Richtige Fernseher haben Röhren!

Richtige Fernseher haben Röhren!

In Brief: On this site you will find pictures and information about some of the electronic, electrical and electrotechnical technology relics that the Frank Sharp Private museum has accumulated over the years .

Premise: There are lots of vintage electrical and electronic items that have not survived well or even completely disappeared and forgotten.

Or are not being collected nowadays in proportion to their significance or prevalence in their heyday, this is bad and the main part of the death land. The heavy, ugly sarcophagus; models with few endearing qualities, devices that have some over-riding disadvantage to ownership such as heavy weight,toxicity or inflated value when dismantled, tend to be under-represented by all but the most comprehensive collections and museums. They get relegated to the bottom of the wants list, derided as 'more trouble than they are worth', or just forgotten entirely. As a result, I started to notice gaps in the current representation of the history of electronic and electrical technology to the interested member of the public.


Following this idea around a bit, convinced me that a collection of the peculiar alone could not hope to survive on its own merits, but a museum that gave equal display space to the popular and the unpopular, would bring things to the attention of the average person that he has previously passed by or been shielded from. It's a matter of culture. From this, the Obsolete Technology Tellye Web Museum concept developed and all my other things too. It's an open platform for all electrical Electronic TV technology to have its few, but NOT last, moments of fame in a working, hand-on environment. We'll never own Colossus or Faraday's first transformer, but I can show things that you can't see at the Science Museum, and let you play with things that the Smithsonian can't allow people to touch, because my remit is different.

There was a society once that was the polar opposite of our disposable, junk society. A whole nation was built on the idea of placing quality before quantity in all things. The goal was not “more and newer,” but “better and higher" .This attitude was reflected not only in the manufacturing of material goods, but also in the realms of art and architecture, as well as in the social fabric of everyday life. The goal was for each new cohort of children to stand on a higher level than the preceding cohort: they were to be healthier, stronger, more intelligent, and more vibrant in every way.

The society that prioritized human, social and material quality is a Winner. Truly, it is the high point of all Western civilization. Consequently, its defeat meant the defeat of civilization itself.

Today, the West is headed for the abyss. For the ultimate fate of our disposable society is for that society itself to be disposed of. And this will happen sooner, rather than later.

OLD, but ORIGINAL, Well made, Funny, Not remotely controlled............. and not Made in CHINA.

How to use the site:

- If you landed here via any Search Engine, you will get what you searched for and you can search more using the search this blog feature provided by Google. You can visit more posts scrolling the left blog archive of all posts of the month/year,
or you can click on the main photo-page to start from the main page. Doing so it starts from the most recent post to the older post simple clicking on the Older Post button on the bottom of each page after reading , post after post.

You can even visit all posts, time to time, when reaching the bottom end of each page and click on the Older Post button.

- If you arrived here at the main page via bookmark you can visit all the site scrolling the left blog archive of all posts of the month/year pointing were you want , or more simple You can even visit all blog posts, from newer to older, clicking at the end of each bottom page on the Older Post button.
So you can see all the blog/site content surfing all pages in it.

- The search this blog feature provided by Google is a real search engine. If you're pointing particular things it will search IT for you; or you can place a brand name in the search query at your choice and visit all results page by page. It's useful since the content of the site is very large.

Note that if you don't find what you searched for, try it after a period of time; the site is a never ending job !

Every CRT Television saved let revive knowledge, thoughts, moments of the past life which will never return again.........

Many contemporary "televisions" (more correctly named as displays) would not have this level of staying power, many would ware out or require major services within just five years or less and of course, there is that perennial bug bear of planned obsolescence where components are deliberately designed to fail and, or manufactured with limited edition specificities..... and without considering........picture......sound........quality........

..............The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of todays funny gadgets low price has faded from memory........ . . . . . .....
Don't forget the past, the end of the world is upon us! Pretty soon it will all turn to dust!

