Made In The U.S.A.

Ten things I bought last year that I’d have a helluva time trying to buy this year. Part 2.

In Adventures on May 26, 2009 at 12:49 am

Last year, I also bought:

2. A big ol’ flat-screen LCD TV that screams “I’m a shallow person who doesn’t read.” I do read, but I also need my Seinfeld reruns.

It’s a Sony. I’m guessing it’s from somewhere definitely not near my house.

If I was gonna buy an American-made TV… I’d be up a creek. Here’s the thing: it’s pretty difficult to find any reliable information about American-made televisions online. There appear to be two major realistic options. The first is the Olevia brand of LCD tvs, made by Syntax Brillian. This company was formed via merger a few years ago, and it even had plans to open a manufacturing facility in Southern California. The Arizona-based company appears to have filed for Bankruptcy last year, so I’m not actually sure how potent it is at this point. But I know Olevia TVs were sold in major retailers–like Target–and there appears to be at least some chance that they were in fact MITUSA at some point. But with a dying company and no box in front of me, I can’t really verify that.

The second TV option is probably moot at this point. Based on information I found at U.S. Stuff, as recently as 2000 people were reporting purchases of televisions from manufacturers as varied as Sharp, Toshiba, Panasonic and more Japanese stalwarts with box labeling indicating manufacture and/or assembly in the U.S. BUT… That was 2000. Everybody wasn’t buying flat-screen LCD and Plasma TVs nine years ago. They are today. It would be unthinkable to walk into a big box retailer and shell out $1000 for a big-screen tube TV these days. The industry has changed–and I think that makes it less likely that we can get those fancy panel TVs of MITUSA origin. But as Syntax Brillian planned for American manufacturing, other companies could too. So there’s always a chance that we’ll have American-made TV options once again.

Either that, or look for an awesome old Zenith that was MITUSA. Turns out that not all late-model Zeniths were in fact Made In The USA–though the company was happy to capitalize on the belief. This article from 1993 illustrates just how far manufacturers will go to maintain the “illusion” of MITUSA-ness and how they leverage American manufacturing facilities, no matter how inconsequential, to help the business’ bottom line. In Zenith’s case, it meant maintaining a single assembly line in Springfield, Missouri while the vast majority if its televisions were being made in Mexico.

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