Now In: OEM Vs Compatible Projector Replacement Lamps

Who makes projector lamps?

There are only handful of genuine projector lamp manufacturers in the market such as Philips, Ushio, Pheonix, Osram, Matsushita, Epson E-torl, and Iwasaki with Philips being the leader in the industry. There is the common misconception among customers that projector manufacturers manufacture their own projector lamps; however, this is not correct except in the case of few Epson projectors. For example, most Sony, InFocus, BenQ, and Sanyo (now Panasonic) projectors in the market are originally equipped with a Philips brand projector lamp. Philips is working directly with the manufacturers of these projectors to create the light output bulb and ballast for about 60% of the projectors in the market today. Philips provides the ballast/driver as well as the lamp to the projector manufacturer's such as Sony, Sanyo, and InFocus as a complete solution.

What is the difference between OEM/Genuine vs OEM Compatible projector lamps?

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) projector lamps have been assembled by the same manufacturer as the original brand for your projector. The ballast or "lamp driver" is also manufacturered by the lamp manufacturer in most cases to insure optimal compatibility and longevity. On the other hand, OEM Compatible projector lamps are replicas of the same lamp but manufactured by a different company. The design and specifications of the bulb are said to be the same as the OEM lamp on paper (i.e. they have the same wattage and arc type), however, since these lamps are not measured or tested by the projector manufacturer; one can not be sure of their performance levels within the given projector models.

Why genuine projector lamps?

- Brightness (Luminosity)
Lamp is an integral part to bring outstanding brightness and color to your projected video display. Every component from the lamp, through the optics, power supply, electronics and including all processing algorithms are harmonized to give an optimum image.

- Color
Rich colors matter, but so does color uniformity. A genuine lamp guarantees the exact chemical mix and optical alignment to give vibrant and consistent color across the whole image.

- Safety
Lamps operates at extremely high temperatures, this high voltage, high pressure quartz and glass component is safe to be handled and fitted by the customer, due to the scrupulous manufacturing and testing processes employed. For peace of mind, install
only genuine parts in your television..

- Lamp Life (Durability)
With a genuine lamp you can enjoy a full lamp lifespan from your projector replacement lamp. Uniquely engineered to operate with the projector's electrical components. Only genuine lamps can assure you full life performance and keep the projector warranty valid. For example Sony, Sanyo, and other major projector manufacturers will VOID your warranty for using counterfeit lamps. You don’t have to take our word; you can call your manufacturer to confirm! The lamp is similar to the spark plug on your vehicle: the better the quality and smoother the sparking, the longer your vehicle's motor and start (or in this case your "Light Engine and Ballast") will last. Lamp durability and quality is directly related to the life of the other internal components of your overhead projector.

Why we recommend mostly OEM Projector Lamps?

The AC based high pressured lamps pressure mercury lamp for projection is a patented invention of Philips. The lamps are manufactured using high quality standards and technology. The usual life span on these projector lamps are much higher than any other projector lamp in the market, so per the cost benefit analysis you'd be better off purchasing the Philips projector lamp. In some cases, the original lamp is not made by Philips and may be manufactured by one of their competitors such as OSRAM using their P-VIP technology. In these cases we recommend purchasing the original OSRAM projector lamp unless there is a Philips replacement available. Philips may in turn create a lamp for certain projectors where OSRAM, USHIO, Matsushita or Phoenix were the original bulb. We tend to trust Philip's product more than any of the other manufacturer's within the market. Even though your projector may have come with a Phoenix lamp, a Philips replacement projector lamp may be a superior and longer lasting product. Here is a graph provided by a 3rd Part research company for reference:

Comparison between Philips and Compatible

What is Generic and why should I avoid it?

Generic projector lamps are built using the substandard components and build techniques that will result in a shorter life of the lamp or may even represent a safety issue. The main component of a projector lamp is the burner inside, and manufacturing of that is a complex task and requires high quality components. Burner in generic lamps are often made out of substandard components and does not match the required engineering capabilities, which results into less compelling colors and low lifespan. The following wordage are indicators of a Generic projector lamp:

OEM Compatible
OEM Replacement
Genuine Compatible
AL Lamp
E-Series Lamps
O-Series Lamps

The above wordage is generally used to confuse consumers into thinking that they are buying something other than a Generic (Non-OEM) projector lamp. Other leading indicator of generic projector lamps are:

  • Price - If it seems like the price is too cheap, so is the quality
  • Websites that do not disclose a brand of the projector bulb that is used inside the housing or cartridge
    • If the seller is selling an OEM branded projector lamp, he will proudly let the customer know on his or her website

What is Generic?

Generic projector lamps are compatible or copy projector lamps not manufactured by the OEM projector lamp manufacturing company. A generic projector lamp will usually cost significantly less than an OEM product because of:

  • Inferior workmanship quality
  • Lower manufacturing costs
  • Poor and inconsistent product lifespan

If you’re buying a generic projector lamp, be prepared to eat the cost of its usage. An OEM product may last 3 times as long for only a few extra dollars. There is risk of premature explosion and loss of lumens associated with purchasing an off-brand, or generic lamp product. We highly recommend the superior product if you are using the projector in a commercial or educational environment. The risks involved in using a compatible or infrior lamp are much higher and can cause some havoc in an auditorium or conference room setting.

For example: If you buy an OEM Philips projector lamp, it may cost about $180, but last you 2500-3500 hours. If you purchase an off-brand, compatible product for $130, you will have save $50, but the lamp may only last 500-1000 hours... yet the risk of it going out or exploding during the middle of a conference are higher due to the instability of the ballast/lamp configuration. The cost-benefit analysis maintains you’d be better off purchasing the OEM projector lamp.

Digital projection lamp: original vs. imitation

Digital projection lamp: Original Philips vs. Imitation / Compatible. Source: Philips Lighting

The Philips conducted an independent study, undertaken by KEMA, into the quality of a range of copy lamps versus genuine lamps. The study concluded that the poor component selection and build quality, on average, reduced the brightness of the projection by over 30% to 50%. Click here to view the KEMA report!

Why do we sell OEM Compatible projector lamps?

The answer is simple, to serve the need of these lamps in the market. These projector lamps carry less warranty and we do not guarantee the same picture quality. We encourage all of our customers to purchase the OEM lamp, whether it be Philips, Osram, Ushio, Phoenix, Iwasaki, or Epson E-Torl. We believe that purchasing from us will help keep the industry and market honest. We are the only vendor on the internet that will provide honest information about the different lamp brands that exist within the market. We provide this information in good faith to allow each customer to make an educated deciscion on which product is the right choice for their particular situation; regardless of our profit margin.

Other sellers are selling the same projector lamp cheaper?

We are one of the biggest distributors of projector lamps in the world. We sell our projector lamps at very competitive prices and if you find any lamp at lower price, we will match those prices. Please read our Price Matching Policy for more information. is an Upfront Merchant on TheFind. Click for info. Discount TV Deals at TechBargains Authorized Premium Partner of Philips Lamps