View Full Version : The last tv set Made in U.S.A./the influece of Asian made tv sets


Telecolor 3007
02-15-2017, 08:20 AM
When where produced the last tv sets Made in U.S.A.?
What was the ifluence of Asian made tv sets on the electronics industry of the U.S.A.?

Electronic M
02-15-2017, 09:17 AM
Depends on your metric. If it was the last American engineered sets made with a large portion of American parts, in America, then Zenith in the late 70's would be it...They moved the last of their consumer production to Mexico in the late 70's, and were probably the last old American consumer electronics firm in business to be American owned when Goldstar took them over... Other makes took Asian chassis and stuck them in American made console cabinets with American CRTs, and many Asian makes shipped kits to the USA for 'Assembly' plants to build to save on tariffs (I believe this is still done).

Telecolor 3007
02-15-2017, 09:22 AM
But in 1975-1977 there was any U.S.A. set with U.S.A. made components? :sigh:

Electronic M
02-15-2017, 09:58 AM
Zenith sets DID use American components in that time frame. There were some euro-sourced tubes and some other parts (certain cap and resistor types) but they used as much (mostly) American parts as they could while maintaining their quality standards.

You can find some euro parts in some American sets going back to the early 50's...When the Korean war caused parts shortages we bought resistors from Germany, and used mislabeled domestic resistors of correct electrical value to fill in gaps. It was not uncommon to source tubes from Europe or Asia and relabel them with a domestic brand....Ever seen a Zenith tube with Holland written on it?

Telecolor 3007
02-15-2017, 10:14 AM
No, never seen one.

bgadow
02-15-2017, 10:31 PM
The use of imported components really grew in the late 60's/early 70's with Japanese capacitors, tuners from Taiwan or Hong Kong...but final assembly in the US. Aside from smaller screen sets (13" or smaller, generally) picture tubes tended to be made in the US well into the 90's.

Zenith was probably the last major American-owned TV manufacturer, but among their later sets only the consoles were assembled here, and using imported chassis'. RCA & North American Phillips may have been packing more American-made content in their sets in the early/mid-90's than Zenith was; they were both foreign-owned companies by then, of course. Later, the NAP factory in Tennessee was run by an American company, assembling sets for other companies, and I believe there may be at least one American-owned company assembling flatscreen TV sets here right now. But like Tom said, it's just final assembly. I'm sure some components are still sourced here.

mrjukebox160
02-16-2017, 01:46 AM
Here ya go.

Telecolor 3007
02-16-2017, 06:55 AM
@ bgadow : but the rest of semiconductors, the circuit boards where Made in U.S.A.? :scratch2:

centralradio
02-16-2017, 04:34 PM
Not to sound like anti American but those American made TVs looks like they were designed by drunk engineers as you see the rats nest of wires and idiot house numbered stamped parts.Some were not bad and some were a disaster to work on.

Thank goodness for Panasonic/Sony/Toshiba came in to clean up the rats nest of wires and easy parts numbering systems. And also more reliable then the American sets.I'll take any vintage Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba over a Zenith,Sylvania or RCA any day.

DavGoodlin
02-16-2017, 05:02 PM
Here ya go.

Good tangent there! Zenith and some others like Fisher needed long-lived tubes for their high-fidelity console "stereos", so they went to Amperex and Mullard for tubes:thmbsp:

This applies to some of the TV's too. A good example is the 6EH7, 6GJ7 and other frame-grid tubes made in Europe that Zenith, RCA, Motorola and others used. Japan supplied some tubes to manufacturers in the 1960s as well.

Electronic M
02-16-2017, 05:13 PM
Not to sound like anti American but those American made TVs looks like they were designed by drunk engineers as you see the rats nest of wires and idiot house numbered stamped parts.Some were not bad and some were a disaster to work on.

Thank goodness for Panasonic/Sony/Toshiba came in to clean up the rats nest of wires and easy parts numbering systems. And also more reliable then the American sets.I'll take any vintage Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba over a Zenith,Sylvania or RCA any day.

Depends on the vintage....Many tube and hybrid color Japanese sets were a cramped pain in the but to work on, with as bad or worse a rats nest as any American made color set of the time....Whats more parts and connections were often hidden and or buried under other parts and connections.....One of the more annoying examples I can think of is my early 70's Panasonic 6 tube hybrid....I've been putting it it off since it had lytic type hum in the sound, and the main cans on the chassis may as well be a permanent part of the chassis....They are packed in on all sides such that I can't remove them without basically tearing the chassis in half and disconnecting tons of soldered wiring...I can't recall if I can even access the terminals, but I KNOW they did not leave me enough room near them to mount new ones....So if I need to replace them I'm going to have to get VERY creative and or work VERY hard...I'd rather do 10 similar cap jobs on Service Saver Zeniths, RCA tube/hybrid sets, or Admirals of the day...

