Why are the model names of TVs and other home tech so cryptic?


Why are the model names of TVs and other home tech so cryptic?

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Mostly because each model has a lot of submodels, separated by size, color, function, socket type and other details.

You really want to be able to tell those apart internally.

Every country has its own codes due to different water/gas pressures, voltages, frequencys, safety standards, energy efficiency standards, features, functions, sizes, regulatory approvals, etc etc.

It helps narrow down the exact parts within the machine for service and warranty purposes. It also helps prevent grey market imports from being sold at retailers.

Ie. I used to have a Samsung dishwasher, the model number ment that it was Thailand stock, but it was being sold by a factory seconds in Australia. I had a lot of trouble finding replacement parts.

It’s because the name acts as a product description in addition to being a model name. For example, a random Samsung TV I found on Walmart: UN65TU7000

U: The pixel type, LED
N: North America market
65: The TV size, in inches
T: 2020 design year
U: UHD (4k) resolution
7000: The model number

It might not sound good out loud, but UN65TU7000 is a much cleaner model name than “65 inch 4k Samsung 7000 series LED TV designed in 2020 for North America”

Samsung specifically has a site you can use to “decode” their model numbers. Dunno about other manufacturers. https://www.samsung.com/us/support/answer/ANS00087664/

Because if LG called their 50″ television “Television-50″ and Samsung called their 50” television “Television-50″ and Sony called their 50” television “Television-50″ you’d have a hell of a time finding parts, first – and that’s assuming they only ever make one 50” television each, ever, and never change it. Now, of course, we could go with “LG-Television-50” and “Samsung-Television-50”, and then we’d at least be able to keep brands separate. But then the issue of different models.

So, we could perhaps have an “LG-Television-50-1080p” model. But, there’s plenty of various models, and they have plenty of features. So now we might have a “LG-LED-Television-50-1080p-3HDMI”. Now, that’s pretty good at describing what it is and separating generations, but that’s getting pretty dang long! Gonna be hard to put that on every relevant sticker and documentation. Maybe we could shorten it? We could call it the “LG 50L3H10”. Now when someone says they need parts for their TV, we can just use that short number to quickly understand it is a 50″ TV, LED backlit LCD panel, 3-HDMI-option mainboard, 1080P resolution. Much simpler for the company to refer to models, and the people that need to decipher the model and features quickly can. Plus, that’s pretty unique.

This number is entirely made up as an example of course, but it’s usually similar concepts for various devices.

The model isn’t there to help you as a buyer, it’s there to help the seller. To the seller, the model name contains all sorts of useful information.

As a buyer, you’re going to buy a new TV every what, 5 years? maybe 8? You don’t need to know the complexities of the model name (which will all have different patterns based on who is manufacturing it). Product name, description and specifications are all there for you to understand what you’re buying, the model name/number is “not for you”.


Say you make TVs. Well you need every TV you make to have a name so you can easily find parts or information ect on that TV, so you call your first TV “TV” or “TV1” and the next “TV2” and so on.

But hold on a sec, what if we make the same TV but with a larger screen? Okay “TV1 42” or “TV1 50″….

Great but say you ship these TVs internationally and some places have different rules for TV specifications? “TV1 42 EU” and “TV1 42 NA”?

Guess that works. Now next year we keep making those TVs but our suppliers change for cheaper parts or new technology, so last year’s TV isn’t exactly the same as this year’s. Better add that to “TV1 42 EU 22”

Already you can see the code building up and we haven’t even discussed extra features, like receiver type, smart TV operating system built in dvd players and such.

We could have something like “TV142EU22FSFiDVD”

Admittedly confusing to us but simple for a computer system to find exactly what you’re looking for.

TVs can have a lot of different features that need to be somehow in the model name.

You need to have the size in inches in there, the technology like LCD, LED whatever, whether it is smart or dumb, the generation often in the form of the year.

Bigger companies have also more than one models that are higher end but otherwise use the same tech and are the same size.

You don’t want the model name to be too long so you have maybe one or two letters /digits for each thing you are describing.

This way you can reduce a paragraph of identifying description down to a single short string of letters and numbers that someone in the know understands and for everyone else at least means they can uniquely identified the exact model.

The model names are abbreviations of a long description of the product.

‘50” 4K ultra high definition TV with built-in Roku with a black frame, built in 2022, model 43, revision A’ might be shortened to ‘504KROKBK2243/A’.

Every company does something like that and has their own way of describing their product and abbreviating the description. Once you become familiar with the formula they use, you can look at a model number and tell what the product is right away (helpful for people that sell and handle the things).

Someone in the organization is “let’s call this project Pink” but the people who are keeping track of 125 separate SKUs insist that it have a very obscure name that only they understand fully, so it has both names until it is released to customers.

Because there’s almost never a huge difference between models of home appliances like stoves and TVs. It’s very similar to the way computer models are named.

They’re indicative of the feature set. Size, series, technology, etc. You could call your new TV the Steven, but then nobody would know anything about Steven from it’s name.

Like asking 1Why my car’s vin number gotta be so cryptic?

It’s like the VIN on your car. To the people who need to understand it, it’s not cryptic at all. it tells those people all kinds of stuff about the car, and nobody else really needs to care.

Most people will buy a “2019 Ford F150” without caring what the VIN is, but when they take it in for service, the mechanic will look at the VIN and know the year it was made, the engine type, trim package, and all sorts of other stuff. Similarly, most people will buy a “65 inch Samsung TV” without knowing or caring that it’s a model UN65TU7000. If it needs service, the technician will see that number, and he’ll know exactly what screen to order to replace the one your kid hit with a spoon.

Mostly so that the manufacturers can sell slightly different models to different retailers so there’s no direct competition

Also helps to determine warranties. Models are built like cars for certain time-frame so you always know if it’s under warranty or not even if you buy it secondhand.

Good answers here, but taking it back to ELI5, it’s because new technology is created so fast that no one had to figure out this problem before. When it was slow to create new technology, the items had pretty names for that one item. They would then give new names to new items. They eventually started to add “versions” to those items so they didn’t have to come up with new names.

Those version names were all over the place. Some starting with 1, 2, 3…then 1.0, 1.1, 1.2. Then some of them started using the year of the release (ex Windows 98, 2000). Then some of them started using descriptors in the model name to piece together all of the information that makes that model unique. This became popular when companies would release a dozen versions of a dozen products with a dozen individual options for each.

This is where /u/ApotheounX comes in…where each company comes up with a set of characters to represent the specifics about that product. Where it was made, for whom, with what features, when created, and more. Because there is no universal standard, every company comes up with new model naming criteria, depending upon the item, and the number of variants released, and in what timeframe.

It’s like a vin number on a vehicle so once you know how to cipher the code you can know all the options without having to list them all out

Other folks here have given you the why but I can tell you why so many are virtually identical with different models:

Top reason is to stop price matchers. Companies are always offering a price match on stuff but because it’s an ever so slightly different model, they can say no despite it being the same product.

The fun part is when they have retailer-specific names for the exact same product, just so you can’t use the “we will match any competitors advertised price” promotions. “Oh no, we can’t price match this, because if you look closely, even though the product is exactly the same in every way, the model number has a W for walmart here vs the one with an A for Amazon.”