Have big FUN ! !
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©2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Frank Sharp - You do not have permission to copy photos and words from this blog, and any content may be never used it for auctions or commercial purposes, however feel free to post anything you see here with a courtesy link back, btw a link to the original post here , is mandatory.
All sets and apparates appearing here are property of
Engineer Frank Sharp. NOTHING HERE IS FOR SALE !

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

SONY KV-1600E YEAR 1975.






The SONY KV-1600E is a portable 16 Inches color television with 8 programs preselection with sensor button program change and potentiometers featured tuning search system.

 TV TOUCH-TUNING IC: With the developmente of application covering the use of m.o.s. devices for television and radio channel selection and indication a  device relates to a specially developed m.o.s.-technology integrated circuit which  is already produced in development quantities. The  touch -tuner as the i.c. is designated ans was  intended to replace mechanical push-button TV tuner mechanisms. It provides a sensing system which operates in conjunction with a finger -touch plate, a switching arrangement to control a varicap tuner and in addition outputs to operate channel indicating neon lamps. The sensing system comprises a very high -impedance circuit which is effectively shorted out by the resistance of a finger placed across the external touch plate. One side of the touch plate is connected to the sensing input of the i.c. and the other to a positive voltage which may be d.c. or a.c. When the touch plate is operated the channels are stepped through in sequence: the selected channel latches on and the appropriate indicator lights. The i.c. operates from a standard 33V varicap tuner supply and enables up to eight channels to be selected. Remote control can be applied to the system if required and the set is provided for that. Touch -sensitive control units form a welcome and natural adjunct to the use of varicap tuner units. As they dispense completely with the need for electrical switches and switch contacts they should reduce further the number of service calls for tuning faults. Various circuit arrangements are used in touch operated tuner control units but all operate when a finger tip bridges a pair of contacts which incidentally look at first glance like a single contact. When the finger tip completes the circuit forward bias is applied to a high gain switching transistor. This in turn switches on another transistor or transistors and the net outcome is that the supply to the appropriate tuning potentiometer is connected and held on while the supply to the previously selected potentiometer is switched off. In addition a channel ident fication bulb is usually brought into circuit. As skin resistance is high the touch contacts must be incorporated in a correspondingly high resistance circuit; in practice resistor values in the range 10-22MegaOhm are used. The switching operations are carried out either by discrete transistors or i.c.s. Transistors form almost ideal switches of course.

It's a Circuit arrangement for establishing a reference potential of a chassis of an electrical device such as a radio and/or TV receiver, such device being provided with at least one contactless touching switch operating under the AC voltage principle. The device is switched by touching a unipole touching field in a contactless manner so as to establish connection to a grounded network pole. The circuit arrangement includes in combination an electronic blocking switch and a unidirectional rectifier which separates such switch from the network during the blocking phase.In electronic devices, for example TV and radio receivers, there are used in ever increasing numbers electronic touching switches for switching and adjusting the functions of the device. In one known embodiment of this type of touching switch, which operates on a DC voltage principle, the function of the electronic device, is contactlessly switched by touching a unipole touching field, the switching being carried out by means of an alternating current voltage.
The invention relates to a tuning unit with bandswitch for high frequency receivers, especially radio and television receivers, having a potentiometer system for the control of capacity diodes, the said potentiometer system consisting of a plurality of parallel resistance paths along which wiper contacts can be driven by means of screw spindles disposed adjacent one another in a common insulating material housing in which a bandswitch formed of metal rods is associated with each tuning spindle.

In these tuning units, the working voltages of the capacity diodes in the tuning circuits are recorded once a precise tuning to the desired frequency has been performed. A potentiometer tuning system has great advantages over the formerly used channel selectors operating with mechanically adjustable capacitors (tuning condensers) or mechanically adjustable inductances (variometers), mainly because it is not required to have such great precision in its tuning mechanism.