Telecolor 3007
02-16-2017, 06:24 PM
Not to sound like anti American but those American made TVs looks like they were designed by drunk engineers as you see the rats nest of wires and idiot house numbered stamped parts.Some were not bad and some were a disaster to work on.

Thank goodness for Panasonic/Sony/Toshiba came in to clean up the rats nest of wires and easy parts numbering systems. And also more reliable then the American sets.I'll take any vintage Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba over a Zenith,Sylvania or RCA any day.

You're talkin about tube/hybrid sets or also solid state ones? :saywhat:

centralradio
02-18-2017, 12:15 AM
Depends on the vintage....Many tube and hybrid color Japanese sets were a cramped pain in the but to work on, with as bad or worse a rats nest as any American made color set of the time....Whats more parts and connections were often hidden and or buried under other parts and connections.....One of the more annoying examples I can think of is my early 70's Panasonic 6 tube hybrid....I've been putting it it off since it had lytic type hum in the sound, and the main cans on the chassis may as well be a permanent part of the chassis....They are packed in on all sides such that I can't remove them without basically tearing the chassis in half and disconnecting tons of soldered wiring...I can't recall if I can even access the terminals, but I KNOW they did not leave me enough room near them to mount new ones....So if I need to replace them I'm going to have to get VERY creative and or work VERY hard...I'd rather do 10 similar cap jobs on Service Saver Zeniths, RCA tube/hybrid sets, or Admirals of the day...

Yes those Japanese set had their share of rats nests.Probably had the same drunk engineers designing them.I remember those Panasonic's since my late sister had one.One good thing even with the rats nest in the Japanese sets is they used the standard Jedec part numbers then the crap house numbers the US TV's used.

You're talkin about tube/hybrid sets or also solid state ones? :saywhat:

More likely Solid State sets.The hybrids were a mess including the overseas sets..GE comes up on the top of the list.The GE Port a Color I have here was my late step dads set which is the only reason I kept it.The Motorola works in the drawer were great except for the board connections.

Robert Grant
02-19-2017, 08:15 PM
I see in some stores (even a very famous chain) new "Element" branded flat panel sets that claim to be "Made in USA".

mrjukebox160
02-19-2017, 09:34 PM
https://www.techwalla.com/articles/list-of-televisions-that-are-made-in-america

Captainclock
02-25-2017, 02:34 PM
Speaking of Japanese Rats nest wiring, but have you ever seen the inside of an old Pioneer or Kenwood-TRIO or Sony Tube powered Stereo Receiver or Amplifier or Tuner? Those things are a nightmare when it comes to having to replace capacitors or resistors or having to replace toasty wiring... :sigh: :thumbsdn: :no:

Electronic M
02-25-2017, 04:40 PM
Speaking of Japanese Rats nest wiring, but have you ever seen the inside of an old Pioneer or Kenwood-TRIO or Sony Tube powered Stereo Receiver or Amplifier or Tuner? Those things are a nightmare when it comes to having to replace capacitors or resistors or having to replace toasty wiring... :sigh: :thumbsdn: :no:

I wish I could see the inside of one of those. There are a lot more domestic ones in the US, but with the way the audiophools hunt that gear even the domestic stuff is hard to find and usually priced outside of sanity...

If you end up with tube audio gear that you can't fix please give someone a chance to buy it before E-wasting it.

davet753
02-26-2017, 05:25 PM
There were plenty of pain in the a** TV sets imported here. I usually hated working on Sony stuff. I remember the parts were sky high (if you could find them), tech support was almost non-existant, and they had some weird engineering sometimes.

I was an authorized service center for Samsung and Goldstar in the late 80's/early 90's. You want to talk about crap, they turned out plenty of it in those days.

RCA, Phillips, and Zenith designed and built some lemon's from time to time, but until the early 90's they were as good or better than most of the imports. The downfall of the television industry in America had far more to do with consumer pricing and corporate profitability than quality.

Telecolor 3007
02-26-2017, 05:35 PM
"Samsung" tv sets imported in Romania before 1996-1997 where pretty good. Some worked for 18 years or more!

KentTeffeteller
02-27-2017, 08:18 AM
Not to sound like anti American but those American made TVs looks like they were designed by drunk engineers as you see the rats nest of wires and idiot house numbered stamped parts.Some were not bad and some were a disaster to work on.

Thank goodness for Panasonic/Sony/Toshiba came in to clean up the rats nest of wires and easy parts numbering systems. And also more reliable then the American sets.I'll take any vintage Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba over a Zenith,Sylvania or RCA any day.

