Modern TVs are technically stunning, but goodness their names are a bit of a mouthful. We get it – new ranges launch each year, and manufacturers have to differentiate between sizes and regions within the model number; but still, there must be a less confusing way of naming them.
Not convinced? Compare 'iPhone 15' with 'LG 55UR81006LJ' and it's obvious which is clearer.
But we are here to help. We'll run you through the major manufacturers and break down their TV model numbers to help you decipher them. Want to tell your Samsung QE65QN90CATXXU from your QE65QN900CTXXU? Right this way...
We'll start with LG. The South Korean firm's TV model numbers are some of the shorter examples around, which makes them easier to comprehend. For our example, let's take one of its most popular TVs, the 55-inch C3. Its UK model number is: LG OLED55C34LA.
The first part refers to the screen technology – in this case OLED. LG's OLED screens are made by the company's LG Display arm, which also supplies most other major TV makers.
The next part (55) refers to the screen size, measured in inches on the diagonal.
Then comes the model: C3. The C3 launched in 2023 as part of LG's mid-range C series, which sits below the G series and above the B series. It will be succeeded by the C4 later in 2024 – we are expecting it to arrive in shops in the spring time.
Lastly is the sales region, type of broadcast tuner and the type of stand the TV uses. In Australia, the same TV is listed as OLED55C3PSA, while in the US it's OLED55C3PUA.
For Sony, we'll take as our example the Award-winning A80L. Its full model number is Sony Bravia XR-65A80LU.
Bravia is the name of Sony's TV range, as opposed to its smartphones (Xperia), interchangeable lens cameras (Alpha), soundbars (HT range) and so on.
XR refers to Sony's Cognitive Processor XR – this is the brains of the TV, which detects what is on screen and adjusts the picture accordingly. Sony TVs without this might have a product code starting with KDL (which indicates a 2K resolution) or KD (which is 4K).
65 is the screen size in inches, while A80L is the model number. But look out for variations – for example Sony also sells the A84L in the UK. The A84L costs the same as the A80L, but has a few small upgrades – a metal rather than plastic remote, some extra credits for the Bravia Core streaming service, and a Rich Colour Enhancer that boosts colours slightly, but only in the Vivid mode, which we wouldn't advise using.
The A83L is the same as the A80L, just sold in different regions.
And the U at the end of the model number? This stands for UK, the region where this particular model is on sale.
And so to Samsung, perhaps the most confusing of the big players when it comes to TV model numbers. We all know the S95C as just that, but retailers list it as the Samsung QE65S95CATXXU. So what gives?
The Q refers to the type of panel, in this case QD-OLED. E is for EU – so the US version of this TV will start with QN (N for North America), rather than QE.
65 is the screen size, while S95C is the model number: the S stands for the OLED series, while C is Samsung's 2023 designation (followed by D for 2024). A is for the generation (in this case the first), T refers to the tuner type (DVB-T in Europe, but, confusingly, it could be F for ATSC in the US and Canada), X is the design code and U is for the region (in this case the EU, but it could be ZA for USA).
Samsung has this explainer, which is handy, especially for working out model numbers on older TVs.
Panasonic's MZ2000 is the firm's flagship OLED for 2023, and earned five stars in our review. Its model number (TX-65MZ2000B) is one of the more straightforward ones to decipher.
TX refers to the TV range, 65 is the screen size and MZ2000 the model number. The B refers to the fact that it's a UK model.
Panasonic's Fire TV models start with 'TV' instead of TX. Then they follow much the same format, but this time they use EB (instead of just B) to stand for UK.
The Hisense U8K earned four stars in our review – it's a well-specified TV at a pretty compelling price, which could give LG and Samsung some sleepless nights. But how do you make sense of its model number?
The 65-inch UK version comes with the model number 65U8KQTUK.
By now, you know the drill. 65 is the screen size, U8K the model number, then the 'Q' in QTUK refers to the screen technology – in this case Quantum Dot. 'T' is for TV, and 'UK' for the country in which it's on sale. Easy.
Finally, TCL's are probably the easiest model numbers to understand. The 65-inch C845K (which we were mighty impressed by, awarding it five out of five) has the model number 65C845K. And that's it. Screen size, model number, and you're done. Other TV makers, take note: it is possible.
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