Tuning units with bandswitches formed of variable resistances and combined with interlocking pushbuttons controlling the supply of recorded working voltages to capacity diodes are known. Channel selection is accomplished by depressing the knobs, and the tuning or fine tuning are performed by turning the knobs. The resistances serving as voltage dividers in these tuning units are combined into a component unit such that they are in the form of a ladderlike pattern on a common insulating plate forming the cover of the housing in which the tuning spindles and wiper contacts corresponding to the variable resistances are housed. The number of resistances corresponds to the number of channels or frequencies which are to be recorded. The wiper contact picks up a voltage which, when applied to the capacity diodes determines their capacitance and hence the frequency of the corresponding oscillating circuit. The adjustment of the wipers is performed by turning the tuning spindle coupled to the tuning knob. By the depression of a button the electrical connection between a contact rod and a tuning spindle is brought about and thus the selected voltage is applied to the capacity diodes. Since the push buttons release one another, it is possible simply by depressing another button to tune to a different receiving frequency or a different channel, as the case may be.

In the end of the 60's  increasingly attention was focused on the varicap diode tuner as the latest, sophisticated means of television receiver frontend tuning in both colour and black and white sets.
 The main purpose of this article is to investigate the servicing problems associated with this comparatively new method of tuning.

First however let's briefly recap on the principles involved in this tuning system:

 The tuners use variable capacitance (or "varicap") diodes as the variable tuning elements: the effective capacitance of the diodes is controlled by the reverse bias applied across them, tuning being achieved by varying this voltage. As the reverse bias across a varicap diode is increased so its junction depletion region widens thus reducing its capacitance.
A VHF/ UHF television tuner is constructed in accordance with the present invention includes a preselector tuned circuit having a solid state voltage controlled capacitor as its tunable element, a radio frequency amplifier coupled to the preselector circuit and alsoother circuit to perfect the signal receiving capability and the application the like.

Considering the Mechanical Tuner Problems:

To get the servicing problems in perspective let us next consider the tuning arrangements previously used.
 The earliest of these, employed on v.h.f., was the switched tuner which was either of the turret or incremental type.
 The turret tuner substituted a coil bearing "biscuit" mounted on the rotating drum or turret when channels were changed. Twelve positions were normally provided, with a fine tuning knob to adjust the local oscillator frequency. As its name suggests the incremental tuner simply added more inductance to the tuned circuits at every downward channel movement: thus the highest inductance was present on channel one and the least on channel 12 (which normally covered 13 as well with manipulation of the fine tuner).
The movement towards u.h.f. TV working, initially with dual standard sets and later with single standard ones, brought about the need for u.h.f. tuners. In the earliest u.h.f. receivers valve tuners which were not particularly efficient were used.

The drive mechanism was usually a dual  speed rotary system calibrated from channels 21 to 68. Experience in the field indicated that 625 line television was in many cases considered by the viewer to be inferior to 405 -line reception, on account of the poor signal to noise ratio achieved by the valve tuners. Many viewers were not prepared to use external u.h.f. aerials of course, having achieved satisfactory reception on v.h.f. with an indoor aerial: this aggravated the situation even more.
Another aspect which caused difficulty was the care needed to tune in a u.h.f. channel using a rotary tuner covering the whole of Bands IV and V. Many viewers simply could not tune in BBC 2  or ZDF or ORF or any channel correctly with such a tuning mechanism, finding that they had passed right over the channel they wanted before realising what they had done.
The advent of transistor tuners rapidly improved the quality of u.h.f. reception but use of a rotary mechanism was continued by many manufacturers. Thus while potential reception was improved the same tuning difficulties remained and viewers continued to gravitate towards 405 line viewing using the "old faithful" switched tuner. The operational breakthrough came with the introduction of the push-button u.h.f. channel change. 

The mechanism is basically simple. Adjustable push buttons press down on a lever bar which in turn rotates the tuner's variable capacitors to the appropriate position. Each button is capable of tuning over the entire u.h.f. bands and this leads to customer confusion at times when after some adjustments which were too heavy handed they find themselves receiving ITV on a BBC button or a ORF and ZDF broadcasting or any channel possible !

