Sony TR-6
Ad Flyer - Back

TR-6: It's economical!

The back of this ad from October 1956 shows how eagerly Totsuko was trying to convince consumers of the merits of these new-fangled transistor radios and of transistors themselves. The general perception of the day was still that tube sets were cheaper, produced better sound, and achieved better reception. In addition, over 75% of Japanese homes already had a tube set. While the initial cost of a transistor may have been higher than that of a tube set, the running cost was low enough that the investment paid off by the time the user had listened for 1,000 hours. And, as the last line of copy states, "Transistors don't burn out and fail the way tubes do!"

Totsuko had bet the whole farm on transistors, had limited capital to work with, and I believe was finding it somewhat difficult to get sales going. They also faced great resistance from the older and bigger established electronics companies that, continuing to believe tube sets would remain the leading product for some years, had no plans yet to make transistor radios. Their connections in the distribution channel also made it difficult for Totsuko to get their Sony radios on the shelves of established shops.

Well into 1956, the folks at Totsuko decided the only way to make the necessary breakthrough to the next step and generate enough sales to recoup their investment and keep the company going and growing was to gear up production of the transistors themselves to a level that they could supply them to the other makers. But first they had to convince the other makers of the potential of transistors and get them to enter the market as well. So, Totsuko called two meetings to which they invited engineers and then top executives from Sharp, Sanyo, Standard, Matsushita, and Nippon Victor, (NVC, later to become JVC). History tells us that Ibuka must have given a convincing presentation because we see Sony transistors in the first transistor radios all the makers that attended the meeting started to release in 1957. In fact, the story goes that the president of Sanyo actually phoned his office from the meeting and instructed his staff to stop preparing for production of the nifty new portable tube set they were working on. The originally planned product was to be an all-new compact design housed in a plastic cabinet. On the phone the president told his staff to redesign it as a transistor radio, and to make it 1/3 the size of the originally planned tube set. Maybe this helps explain why Sanyo beat most of the other makers in releasing their first transistor radio at the end of 1956.

Once again, I have included a rough English translation for those who don't care to read the original Japanese.

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