LG’s new OLED TVs are repeating the iPhone X’s tongue-twisting mistakes

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What’s in a name? A lot, actually – as we can see with LG’s latest series of OLED televisions, all of which have ditched the usual pattern of numbers (LG C7, C8, C9, etc) for some old-fashioned Roman numerals.

LG’s 2020 TV lineup has differentiated from previous years with the numeral ‘X’, meaning ‘ten’ – mirroring what we saw with the iPhone X back in 2017. (Where’s the iPhone 9? We couldn’t tell you.)

That means this year you can expect the budget BX, mid-range CX, wallpaper-thin WX, 8K display ZX, rollable RX, and new "gallery series" GX OLEDs acting as successors to LG's 2019 lineup.

Our time at CES 2020 so far has shown us that press representatives are still describing the sets verbally as “C10, G10” rather than spelling out the letter, in which case the branding seems like an unnecessary source of confusion for consumers, journalists (present!) and LG employees alike.

To the letter

While this likely won’t be a deal-breaker for those after a quality OLED TV – LG being the dominant seller of OLEDs worldwide – it’s another instance of divergent branding just muddling where successive TV ranges sit in relation to each other. 

When we first got wind of the new product names in a press release, our first instinct was that the ‘X’ was a placeholder before the official branding was decided, and it doesn’t make choosing between older and newer sets any easier.

We doubt this confusion had much impact on the iPhone X’s sales, but the company’s willingness to commit to non-linear naming conventions just gets worse – especially with the iPhone ‘XS’ model, which somehow wasn’t a smaller model of the mainline phone.

A fuss about nothing? Perhaps. But with eight new 8K TVs from LG, and a host of new OLED models at a smaller-than-ever 48-inch size, we need all the clarity we can get.

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Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.