Mechanical Faults:

 Mechanical tuning obviously has its snags. There are for example contact springs which earth the tuning capacitor and go intermittent. This gives rise to the most random tuning defects, capable of driving the. most patient viewer to a state of total exasperation. It is also possible for the rotation mechanism to hang up and jam intermittently, or just become sticky, so that the reset accuracy of the mechanism is impaired and the receiver has to be retuned every time the channel is changed.
The vanes in the tuning capacitor can also short out at different settings, thereby eliminating some channels. The  Varicap Tuner It will be seen then that mechanical defects can cause very irritating fault symptoms. If one thinks along the lines that anything mechanical is nasty, then the elimination of mechanical parts can only be to the good.

The logic of this is splendid provided the electronic replacement for the mechanical system is more reliable! Otherwise we are leaping out of the frying pan into the fire! In the light of experience gained with mechanical tuning devices it seems great that with the varicap tuner we have at last dispensed with the dreaded rotary tuning capacitor, replacing it instead with a variable voltage to the tuner. 
Let us think about this however since things are never quite as simple as they first appear. The tuning voltage has to be variable in order to tune the receiver. Obviously then a means of varying the voltage has to be provided to act as the tuning control.
As it is a voltage that has to be varied the tuning control takes the form of a potentiometer., Now we have returned to a mechanical system again, though in a less complex form.
A potentiometer is required for each channel, selected by pressing the appropriate channel button.

We have lost a tuning capacitor and its rotating mechanism and gained a set of pots and selector switches therefore. Provided the pots and switches are mechanically more reliable than the tuning capacitor we should be better off-or should we? 

Need for Voltage Stabilisation.
 The voltage selected by the pots cannot be allowed to drift otherwise the receiver will go off -tune. The voltage supply to the potentiometers has to be stabilised therefore and a stabilising zener diode or integrated circuit (TAA550) .is needed for this purpose.

Any failure in this part of the circuit will give rise to tuning drift or worse, a total loss of reception. A short-circuit TAA550 for example will completely remove the tuning voltage while if it is open circuit the tuning can vary with picture brightness. Likewise any intermittency in the potentiometers or associated switching and/or resistors can also cause problems.

Relative Reliability of Tuners:

 It  will be seen then that in order to lose our troublesome mechanical arrangement we have had to introduce considerably more electronics which we trust are going to be more reliable. In addition we have not so far considered the relative reliability of the varicap tuner itself compared with the mechanical type. Since two r.f. transistors are generally used to compensate for the reduced Q of the varicap tuned circuits we immediately have twice the likelihood of an r.f. stage breaking down! 
And being semiconductors the varicap diodes themselves are more likely to fail than the sections of a ganged tuning capacitor. It is reasonable then to conclude that if mechanical faults are the most prevalent the use of varicap tuners will make life easier. Mechanical faults are generally not too difficult to sort out however and the field engineer can often cope with them in the home. 
Can the same be said of the varicap tuner? It seems that this type of tuner does not need so much attention as its mechanical counterpart but is likely to throw up some much more difficult faults when it does, resulting in bench repairs being needed. So far my own experience has indicated that varicap tuning faults nearly always need servicing on the bench.
Generally speaking it seems true to say that varicap tuners themselves are adequately reliable: the snags result from the tuning system and stabilised power supply.

Tuning Drift with Varicap Tuners:

 If a varicap tuned receiver is constantly drifting off tune the +30V supply should be the number one suspect. It is best to connect an Avometer permanently to the supply so that it can be precisely monitored-if necessary write down the exact voltage measured.
 If the receiver drifts, check the voltage. If it has changed, even slightly, this may well be enough to be the cause of the fault. To pinpoint and confirm the diagnosis aerosol freezer should be applied to the stabiliser i.c. or zener. If the voltage returns to normal or changes wildly for the worse the stabiliser is almost certainly the cause of the trouble and should be replaced.
A prolonged soak test should then be carried out. Another point concerning varicap tuners arises with their use in colour receivers.


