What do labels on…

In fact, long strings of numbers and letters in TV model names mean something. We checked the SKUs of all the major TV manufacturers.

Several times a year, electronics retailers slash product prices as part of seasonal and holiday sales. These days they offer big discounts on electronics with a strong focus on technology, especially on televisions.

During these cuts, you may be able to find a great TV at an amazing price. You may also get a mediocre model that you end up paying a lot of money because product names and labels are almost as unfamiliar to you as Chinese characters.

When buying a TV, the brand can be the first “indicator” of design and overall quality. However, that’s not the most important thing by far, as every TV manufacturer manufactures for several different companies.

First there are budget TVs with low prices and unambitious performance, followed by mid-range models with modest prices and relatively good performance, and finally there are high-quality TVs with amazing performance and very high prices.

Each SKU label can be broken down into individual “ingredients”. Once you get to know them, you can learn things like screen size, quality, and even an exclusive seller. Depending on the manufacturer, SKU TVs have three to five parts:

  • Screen size: A number indicating the size of the TV.
  • Product line: a set of letters or numbers indicating the series of products to which an individual model belongs.
  • Generation: A set of letters or numbers indicating the year the TV was created.
  • Sub-Merchant Model: A number that identifies a particular model that is intended for sale at a particular seller.
  • Other versions: A set of letters or numbers that indicates that a TV of a particular type is outside its range of products.
    Hisense, for example, marks Android TVs with the H mark and Roku TVs with the R mark, and LG specifically marks OLED TVs with the OLED mark.
  • Other/unrelated labels: Additional numbers or letters indicating sales territory or other ratings that are the same or similar across all TVs available from the manufacturer on the market.

Let’s look at some examples

LG OLED55C1PUB, 55 inch OLED TV. The naming structure of LG OLED TVs is very different from that of LED TVs.

OLED TVs initially say they are OLED TVs. 55 indicates the screen size. C shows a range of products that generally feature higher-end versions with a sleeker design or more features. G, for example, has a more elegant “gallery” design. 1 is a generation label and indicates a model from 2021. 2020 models is an X (as in 10) and the number has moved to 1 for 2021. 2019 models are 9. PUB is an irrelevant label.

Samsung QN65QN90AAFXZC, the 65-inch model of Samsung’s flagship 4K QLED TV.

The first QN can be ignored, referring to QLED, which is Samsung’s term for widescreen LCD panel technology, and was previously used to describe the higher price range. However, all current Samsung TVs are now marked with QLED and have the QN prefix, while the UN prefix means the TV is at least one generation older.

65 is the screen size. QN refers to it as Neo QLED, a LED TV with a higher price range compared to Samsung’s wider QLED range (which is marked only with Q). 90 shows that this is the flagship 4K TV. Lower numbers indicate lower rates, from 60 to 90. Three numbers (eg, 900) indicate 8K TV. The first A indicates that it is a model from 2021. Prior to that, T is the designation for a 2020 model. AFXZC is irrelevant designations and can be ignored.

Sony XR-65A90J. Sony’s flagship 2021 OLED TV.

The XR indicates that the TV is one of Sony’s best (XBR) models, but it doesn’t show a specific product line. KD and KDL are Sony’s lowest priced TVs. 65 is the screen size information. But it indicates that the TV is OLED. Sony’s A-Series TVs are OLED, while X and Z-Series TVs are LED. 90 indicates the placement of the TV above Sony’s product lines. A lower number indicates a TV that is not part of Sony’s flagship Master series, such as the A80J. The odd numbers show the best Sony models. J finally indicates that the TV is a 2021 model. H indicates a 2020 TV (except for the A9S Master Series OLED TV, which is also a 2020 model), while G indicates a 2019 TV.

With the string of letters and numbers we can easily understand the size of the TV screen, for other posters we have to know what they mean. However, knowing what technologies are included in the TV and what year the model is from can help us a lot.

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