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CES 2016: RCA – An Old Brand Learning New Tricks
Tech Features

CES 2016: RCA – An Old Brand Learning New Tricks

The classic brand aims to revamp their reputation with high-end styled technology outside of traditional price points.

Typically, CES feels like a show for the technology enthusiast, showcasing new, exciting pieces that stretch beyond most consumers’ pocket books. I was surprised to see one brand in particular on the show floor however: RCA. Looking to revamp their classic positions to consumers, they aim to bring high-end styled technology outside of traditional price points, but can they beat out their competition’s establish footholds in spaces like cell phones and TVs?

RCA is going for a broad spectrum consumer approach; at CES they showed off 2-in-1 tablets, TVs, cell phones, and even a 4K HD Android TV. By bringing multiple brands like Alco Electronics and ACTIVEON under their wing, they hope people’s familiarity with the RCA brand to introduce them to higher-end technology at lower prices. I spoke with Pam Kunick-Cohen, Head of Brand Management for Technicolor, RCA’s parent company; she told me that they’re working on reviving the RCA brand while updating its designs and technology. “[RCA’s] been known for years; the RCA brand first came out in 1919 with their first color TV.”

On the show floor they showcased their 65″ Android TV; they’re only one of two companies who are debuting Android TVs. “Our goal with RCA is technology, quality, innovation, and value,” Kunick-Cohen said.

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The 65″ 4K TV comes with an MSRP of $1199.99, undercutting other comparable 4K Android TVs and releasing in Spring, while an HDR-compatible TV is slated for Summer 2016. They’re also releasing a GoPro-rival action camera under the ACTIVEON brand; their ACTIVEON CX, CX Gold, and 4K Solar cameras were all on display during CES, with the base CX model at $99.99.

I asked Pam Kunick-Cohen how she expected RCA to fit in a market where so many tech-specific brands like GoPro and Samsung already held market share. “The great thing about the brand is the strength and the heritage; it means a lot to a generation…if we continue by bringing out great quality products, great innovation at a great value price, we think we can use the strength of the brand to open up new markets.”

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It’s worth remembering that, while the high-end space like the Galaxy Tabs and iPhones tend to dominate the news, there are plenty of sales being made outside of those offerings in the budget market. RCA was the #3 tablet sales brand Q1-Q3 of 2015, and they plan to use similar techniques with their upcoming unlocked smartphones, all in the sub-$99 price range.

Perhaps RCA isn’t so much “learning new tricks” as it’s beginning to use the same value-based techniques they’ve learned in the past with new products. Naturally, we’ll bring you more news and reviews of RCA’s products as they arrive; keep an eye here at Popzara for more tech and CES coverage.

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About the Author: Josh Boykin