 There were  makers of the most expensive colour receiver on the market still didn't use a varicap tuner but instead use a mechanical one. The makers' claim is that the signal to-noise ratio of the varicap tuner is inadequate for their colour standards. Undoubtedly the results obtained on the receiver seem to confirm this. Interestingly, the same manufacturers use varicap tuners in their black -and -white receivers, and the tuning button system is often full of troublesome intermittent contacts. The varicap tuner has its advantages and disadvantages then. Probably the simplest comment would be to say that when it is good it is very very good but when it is bad it is horrid!

It has a Transistorized horizontal deflection circuits  made up of a horizontal switching or output transistor, a diode, one or more capacitors and a deflection winding. The output transistor, operating as a switch, is driven by a horizontal rate square wave signal and conducts during a portion of the horizontal trace interval. A diode, connected in parallel with the transistor, conducts during the remainder of the trace interval. A retrace capacitor and the deflection yoke winding are coupled in parallel across the transistor-diode combination. Energy is transferred into and out of the deflection winding via the diode and output transistor during the trace interval and via the retrace capacitor during the retrace interval.
In some television receivers, the collector of the horizontal output transistor is coupled to the B+ power supply through the primary windings of the high voltage transformer.

By form it was allowing even on table fitting combined toghether with portability.


Was one of the first models of this type of compact design, and was marketed mainly in German market.

Was equipped with a 114° degree CRT TUBE SONY TRINITRON.


The Trinitron colour tube, designed by and used exclusively by Sony in all its colour receivers, was the first to have an in -line gun arrangement. The Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) has been slowly changing since its con- ception about 50 years ago. Since then the emitter, accelerator and focus structures at the “gun” end have been added to the vacuum tube to shape and control the amount of electrons from the gun. At the target end of the CRT, the luminescent screen is made of a phos- phor mixture. Phosphor glows white when struck by electrons. Phos- phor brightness is directly proportional to the amount of electrons that strike the phosphor. The CRT sport brightness was controllable with a gun and phosphor screen. The electron beam produced a spot of light that was stationary on the phosphor screen. Placing an electromagnetic field near the electron beam after it left the gun created movement. The spot intensity and location were now controllable and the CRT became known as the pic- ture tube. To produce a color picture on the CRT screen; three independent gun structures are used. The electron guns produce different amounts of electrons targeted to their corresponding Red, Green and Blue phos- phors. Red, Green and Blue are the primary colors for light. In 1968 the Sony Trinitron picture tube was a departure from the tradi- tional three-gun color picture tube. Three major changes to the old color tube created a distinctive Trinitron picture tube:
 1. Instead of three small electron guns, focus was improved using one large electron gun structure that all three beams pass through.
 2. Electrostatic convergence plates were added to bend the outer elec- tron beams so they would land on the corresponding red and blue color phosphor.
 3. A continuous vertical slotted aperture grill at the screen end that: • Reduces the effects of terrestrial magnetism. • Prevents adjacent and stray electrons from striking the wrong phos- phor. • Allows more electrons to pass, increasing brightness without short- ening life. • Results in a flat screen. This reduces annoying room light reflections (glare).
It has a single gun assembly with three cathodes mounted in line horizontally, a striped -phosphor screen, an aperture grill with vertical slots instead of the traditional type of shadowmask, and a faceplate with cylindrical rather than parabolic curvature. The Trinitron tube produces a very good display - some people, including the   Obsolete Technology Tellye ! - author, would say the best aven if some exceptions with the PHILIPS ERF Series. There are sound technical reasons for making this claim, for example the design of the large electron lens which provides excellent resolution. An advantage of the cylindrical in comparison with the traditional parabolic faceplate is the fact that most of the external light that falls on it is reflected away from instead of towards the viewer, thus improving the. contrast and reducing eye strain.
The Black Trinitron introduced a couple of years ago gives a further improvement in this respect (the faceplate has been darkened to a black colour). Since the first Trinitron tubes appeared in the UK in the late sixties there has not been a great deal of change in the design, though a number of improvements have been introduced. More recently we have had the Black Trinitron mentioned above and the Pan -focus gun which gives uniform focusing over the entire screen area, eliminating any need for dynamic focusing but further added in large screen models in the 70's and 80's and 90's.

