JVC didn't invent the VCR. VHS didn't even come along until 5 years after the first home videocassette recorder with TV tuner and timer, and reel to reel units without tuner/timer existed before that.
First there was audio reel to reel tapes. Those were more or less replaced with audio cassettes.
There were various generations of video tape recorders.
First video tape recorder, 1956, Ampex, commercially produced in 1961, with 2" video tape, transverse scan
1964 Phillips 1" reel to reel video tap recorder domestic/professional
1965 Ampex 1" reel to reel video tape recorders were released, 1" helical scan. domestic/professional
1967 Sony 1/2" reel to reel video tape recorders
1968 Phillips 1/2" reel to reel mass produced domestic
Then (1971) there was sony u-matic which used a 3/4" tape, helical scan, and a cassette. mostly pro use.
1971 Phillips N1500 with 3/4" tape cassettes, first TV tuner and timer
Then (1975) there was sony betamax. 1/2" tape cassette, 1 hour/tape initially. 1 loading pole.
Then (1976) there was VHS. 2 hour/tape cassete initially, trading quality for recording length. 2 loading poles. Note that they had been working on videocassettes for 6 years.
Then (1979) Phillips introduced V2000 which they had been developing for 15? years. 4 hours per side.
Then (1980) RCA introduces a play only format
Matsushita/Quasar/Panasonic, which was developing a competing format (working on video tape for 15 years), dropped it in favor of VHS. Matsushita was part owner of JVC, Quasar, and Panasonic. Telefunken, Thompson, Thorn, GE, and RCA licensed VHS. Sony and Phillips eventually did as well. JVC profits increased tenfold by 1982 and the video division went from 6% of company sales to 69%.
The very success of VHS was dependent on JVC encouraging companies to compete with it and on cutting margins to the bone. JVC wasn't big enough to supply the demand alone.
Not that there was actually that much original technology that was new to VHS.
- The two loading pole mechanism
- DL-FM system
- PS Color process.
Basically, a not-so-innovative tape load mechanism and analog video compression.
The video-cassette would have happened without JVC. There were 4 companies working on it. And I suspect JVC could have paid off their R&D costs without collecting a dollar of royalties from other companies. JVC's strategy was to have a piece of a bigger pie.
Note that many of the other formats were superior for recording original material. VHS was good enough for home consumer use with over the air or commercial tapes.
I seriously doubt they spent a billion on VHS R&D. But they apparently made billions off of VHS.