What Do TV Model Numbers and SKUs Actually Mean? How to Know If You're Getting a Good Deal

Several times a year, electronics retailers slash prices on products as part of seasonal and holiday sales. Super Bowl weekend, President’s Day, Amazon Prime Day, and of course Black Friday offer sizable discounts on big-ticket electronics like TVs. You might be able to find a great television for an amazing price during these sales. You might also wind up with a mediocre model you ultimately paid too much for, because product names and labels are confusing.

When you’re shopping for a TV, the brand name can be a factor in features, design, and general quality. It’s far from the biggest factor, however, because every TV manufacturer makes multiple lines of products.

There are budget-friendly TVs with low price tags and unambitious performance. There are midrange models with modest prices and performance to match. And there are high-end televisions with impressive performance and sky-high prices. And, after testing many of them, we’ve found that there are also budget TVs with great picture quality and pricey panels that aren’t up to snuff. If you simply follow a sale and buy a “Samsung TV” or a “Sony TV” or any other TV just because it has a discount, you’ll have no idea exactly what kind of TV you’re buying, or how good it is.

This is where stock keeping units, or SKUs, come in. In retail, SKUs are identifiers for specific versions of products. They identify the individual model of a given item, like a TV. Think of them as labels that let you figure out exactly what you’re buying when an ad or even the product box isn’t completely clear on it.

TV Model Number November 25, 2020

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