(To see the Internal Chassis Just click on Older Post Button on bottom page, that's simple !)


Sony Corporation (Sonī Kabushiki Gaisha) (TYO: 6758, NYSE: SNE), or commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate with revenue exceeding ¥ 7.730.0 trillion, or US$77.20 billion (FY2010).[3] Sony is one of the leading manufacturers of electronics, products for the consumer and professional markets. Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group, which is engaged in business through its eight operating segments – Consumer Products & Devices (CPD), Networked Products & Services (NPS), B2B & Disc Manufacturing (B2B & Disc), Pictures, Music, Financial Services, Sony Ericsson and All Other.[5][6] These make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony's principal business operations include Sony Corporation (Sony Electronics in the U.S.), Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Ericsson, and Sony Financial. As a semiconductor maker, Sony is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders. Its founders Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka derived the name from sonus, the Latin word for sound, and also from the English slang word "sonny", since they considered themselves to be "sonny boys", a loan word into Japanese which in the early 1950s connoted smart and presentable young men. History Masaru Ibuka, the co-founder of Sony: In late 1945, after the end of World War II, Masaru Ibuka started a radio repair shop in a bomb-damaged department store building in Nihonbashi of Tokyo. The next year, he was joined by his colleague, Akio Morita, and they founded a company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K., (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). The company built Japan's first tape recorder called the Type-G. In the early 1950s, Ibuka traveled in the United States and heard about Bell Labs' invention of the transistor.[8] He convinced Bell to license the transistor technology to his Japanese company. While most American companies were researching the transistor for its military applications, Ibuka and Morita looked to apply it to communications. Although the American companies Regency[disambiguation needed] and Texas Instruments built the first transistor radios, it was Ibuka's company that made them commercially successful for the first time. In August 1955, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo released the Sony TR-55, Japan's first commercially produced transistor radio.[9] They followed up in December of the same year by releasing the Sony TR-72, a product that won favor both within Japan and in export markets, including Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany. Featuring six transistors, push-pull output and greatly improved sound quality, the TR-72 continued to be a popular seller into the early sixties. In May 1956, the company released the TR-6, which featured an innovative slim design and sound quality capable of rivaling portable tube radios. It was for the TR-6 that Sony first contracted "Atchan", a cartoon character created by Fuyuhiko Okabe, to become its advertising character. Now known as "Sony Boy", the character first appeared in a cartoon ad holding a TR-6 to his ear, but went on to represent the company in ads for a variety of products well into the mid-sixties.[8] The following year, 1957, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo came out with the TR-63 model, then the smallest (112 × 71 × 32 mm) transistor radio in commercial production. It was a worldwide commercial success.[8] University of Arizona professor Michael Brian Schiffer, Ph.D., says, "Sony was not first, but its transistor radio was the most successful. The TR-63 of 1957 cracked open the U.S. market and launched the new industry of consumer microelectronics." By the mid 1950s, American teens had begun buying portable transistor radios in huge numbers, helping to propel the fledgling industry from an estimated 100,000 units in 1955 to 5,000,000 units by the end of 1968. Sony's headquarters moved to Minato, Tokyo from Shinagawa, Tokyo around the end of 2006.[10][11] Origin of name When Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo was looking for a romanized name to use to market themselves, they strongly considered using their initials, TTK. The primary reason they did not is that the railway company Tokyo Kyuko was known as TKK.[8] The company occasionally used the acronym "Totsuko" in Japan, but during his visit to the United States, Morita discovered that Americans had trouble pronouncing that name. Another early name that was tried out for a while was "Tokyo Teletech" until Morita discovered that there was an American company already using Teletech as a brand name.[12] The name "Sony" was chosen for the brand as a mix of two words. One was the Latin word Sonus which is the root of "sonic" and "sound" and the other was "sonny," a familiar term used in 1950s America to call a boy.[7] The first Sony-branded product, the TR-55 transistor radio, appeared in 1955 but the company name did not change to Sony until January 1958. At the time of the change, it was extremely unusual for a Japanese company to use Roman letters to spell its name instead of writing it in kanji. The move was not without opposition: TTK's principal bank at the time, Mitsui, had strong feelings about the name. They pushed for a name such as Sony Electronic Industries, or Sony Teletech. Akio Morita was firm, however, as he did not want the company name tied to any particular industry. Eventually, both Ibuka and Mitsui Bank's chairman gave their approval.



