Please read this section to ensure you make an informed buying decision. We apologize for the length of this page! There is a lot of information to get across to ensure you are protected. We also encourage you to watch this brief video on Genuine Projector Lamps
Compatible / Fake Lamps – Why be Concerned?
We believe there is nothing wrong with good quality compatible/copy projector lamps – in fact good quality compatible lamps can save you money without sacrificing performance. However, we think it is very wrong to sell a compatible lamp when the customer thinks they are getting an original OEM Genuine lamp.
We see many projector lamp resellers (especially online) misleading customers by using ‘tricky wording’, passing-off manufacturer logos, and other improper sales practices to confuse customers about what they are buying. This area of our website was created to help customers know what they are buying, and help buyers make informed purchasing decisions.
A good analogy of what is going on in the projector lamp industry is to compare it to knock-off watches. Imagine you go online to buy a Rolex watch. You think you are buying an original watch, but when you receive the item you realize you were sold a fake. You might have paid close to the full price of a real Rolex, but now you’re stuck with a watch that has serious performance problems – it might break early, isn’t waterproof, etc.
Unlike a watch, performance issues are not the only thing you need to worry about with projector lamps – you have to be concerned with safety risks! Projector lamps are highly pressurized (more than the tires in your car) and operate at immense heat and stress (at temperatures hotter than the sun). Given this, a poor quality copy lamp can explode resulting in short-circuit, and even set the projector on fire!
For some customers their projector’s warranty has already expired, so it isn’t a problem to use a compatible lamp. However, if your projector warranty is still active and a problem goes wrong with your projector, you may find the projector manufacturer will not honor the projector’s warranty as you are using an ‘unauthorized spare part’.
Some Dangers of Poor Quality Compatible Lamps:
- Lamp can explode, causing damage to the projector
- Can invalidate the projector’s warranty
- Risk of short-circuit, smoke and Fire
- Performance Issues – Reduced lamp-life and lower light output
How Big is the Problem?
Our team of Lamp Experts has found over 20 major online projector lamp resellers in the USA, UK, Canada and across Europe whose advertising could be viewed as misleading. Just type into Google “projector lamps” and many of the companies who appear on page-one are actually selling compatible lamps, but it may look to the untrained eye as if they are selling Original OEM lamps.
How can you tell if a reseller/store maybe selling you a compatible lamp?
It is not easy! Often, unless you are an expert in the field you cannot easily determine if the lamp you are purchasing is a genuine lamp made by the Projector manufacturer.
We have created a FREE Checklist you can download to see if the reseller is likely selling you a compatible lamp instead of the original. Please click here to download the Genuine Lamps Checklist.
This checklist should be used as a guide only, and we encourage you to confirm directly with the reseller you are looking at buying from.
We also recommend you watch this free video that explains compatible and original projector lamps in 7mins, and also gives you hits on how to protect yourself.
Also, below are some hints that might help you identify compatible lamps:
Watch-out for Item Descriptions – Resellers will use different wording to describe their lamps:
- If the item description says “Genuine AL ™”it is a compatible lamp. The reseller is saying the lamp is a “Genuine Alternative” branded lamp – that’s why the ™ symbol is used
- If the item description says “E Series” it is a compatible lamp. The reseller is saying it is an Equivalent/compatible lamp.
- If the item description says “NEW OEM EQUIVALENT” then it means it is a compatible lamp as it is “equivalent” to an OEM Original Lamp. It is therefore a compatible lamp.
- If a reseller says they sell “100% brand new items directly from the manufacturer”, do not assume they are referring to your projector manufacturer. They could be referring to the copy-lamp manufacturer, so their lamps are 100% ‘new’ from the copy lamp supplier! Confirm with the reseller if they sell original OEM lamps.
- If the sentence “a projector lamp for…” is used it doesn’t guarantee you are getting an OEM original unless they expressly state it. Confirm with the reseller if they sell original OEM lamps.
- Watch-Out for Bare-Lamps - If a reseller is trying to sell you a bare-lamp (i.e. projector lamp without a plastic housing) they are NOT selling you a product made by the projector manufacturer. No projector manufacturer sells bare-lamps / bare-bulbs – they always sell lamps that include the housing. Also, if a reseller is selling bare-lamps / lamp-only options the authenticity of all their products is in question. Please note if you try to install a bare-bulb into your existing housing it is difficult, could invalidate your projector warranty, and can damage your projector if installed incorrectly. Confirm with the reseller if they sell original OEM lamps.
- Price too good to be true? – If the price is too good to be true it probably is! Unless you have huge buying power with the original projector manufacturers and distributors, you cannot get low pricing on projector lamps. If the price seems “too good” call us!
- Manufacturer Logos – Just because you see a manufacturer logo on the product page (e.g. Hitachi), do not assume the item you are looking at is actually made by that manufacturer. Some resellers actually use the manufacturers’ logo simply to indicate the manufacturer of your projector; Not the make of the projector lamp they sell.
- Manufacturer Partcodes – Just because you see the lamp part code indicated on your projector or manual on a store’s website do not assume they will sell you an Original Genuine OEM lamp. Many lamp resellers use the manufacturer lamp part codes for their Compatible lamps.
- Guarantees – Directly ask the reseller if they are selling you an original OEM lamp made by the manufacturer of your projector. If they will not guarantee this then you know they are selling you a compatible lamp.
- Packaging 1 – Make sure you inspect the packaging of the projector lamp you receive. Unfortunately not all manufacturers clearly put their brand name on their boxes, however some do. Projector Lamp Experts has created a webpage on what the boxes should look like if you’ve received an original/genuine OEM lamp. Please check out this link on how to identify your projector lamp box. Note, manufacturer box designs could change at any time!
- Packaging 2 – Check out the labels on the box. One reseller we did a test purchase from actually put the shipping label directly on top of the fake lamp label! See this link.
The Projector Lamp Experts Guarantee:
We guarantee that when we say an item is “an original manufacturer's lamp” you will get the genuine lamp made by the OEM projector manufacturer. We sell 100% genuine projector lamps and clearly label them on our website. We want to be upfront and honest with our customers so they know exactly what they are buying.
If you could like more information on copy lamps and the problem in our industry:
How to Protect Yourself When Buying Lamps Online:
Our Projector Lamp Experts have written an article with detailed information on how to protect yourself when buying projector lamps online
. You can view the entire article here
ProAV Magazine Interview with Philips’ CEO of Special Lighting Applications, Dec 10th 2008
: We work with Philips in many areas as they are a market leader in the development and design of projector lamps. In a recent interview with ProAV magazine Henk Coppens, the CEO of Special Lighting Applications at Philips, explains in detail some of the problems with resellers of projector lamps and the systemic problems with counterfeit/copy lamps (especially in North America). View the article here.
KEMA study on Compatible Lamps vs. Original Lamps
You can view the article here.