Victor Company of Japan, Ltd (日本ビクター株式会社 Nippon Bikutā Kabushiki-gaisha), TYO: 6792, usually referred to as JVC or The Japan Victor Company, is a Japanese international professional and consumer electronics corporation based in Yokohama. Founded in 1927, the company is best known for introducing Japan's first televisions and for developing the Video Home System (VHS) video recorder.
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JVC was founded in 1927 as "The Victor Talking Machine Company of Japan, Limited," a subsidiary of the United States' leading phonograph and record company, the Victor Talking Machine Company. In 1929, majority ownership was transferred to RCA-Victor. In the 1930s, JVC produced phonographs and records. In 1932, JVC began producing radios, and in 1939 Japan's first locally-made television. JVC severed relations with RCA Victor during World War II. Today the record company in Japan is known as Victor Entertainment.
In the 1960s, JVC established the Nivico (Nippon Victor Corporation) brand for Delmonico's line of console televisions and stereos.
In 1971, JVC introduced the first discrete system for four channel quadraphonic sound on vinyl records - CD-4 (Compatible Discrete Four Channel) or Quadradisc, as it was called by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in the United States.
In 1975, JVC introduced the first combined portable battery-operated radio with inbuilt TV, as the model 3050. The TV was a 3-inch (7.6 cm) black-and-white cathode ray tube. One year later, JVC expanded the model to add a cassette-recorder, as the 3060, creating the world's first boombox with radio, cassette and TV.
In 1976, the first VCR to use VHS was the Victor HR-3300, and was introduced by the president of JVC at the Okura Hotel on September 9, 1976. JVC started selling the HR-3300 in Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan on October 31, 1976. Region-specific versions of the JVC HR-3300 were also distributed later on, such as the HR-3300U in the United States, and HR-3300EK in the United Kingdom.
In the late 1970s, JVC developed the VHS format, introducing the first VHS recorders to the consumer market in 1976 for the equivalent of US $1060. Sony, which had introduced the Betamax home videocassette tape a year earlier, became the main competitor for JVC's VHS format into the 1980s, creating the videotape format war. The Betamax cassette was smaller, with slightly superior picture quality to the VHS cassette, but this resulted in Betamax having less recording time. The two companies competed fiercely to encourage others to adopt their format, but by 1984 forty companies were using JVC's VHS format, while only 12 used Betamax. Sony began producing VHS recorders in 1988 and after 1993 stopped making Betamax recorders for the US market, and then completely in 2002.
In 1979, JVC demonstrated a prototype of its video high density (VHD) disc system. This system was capacitance-based, like capacitance electronic disc (CED), but the discs were grooveless with the stylus being guided by servo signals in the disc surface. The VHD discs were initially handled by the operator and played on a machine that looked like an audio LP turntable, but JVC used caddy-housed discs when the system was marketed. Development suffered numerous delays, and the product was launched in 1983 in Japan, followed by the United Kingdom in 1984, to a limited industrial market.
In 1981, JVC introduced a line of revolutionary direct-drive cassette decks, topped by the DD-9, that provided previously unattainable levels of speed stability.
During the 1980s JVC briefly marketed its own portable audio equipment similar to the Sony Walkman on the market at the time. The JVC CQ-F2K was released in 1982 and had a detachable radio that mounted to the headphones for a compact, wire-free listening experience. JVC had difficulty making the products successful, and a few years later stopped making them. In Japan, JVC marketed the products under the name "Victor".
In 1986, JVC released the HC-95, a personal computer with a 3.58 MHz Zilog Z80A processor, 64 KB RAM, running on MSX Basic 2.0. It included two 3.5" floppy disk drives and conformed to the graphics specification of the MSX-2 standard. However, like the Pioneer PX-7, it also carried a sophisticated hardware interface that handled video superimposition and various interactive video processing features. The JVC HC-95 was first sold in Japan, and then Europe, but sales were disappointing.
JVC video recorders were marketed by the Ferguson Radio Corporation in the UK, with just cosmetic changes. However, Ferguson needed to find another supplier for its camcorders when JVC produced only the VHS-C format, rather than video8. Ferguson was later acquired by Thomson SA, which ended the relationship. JVC later invented hard drive camcorders.
In October 2001, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented JVC an Emmy Award for "outstanding achievement in technological advancement" for "Pioneering Development of Consumer Camcorders". Annual sponsorships of the world-renowned JVC Tokyo Video Festival and the JVC Jazz Festival have helped attract the attention of more customers.
JVC has been a worldwide football (soccer) supporter since 1982, having a former kit sponsorship with Arsenal and continued its role as an official partner of 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. JVC made headlines as the first-ever corporate partner of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. JVC has recently forged corporate partnerships with ESPN Zone and Foxploration. In 2005, JVC joined HANA, the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance, to help establish standards in consumer-electronics interoperability.
In 2007, Victor Company of Japan Ltd confirmed a strategic capital alliance with Kenwood and SPARKX Investment, resulting in Matsushita's holding being reduced to approximately 37%.
In April 2008, JVC announced that it was closing its TV plants in East Kilbride (Scotland) and Japan. This left it with one plant in Thailand. It stated it would outsource European production to an OEM.
JVC TVs for North America are now being manufactured by AmTRAN Video Corporation along with distribution, service, and warranty under license from JVC Kenwood. In Europe, Dixons Carphone, owner of Currys Digital and PC World has a similar arrangement with JVC Kenwood.
In Europe, JVC sells mainly some audio accessories, like headphones, and until recently DIN type car audio. Also in Europe, JVC is present with camcorders, security cameras, audio systems and with their emblematic boom box, projectors. JVC TV sets in Europe are manufactured mainly by Turkish manufacturer Vestel, but are not available in all countries.
JVC is a well-known brand among English football (soccer) fans due to the firm's sponsorship of Arsenal Football Club from 1981 to 1999, when Sega took over as Arsenal's sponsors. JVC's 18-year association with Arsenal is one of the longest club-sponsor associations with any professional club football. Also shirt sponsored Aberdeen Football Club in the eighties and early nineties.
JVC is generally known within Japan by the Victor brand, preceded by the His Master's Voice (HMV) logo featuring the dog Nipper. Because of a conflict in trademarks between HMV and Victor, HMV is not allowed to use Nipper in Japan. At one time, the company used the Nivico name (for "Nippon Victor Company") overseas, before rebranding to JVC, which stands for Japan's Victor Company. Therefore, the Victor and JVC-Victor web sites look quite different. Conversely, the HMV store chain exists in Japan (though no longer owned by HMV Group), but it cannot use the His Master's Voice motto or logo; its logo is a stylized image of a gramophone only. After American corporation RCA, brought out the company in 1929 and became RCA Victor in Japan, RCA also had acquired the use of Nipper and His Master's Voice logo, but for use in North America.
Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. (JVC) is pleased to announce that it has developed the world's first [as of April 4, 2005] single-sided, dual layer DVD-RW disc technology with a maximum storage capacity of 8.5GB
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