By Japanese standards Sony is a comparative newcomer. It started out in May 1946, recently celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. Most of the major Japanese companies in the consumer electronics field were formed much earlier. Hitachi and Toshiba for example date from the nineteenth century, Matsuhsita from the early years of the twentieth century. During those fifty years however Sony's achievements have been second to none. Sony started operations as Tokyo Tsuchin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). Its aim was "to make unique products", and to "create and introduce technologies that larger companies cannot match". One of its earliest achievements was Japan's first reel-to-reel audio tape recorder, which was launched in 1950. The tape to go with it, also developed by the company, was called Soni-tape. In 1954 the company launched the first all -transistor radio to go into production anywhere. When, in the following year, it decided to start exporting, a simple brand name that would be easily recognised in any part of the globe was required. Sony was the obvious answer, and in 1958 the company changed its name to the Sony Corporation. The Sony Corporation of America was set up in 1960. Sony UK, in 1968, brought Sony to Europe. Innovation continued apace. In 1960 Sony launched the fast fully transistorised portable TV receiver. Five years later the first open -reel video tape recorder for domestic use was introduced. The Trinitron colour system arrived in 1968. It was incredible, though typical, that Sony should develop its own colour TV tube from scratch. While relying on the traditional three primary colour phosphors and a shadowmask, the phosphors were laid down in stripes, the mask became a shadow grille, the guns were arranged in -line and the faceplate became much flatter. This was to be the way tube development would go. The Betamax VCR system was introduced in 1975. It is today generally accepted that it was the best of its time. But, as with the Trinitron system, Sony wouldn't licence it to other manufacturers. That mistake led to its demise, and wasn't repeated. The 8nun video system, which has come to dominate the camcorder field, was launched by Sony ten years later, in 1985. Meanwhile Sony had had an extraordinary success with the Walkman portable audio system, which was launched in 1979. This is claimed to have been "the single best-selling consumer electronics product ever marketed". Sony kept up the pace of development, moving on to digital systems. The MiniDisc, capable of both record and playback, arrived in 1993. In 1995 Sony was first to launch a digital camcorder. A home DV recorder is due later this year, along with a device called the DV cap: this links a DV camera to a PC for editing and image manipulation. There have been a number of other significant developments in recent times. The highly successful PlayStation established Sony in the video games market. Sony is to introduce its first PC later this year, while "a true living -room computer" is promised for next year. Plasmatron large, flat screen TV sets are already available in Japan. DVD players are another imminent prospect. All in all it has been an extraordinary story, and Sony's position at the centre of electronics development looks set to continue indefinitely. The company has combined world -class R&D capabilities, manufacturing excellence, the ability to read and to create markets, and remarkable marketing skills. The UK's main CE innovator for a long time, Amstrad, makes a sorry contrast. For a time Amstrad couldn't do anything wrong. It came up with a string of innovative ideas and products, skillfully meeting and developing user requirements. Packaged audio, wordprocessors then an IBM PC clone. There were the combined TV/VCR units, then the video Double Decker. Amstrad was in and out of audio, video and TV, always with highly competitive products. The company came up with the first Sky package at under £200. But while it came up with products that met contemporary needs, it never seemed to take root and grow. We are now witnessing its final dismemberment. Psion, the hand-held computer manufacturer, is negotiating to take over Amstrad's digital telephone interests, which fit in with its own product development programme. Amstrad's loss - making consumer electronics interests are to be split between Betacom, an affiliated company, and a new company to be called Digicom Technology. The latter will take over Amstrad's analogue satellite business and inherit a small R&D operation. How did Sony succeed, starting out with twenty employees, no machinery and negligible capital, while Amstrad simply shuffles off stage? Because Amstrad never developed a comprehensive business strategy. It came up with bright ideas, subcontracted production, stocked up then walked away as soon as the market turned.

