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Yes, These Are Televisions

08 Jul 2003 by

Sony KP-51WS500, Toshiba 65HDX82, Panasonic PT-53WX42, Mitsubishi WS-55311, Pioneer SD-533HD5, Hitachi 65SWX20B, JVC AV-36320.

“Which TV do you have?” “Which TV should I buy?” “Hey Mom, which TV did dad say to order?” Talk about a bad experience. I wonder which manufacturer is going to break from the pack and actually give their TV a name I can tell a friend over the phone.

16 comments so far (Post a Comment)

08 Jul 2003 | hurley #1 said...

This reminds me of IBM's naming scheme for its personal computers. I bought a ThinkPad a few years ago for work. When you go to IBM's site to download updates and drivers, you have to go through this ridiculous process of entering the Brand, Family, Type, and Model for your particular computer, and the page refreshes after you enter each category. I thought it would be enough to tell IBM that I own an A22m ThinkPad. But no, A22m is just the Family name. The "Type" is 2628 and the "Model" is STU. What really pisses me off is that this information isn't printed all together in any one place, except on the sales receipt. The Family name can be found near the keyboard, but the rest of the info is on the bottom of the laptop. I use a dock, so when I called Tech support one time for service, I had to shut down the computer and undock it to even tell them what I was using.

I suppose Apple isn't much better with its various sub-models ("iBook dual USB, late 2001"), but at least they're fairly descriptive.

08 Jul 2003 | Steve Miller said...

Actually most of them do have names. The Sony model is in the line of Hi-Scan projection TVs. So you would say you have the 51" Sony Hi-Scan, the Toshiba 65" Cinema Series, the 55" Mitsubishi Gold Series, or the 65" Hitachi UltraVison.

With models changing every year, the manufactures give the series line up a name instead of the individual product.

08 Jul 2003 | JF said...

Ahhh, good to know. Thing is a lot of e-com sites list the TVs by model number.

08 Jul 2003 | Benjy said...

Tell me about it! As a web designer for, I'm dealing with these kinds of product names constantly.

But how can they be made easier to understand? Is the name based on the product type, the size, features, etc. Do all Sony 27" TVs have the same name with some designation for features (like cars have DL, GT, SE, etc.), or do all HDTV-ready, picture-in-picture, stereo sound have the same name regardless of screen size?

08 Jul 2003 | Tim said...

I was never ever very fond of cars that have meaningless (to me, at least) alpha-numeric any new Infiniti (in particular the "FX35/FX45"), the Hyundai "XG350", and even, to a lesser extent, any of the Acura line (TL? The only reason I know that name is because it's my initials...weren't they used to be called "Integra" and the like?).

I don't know, perhaps it's off-topic, but when something has a name, it conjures up an image (for good or bad), from "Mustang" to "Protege" to "Acheiva." When I see "XG350," I have a hard time picturing it (notwithstanding that it is a forgettable design, I guess), and, instead, can think of something like, I dunno, a printer driver or somesuch.

08 Jul 2003 | pb said...

But even if things have alpha-numeric names, they can be easy to understand. For example Audio A4/A6/A8. BMW 3, 5, 7. Consumer electronics are a joke. Maybe Gateway will get it right.

08 Jul 2003 | Mike Jorgensen said...

The Infinity model names are quite logical actually. The letter(s) (Q, I, J, FX) indicates the product line (like BMW 3, 5, or 7) and the number indicates engine size. The FX35 has a 3.5 liter engine and the FX45 has a 4.5 liter engine.

Some electronics companies, such as Apple Computer, have names for products that aren't openly marketed. For example, one of the early PowerBook G3 lines was code named Wall Street. Many enthusiasts know the code names and it really helps communicate which model you own.

I guess the problem is there are so many products in the consumer electronics world that we would run out of names rather quickly if every new model had to have a name.

09 Jul 2003 | Xander said...

There seems to be a price-related difference between names of cars.

Brands like Audi (A1), BMW (X3), Mercedes (A160), have a tendencie to abstract or clean naming, where as brands like Ford (Focus), Renault (Laguna), or Honda (Civic) come with names instead.

Any thoughts?

09 Jul 2003 | B said...

per hurley #1's comment on Thinkpads, the full model number *is* on your Thinkpad. Look on the bottom. The model number and serial number are usually very close together. I think it is great; it allows you to unambiguously find information on IBM's website pertaining exactly to *your* computer. Yes, its a little arcane, but once you have that number, everything becomes clear.

09 Jul 2003 | hurley #1 said...

per hurley #1's comment on Thinkpads, the full model number *is* on your Thinkpad. Look on the bottom.

Not on mine, and not on my girlfriend's ThinkPad either. I do see that information all on the bottom, but it's scattered in different locations and not labeled clearly. Given that this information is so crucial to getting support, if I were IBM I'd label it very clearly and obviously, using the same nomenclature and listed in the same order as the identification categories listed on their Web site. And since Windows users already have to live with stickers on their machines, I'd add another sticker to the top of the ThinkPad (say, below the keyboard) with that information as well. That way, dock users such as myself can get the info without having to turn the computer upside down.

Maybe newer ThinkPads do this; mine and my girlfriend's are two years old.

09 Jul 2003 | Mike said...

Haha very true Xander.

At least my Civic conjures up a more positive image than if I owned a Geo Metro ;)

09 Jul 2003 | Don Schenck said...


09 Jul 2003 | Steve said...

I actually find Mercedes' naming convention just as confusing as the model numbers for TVs, etc. A C230 and a C320 are not in any way the same car. And a CL can be more expensive than an SL. Etc. At least with Audi, there are clear differences between A4/A6/A8, and the same for BMW with 3/5/7 (and soon 1/3/4/5/6/7 - and when are they going to bring back the beautiful 8 series?)

Consumer electronics seem to rarely have good model naming conventions. Sony often does it well, coming up with Wega for the flat-screen TVs, Trinitron for the "normal" ones, etc. But most of the time it's stuff like my Kenwood VR-309 amp. I have no idea how that falls into any naming scheme. I would assume it's marginally better than the VR-308, but who knows? (Lots of times there are different model names/numbers because stores like Best Buy and Circuit City can sell the same item but not have to worry about paying out on their same-price guarantees, because they're not "identical" models.)

10 Jul 2003 | jedrek said...

Yeah, Mercedes mixed it up a bit too much with the letters (S, SLK, C, CL, CLK, bla bla) but the BMW convention is great. Model numbers start with 3, 5 or 7 (right now, there have been others, there will be others), sports cars/roadsters start with a Z and SUVs are marked with an X. There is also the M-Sport series line, made up of 2 cars: the M3 and M5.

The next two numbers in the model number denote engine size, with a trailing letter sometimes denoting an engine characteristic: 330D is a 3.0l 3 series diesel, the 535i is the 5 series with a 3.5l gasoline engine (with fuel injection) and so on. Station wagons, compacts and coupes and the like are marked with 'combi', 'compact' or 'coupe' - the most logical of choices.

I'm under the impression that Mercedes has sort of gotten mixed up right now, too many models being named by marketers instead of describing the car. Nokia is experiencing similar problems - they're selling like 20 different phones right now and I lost track about half a year ago.

11 Jul 2003 | Mal Ross said...

I really hope someone from TVR reads SvN. They've recently switched from their traditional, emotive car names like Tamora, Tuscan and Cerbera to rubbish like the T350C. Don't get me wrong, the cars are still fantastic, but the new naming truly sucks. They've upset a lot of fans with this move, too.

31 Jan 2005 | compatelius said...

bocigalingus must be something funny.

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