5 ways to Avoid Buying Counterfeit Projector Lamps Online

Counterfeit lamps are a problem for everyone. From the companies who sell them (either willingly or through ignorance) to the end users who end up with damaged or non-functional equipment because of it.

How can you protect your wallet and your projector from counterfeit lamps?

  1. This applies to most things in life. “IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS” I cannot re-iterate this enough. If you read an advert for a lamp that uses an “OEM Philips UHP Bulb” and the price is significantly less than a comparable listing, then you are probably buying a counterfeit bulb.
  2. Look at the companies reviews with a grain of salt. I notice that some of the more ‘questionable companies’ tend to have five-star glowing reviews all in groups and they all tend to be within a day or 2 of each other. That is followed by no reviews for a week or so and then usually a reasonable amount of negative reviews. Those tend to be people who were duped by the ‘stuffed reviews’ that convinced them to buy the lamp they thought was a good deal. Many of those less than honest companies do this every few months. Sometimes they even change their name and start the dance all over again.
  3. Check the online forums.Make sure they require a confirmed order and that they check the reviews to make sure they legitimate end users. There are other sites like r/hometheater and AVSforum but they should be taken with a grain or five of salt. It’s possible for fake or erroneous reviews to be posted there. Always trust your gut.
  4. Look at the warranty. The longer the warranty, the better most of the time. That said, the long warranty can be a gamble by the company to make it look like they stand behind a great product when in reality they are banking on the chance that if the lamp fails you will forget its under warranty and not exercise your rights. I am slightly biased as our warranty is 6 months but I think that is a reasonable length. If you lamp lasts at least 6 months, the chances of it lasting the rest of it’s rated life-span are very reasonable. It is the “One year” warranties that concern me. If you need to cover your lamp that long, then why? Is it that unstable of a manufacturer that it might fail from a build error in 9 months? These are questions to ask yourself.
  5. How are the listings worded? Do you see “OEM Equivalent” or “Made from OEM parts”? OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM Equivalent means its not an Original, but equal to it. That is a curious way to say “compatible”… Listen to that little voice that tells you it doesn’t sound right. Add up the red flags. Way too low of a cost, Way too long of a warranty and tricky wording on their listing. All of this means you would be better off looking elsewhere.

Look no further than our main page. We list over 12,000 items with inventory and each lamps specs clearly listed for your own knowledge.

Check us out here. Purelandsupply.com or call us directly at 1-800-664-6671 where you can speak to a representative who can help you get a real lamp, real fast.

Good Bulb, Bad Bulb, Best Bulb, What Bulb?

Buying a replacement projector lamp should be a very straight forward process.  You find the model number or lamp number and plug it into your search engine of choice and then buy the one that appears.  Anyone who has bought one knows that is not what actually happens.

You end up with a page full of links with prices that can have over a $100 spread of difference in cost.  This can even happen on the same website.  Many sites list a Good, Better and Best option with prices that match.

What is the difference and what bulb should you buy?  These are the two questions I look to answer.  First lets go over what Good, Better, Best and OEM really mean.

The Good lamp is the cheapest.  It is almost always a non-original bulb.  Usually these are made by companies overseas that have older equipment and copy a design with cost in mind over quality.  They are limited by the patents so they use other methods to obtain brightness.  These methods include using Krypton 85 gas where it normally would not be used.  They also tend to have a much lower quality rating over the lifespan.  They tend to fail early and not be as bright.  They are cheap though.  If you only need a few hundred hours then maybe the Good lamp is fine if $25 is your budget.

I mentioned that in this post if you are interested.  These are almost always in a cheaply made housing.  They are sometimes even recycled housings.  A dead lamp will have its bulb removed and new knock-off bulb installed and then re-sold as new.  From the authors point of view, there is no place for these lamps in anyway as there are always reasonably priced options that use more reliable parts but that isn’t the point here.

Keep in mind if you expect the normal 2-3000 hour life-span, the chances are low. Even buying multiple ‘Good lamps’ will end up costing you more in the long term. See my older post here where I explain why.

The “Good’r”, I mean Better lamp can be tricky.  These can be made with Original brand bulbs such as Philips and Osram, but installed in a lower quality housing. The housing is as important as the bulb.  The housing is what makes sure your bulb is properly aligned with the optics.  If the bulb is not aligned, then image may be dim at the least or even melt the internals at the worst.  I personally have seen an NEC that had its iris assembly melted because of a “Better lamp” that had a housing that wasn’t built right.  They also will not have the proper coating on the lens.  I go on about this coating a lot because it is critical for proper color wheel operation. Many of the Better lamps cut corners in places that seem reasonable to the manufacturer, but do not serve the end user very well.

They tend to run in the sub-$100 range, or about 1/3 the cost of an OEM(Original Equipment Manufacturer) lamp.  These can sometimes work just fine.  I have seen “Better” Epson lamps that worked perfectly fine.  The issue I see is that its hit or miss.  There is no consistency in he product lines. You will see these all over Amazon and eBay.  There are some brands that advertise a lot that you will see use terms like DLP in there name. These companies are the ones who tend to use word-soup to ‘inform’ you that you are getting the same lamp as the OEM when in reality you are getting 2 levels down.

In fact these lamps are the ones that I see cause the most problems in the projectors I see. They will have an Osram bulb but the housing will be cheaper and not vented correctly. Then the housing will let the bulb slip and then the bulb melts the internals of the projector.  On average these are about 2/3rd the cost of the Best lamps which means for $40-50 more, the problems would have been avoided.   You spend you money as you see fit, but I strongly advise staying far away from the Better lamps.  At least the cheap lamps will fail before ruining your projector…

The Best lamps are the lamps worth buying if you want to save money over the OEM.  OEM is the top tier cost wise. If you have a high dollar projector and it is under warranty, you may need to buy an OEM lamp when it fails or you may violate your warranty.  I think that is a bad policy but I understand the reasoning.