Most professional TV repair technicians would heavily disagree with you too. Most of these repair technicians chose Zenith for many years as their best set reliability wise and their easiest serviced set. And RCA also were pretty serviceman friendly. Sony sets had very expensive spare parts, difficult support from Sony, and much more difficult to repair back in the day, compared to most other set makers. davet753's perspective agrees with most every veteran repair technician I have known of. Zenith, RCA, and several other major American brands of sets had very good manufacturer support on training technicians, spare parts availability, technical support, etc.

davet753
02-27-2017, 08:44 AM
Most professional TV repair technicians would heavily disagree with you too. Most of these repair technicians chose Zenith for many years as their best set reliability wise and their easiest serviced set. And RCA also were pretty serviceman friendly. Sony sets had very expensive spare parts, difficult support from Sony, and much more difficult to repair back in the day, compared to most other set makers. davet753's perspective agrees with most every veteran repair technician I have known of. Zenith, RCA, and several other major American brands of sets had very good manufacturer support on training technicians, spare parts availability, technical support, etc.

That reminded me of something: technical support.

I remember going to one-day tech training sessions every time RCA came out with a new chassis. They would hold a class and invite all the authorized service center tech's to come and learn about the new designs. These classes were great for understanding the latest engineering. They also mailed out technical support bulletins that were a very valuable tool. Of course, we received an envelope of microfiche literature at regular intervals (microfiche.....God, that brings back memories).

Zenith used to do tech classes through their local distributor, but not as often as "dealer shows" for the sales end of the business. Graybar (and later on Cain & Bultman) was the local Zenith distributor, and they were always ready to facilitate technical assistance through their contacts at Zenith in Chicago. They also had a warehouse stocked with replacement parts. Whether a module, CRT, or a simple part, there was no waiting.

Phillips had the best tech support program in the biz. We could call the service division in Greenville, TN and a factory technician would answer the phone and take the time to help you troubleshoot a problem. I always found them to be the friendliest, most knowledgeable guys you could ever ask for. Parts orders were received the day after ordering, and their prices were reasonable.

My experience of import brands never came close to the level of support domestic manufacturers offered.

andy
03-01-2017, 11:22 AM
I would say it was a mixed bag. American sets (at least RCA and Zenith) tended to hold up better over the decades (well beyond their deign life), and were designed with serviceability in mind. The lesser American brands weren't so great. Japanese hybrid sets were a pain to work on because they tried to cram everything into a small cabinet. Tubes in a compact cabinet were not a good combination.

Japanese companies tended to push technology forward at a faster pace (such as Trinitron, the move toward solid state, pocket size TVs, and home video recording). The American companies spent more time perfecting a particular technology before moving on. The Japanese mostly avoided the disastrously unreliable modular designs of the 70's (flaky module connectors and transistor sockets caused more problems than the actual components). I would call it a disaster when you trade reliability for serviceability. Rather than design in serviceability, the Japanese tried to design them not to need any service. That often meant that they were somewhat disposable.

centralradio
03-01-2017, 01:42 PM
Most professional TV repair technicians would heavily disagree with you too. Most of these repair technicians chose Zenith for many years as their best set reliability wise and their easiest serviced set. And RCA also were pretty serviceman friendly. Sony sets had very expensive spare parts, difficult support from Sony, and much more difficult to repair back in the day, compared to most other set makers. davet753's perspective agrees with most every veteran repair technician I have known of. Zenith, RCA, and several other major American brands of sets had very good manufacturer support on training technicians, spare parts availability, technical support, etc.

I agree with you.My friend who is going to be 98 years young this month which I used his shop's name for my user name serviced Zenith sets for over 40 plus years and said they were the best sets made.He also serviced Sylvania,RCA to name a couple of US made TV sets he serviced in his shop.He was not a fan of the Japanese sets.He will kill me over what I said earlier about the US sets..LOL......................

My late friend fixed Sony ,Panasonic and other Japanese sets across town in his shop.

There was another shop in town that fixed Magnavox but I did not know him good.The same goes for a Motorola/Quasar shop in town too that I did not know him good..

waltchan
04-15-2017, 06:43 AM
The very-last "Assembled in USA" CRT TV was the 2005 Toshiba 34HF85 34" HDTV, assembled by Orion America in Princeton, IN.

http://www.indianaeconomicdigest.net/main.asp?SectionID=31&SubSectionID=62&ArticleID=26684

Orion America was a subsidiary (now Sansui Sales) of Orion Electric Co., Japan. Sansui Sales USA is now a private company and no longer owned by Orion. They used to build a bunch of Emerson TV and VCRs back in early-90s.