk screened or printed on the products) but the instruction sheet and warranty card, if any, were printed by Philips! So, this was confusing to me at the time. I guess it still is confusing, but I've stopped caring.;)
  15. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Didn't "Puckard-*ell" become "e(ek!)Musheens? The quality (or lack thereof) seemed the same. :eek:
  16. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    RCA radios

    Back a few decades ago I worked for RCA Service Co, repairing RCA mobile radio products.
    The last of the RCA mobile lines was made in Meadowlands, PA.
    The Portable products marketed as the RCA brand were actually made by ,first a Repco Co in Florida and later the "TacTec" RCA portable line was made offshore somewhere in Asia.
    left RCA for Motorola just before they closed the Mobile radio business!
  17. KI6USW

    KI6USW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Much LOL over here! But what is ironic can also be humerous. I agree...
  18. KI6USW

    KI6USW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Much LOL over here!
    But what is ironic can also be humorous.
    I agree...
  19. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    OK, I can believe it with that level of product. Those items are all designed and made in China so one company may supply many companies. These items are generally considered commodity so sourcing is out there beating up everyone for lowest price with little or no engineering input.

  20. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nah, very separate companies although some of the folks from Packard Bell and AST Research were involved with eMachines.

    eMachines was independent, then acquired by Gateway, and then (I think) acquired by Acer.

    P-B was actually the highest volume (thus "leading") PC manufacturer in the world for a brief time in about 1994 or so. They achieved that because they were cheap and a lot of people were buying their first or second PC and didn't know any better.:p

    They were actually located right here in Chatsworth, CA and growing exponentially -- until the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which destroyed their buildings. They relocated "temporarily" to an old GTE complex in Westlake Village (Thousand Oaks area), then ultimately to an abandoned Army base in Sacramento, where they leased a dozen buildings on a huge property for $99 a year or something ridiculous like that (heavily subsidized because the area needed new employers, and this was a company who was going to employ 20,000 people right off the bat).

    It all imploded only a few years later. But it was quite an operation for a while there, I visited many times and had several friends who worked there. Their founder/CEO Beny Alagem and my company CEO were neighbors in Tel Aviv, Israel as kids and are still very good friends here in L.A. Beny still lives in Beverly Hills as far as I know, and he's visited with us several times.
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