The Best lamps are as close to OEM as you are going to get without paying OEM prices.  Many time the Best lamps are made the same companies who make the OEM lamps.  They have a deal where once the projector is out of production or our of warranty, they can sell the OEM lamps themselves through non-OEM channels.    These lamps use the same bulb as the OEM and the housing is either exactly the same or has all of the important challenges covered. They use the proper air vent setup and lens coating.  They may also have a heat shield to protect the internals that the Better or Good lamps will not have. Best lamps do not worry about cost as much as quality.  They are always cheaper than OEM. Sometimes they are as much as 60% cheaper, yet they are the same lamp.  As someone who knows what it costs to build a lamp, I also know that OEM’s can cost as much as 300% more than the Best lamps and still be the same thing!

Best lamps are the Best value in my opinion.  They do not cut any of the corners that the Better or Good lamps cut.  They are not overly inflated price-wise and are definitely not lower quality.  In our case, they even have a 6 month(180 day) warranty.  The OEM only has an 80-90 day warranty from the best vendors.

When you inevitably go to purchase a lamp, you will see websites with multiple options. When you do I ask you to go back and read this blog post.  Once you read it, I hope you decide the close those other links and buy one from us, but if you don’t I hope you at least buy what you decide is right for you and do it with the confidence that decided for the right reasons.

Pureland Supply only carries the Best lamps(well we have some OEM) and we only use those with the Original Bulb Inside.  Give us a call or click today and get your projector back to where it was and save some of that money.

 

Why Original Inside?

Why Original Bulb Inside over Copy Lamps?
All over the internet you see Projector Lamp ads touting Original Bulb Inside, then you see what looks like the same lamp on a market place site for ¼ the cost.  What gives? 
To answer this question, we first need to look at what these lamps are.
Projector lamps have essentially 3 product types.

       OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer. This is the company who is branded on the projector.  If you bought a BenQ projector, the OEM lamp would be from BenQ, in a BenQ box (most of the time). These are usually much more expensive and when under warranty, its required by most companies to use the OEM.
        Original Bulb Inside = Not in the original manufacturers box, but has the same brand of bulb and same design of housing as the OEM.  Often the company who makes the lamp for BenQ is the same company that sells the Original Bulb Inside lamp. These are fundamentally the same as an OEM.  They are made to the same engineering requirements and perform as well as the more expensive OEM lamp. Same expected life span as the OEM because they use the same Ushio, Philips, Osram, Phoenix or Iwasaki Bulb as the OEM.
        Compatible/Copy Lamp = Cheapest of all 3 options per unit.  Most expensive when compared by cost to run per hour.  These use copy bulbs or non-original brand bulbs. These are always significantly cheaper by up to a factor of 10!  However, the only savings is in your initial purchase.  On average a copy lamp lasts 70-80% less than the OEM or Original Bulb Inside lamps.  They also are significantly poor at color reproduction because of the chemicals used inside to copy the more expensive lamps.  There is next to no quality control in the Copy lamp market.
I am going to focus on Original Bulb Inside versus Copy Lamps here.  OEMs have their place and will always, but I want to show why Copy lamps are not all they are cracked up to be. Hopefully I will save you some hassle and ideally some money…
Why is a Copy lamp so much cheaper yet I say they cost you more to run per hour?  That will make sense once I explain.  The copy lamp may be $40 new for a Mitsubishi VLT-HC910LP.  Your life expectancy of that lamp is 2000 hours (in most cases that is what the OEM is designed for). That Copy lamp is not made as well as the Original bulb.  The bulb is using gases and manufacturing methods to ensure it can be sold cheap. That will guarantee the life expectancy is significantly lower. I may get 200-400 hours if you are lucky.

That means I need to buy another $40 lamp and get another 400 hours (I am being generous at 400 hours) …. I end up buying 5 lamps at $40 apiece to get your full 2000 hours that I am expecting. Plus, I must contact the Copy lamp seller and deal with the returns process and waiting for the new Copy lamp and then having to put it in and reset the timer each time and clean out the likely piles of broken glass from when the last Copy lamp exploded…just so much hassle for no savings once it’s all said and done.

The Copy lamp cost me $0.10 an hour to run, plus all the return shipping, hours spent troubleshooting and dealing with the replacement and lost time enjoying the projector.  There are other problems with copy lamps such as color quality and brightness problems but those are not as quantifiable.
The Original Bulb Inside VLT-HC910LP is less than $140 new.  Sure, that is almost 4 times the cost of the copy lamp. How can that be cheaper?  Let’s do the cost per hour math and see…
Copy lamp = $40 new, 400hr lifespan, 5 x $40 = $200 for 2000hours of use.  Plus, RMA shipping fees, restocking fees and hassle.  Your Quantifiable cost per hour to get 2000 hours of use us $0.10 per hour. Seems cheap right?
Original Bulb Inside Lamp = $138.00 new, 2000hours life span. No replacing it at 400 hours or less.
Your cost per hour is $0.069 or 7 cents an hour!  That adds up over the life of the projector. 
Original Bulb Inside lamps are a wonderful cost-effective option to enjoy your projector.  You get the same level of quality (in some cases higher quality) for a much cheaper price than the OEM.
Copy lamps only seem cheap when you see the initial cost.  Extrapolating that over the life of the projector makes it obvious that your savings vanish the moment you install that copy lamp.
Pureland Supply prides itself on only selling OEM and Original Bulb Inside lamps.
We pride ourselves in our commitment to Customer Service, Quality and Reasonable prices.
Browse our lamp sections or search for your model. If you rather talk to a human, give us a call where you never have to ‘press 1 for an representative’.