It's the tragic story of much of UK and European industry.


..................OLD RELIABILITY PROBLEM:
 It's a well known fact that the reliability of Japanese made TV sets is better than that of European made ones. It works out something like this: for every call to a Japanese set during its first year you'll have to make two -three calls to its European counterpart. It's not quite as bad as that may sound. Call rates tend to lie in the region 0.5-1, which means at one end that half the sets won't require attention while at the other end each set will require one call per year. Then again these are average figures, and while many sets won't require attention at all others will have more than their fair share of breakdowns. Fortunately there has been an improvement in recent years - the situation was rather worse say four years ago. But then for the last couple of years we've been going through a period when the technical situation has remained fairly static. Will the new in -line gun tube chassis using the new ranges of i.c.s prove more or less reliable than their immediate predecessors? Only time will tell of course. But the unfavourable comparison between the failure rate of Japanese and European sets has been a continuing fact of life for several years. Is it to do with components, assembly methods, or basic design? Well, Japanese sets use much the same components and assembly methods, and the designs are not fundamentally all that different. Perhaps there is some subtler difference somewhere? Recent conversations we've had suggest that this could well be so. We can speak only of the European industry of course, but feel that the situation is probably much the same with our continental competitors. The first thing to bear in mind - and this relates to other industries, such as car manufacturers, as well - is the different industrial structures. Like the car industry, European TV setmakers tend to be assemblers of finished products rather than manufacturers of whole units. They buy in capacitors, resistors, semiconductor devices, many of the wound components, the tubes, probably the tuners and triplers and so on. This is far less the case in Japan, where most of what a setmaker uses comes from "in house" sources. All right you may say. But European component manufacturers have been in the game long enough to know what they're about - as long as anyone else for that matter. Furthermore, they've been working in close contact with the same setmakers, both facing and dealing with common problems. Why should this different industrial set-up make any difference? It's probably not so much the set-up itself so much as the fact that the way the European industry is organised tends to emphasise certain basic weaknesses. Quite substantial changes have occurred in even the most mundane components in recent years - component manufacturers are producing new types of capacitor and resistor that were simply not known a decade ago for example. But to do this successfully calls for adequate investment and the employment of adequate numbers of properly trained engineers and technical staff. In both these respects, European industry is notorious. It may well be said that in difficult economic times it's hardly possible to increase investment and take on extra trained staff, which is true enough. But the fact is that we are reaping the results of our past inadequacies, and a start hag to be made sometime if the situation is ever to be retrieved. The main problems seem to relate to know-how and technical liaison. Does the setmaker get a thorough and reliable service from his suppliers - and conversely has he set about ensuring that he does? It's not good enough today to continue on the basis that something worked reasonably well enough last time and the supplier says he hasn't had any particular complaints other than the usual ones. To achieve the degree of reliability required to continue to exist in a highly competitive international industrial climate, it's necessary to know precisely what order of tolerances under various operating conditions the various components offered and bought have. And this calls for adequate technical back-up and investment. The Japanese invest adequately and their engineers can get together within a single organisation to deal with common problems. It's not necessary for the European industry to be reorganised for the same to be done. What's required is a more powerful voice for the engineer, backed by adequate investment.
R.I.P. EUROPE.

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