Beware of “Passing Off”

A common practice to look out for is instances of resellers “passing off” products from one lamp type against another. In its simplest and most obvious form you order an Original lamp and the supplier ships you an original inside or copy lamp instead. If you are both the person that orders and the person that receives the lamp this should be fairly easy to spot, but if the product is delivered to a different contact, it may go unnoticed and you end up paying a lot more money for a potentially inferior product.

However, most instances of “passing off” are a bit more sophisticated than simply shipping lamps that are cheaper or inferior to the one ordered. Many resellers, particularly on marketplaces, use a range of terminology to mislead you into believing you are buying one thing while they are actually selling you something different. The most common examples of this are the use of phrases like “original lamp”, “original bulb”, used to describe lamps that have a Philips, Ushio or Osram bulb, but use a third party housing rather than the original supplied in the projector from manufacturers such as Epson, Sony or Sharp.

Another practice is for resellers to use words like “Authentic”, “Premium”and “Premier” etc. which can all potentially cause confusion – and could in fact refer to a lamp in any category.

We have also been made aware of instances where organizations have awarded bids to resellers who, in a classic example of “Bait and Switch,” have provided Original lamps for evaluation or even for the first shipment or two before then switching and supplying “original Inside”, re-lamps or copy lamps for subsequent deliveries.”

These are some examples that all may not be as it seems in the world of projector lamps. We hope that the information we have provided will prevent you from being conned and ripped off.

Andy Brymer – 3rd June 2014

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Projector Lamp Genie launches video series

Projector Lamp Genie are pleased to announce their first educational video an “Introduction to lamp types”. This simple 3 minute video provides a brief overview of the different types of projector lamp available today. In simple English with accompanying graphics our first video describes OEM, “Genuine Inside” and “Copy” lamps and their key features and benefits. This video will help you to understand the choices available when you need to buy a replacement lamp and hopefully assist you in making the right choice for your needs.

We intend this to be the first of a series of videos, with future productions covering topics such as; counterfeit lamps and how to spot them, how to get the best out of your projector lamp and an explanation of other terms you might come across such as “re-lamping”.

You can find our video either on our website at www.projectorlampgenie.com/us/ or on YouTube at http://youtu.be/O0JhBVctXW4. If you have any comments or would like to leave us some feedback please call us on 814-308-9459 or email us at sales-us@projectorlampgenie.com

Andy Brymer – 6th May 2014

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Projector Lamp Technology

Projector lamps have to withstand enormous pressure and massive heat to generate the light output required for projected displays, such as presentations and videos.

In 1995 UHP™ technology was developed by Philips, which allowed an increased light output and lifetime for projectors lamps. This evolution in lighting technology rapidly became the cornerstone for practically all projector bulb manufacturers.

The lamp itself is a complex mix of chemicals, including mercury, and precision electronics packaged into a sealed glass bulb. The unit is expected to operate at above 8000k (hotter than the sun!) and to withstand high pressure, in excess of 200 bar.

The lamp is developed with a high voltage ballast (or driver) and is delivered as a lamp system. This system has been developed working with the projector manufacturers to provide the optimal viewing experience from the projector and the collaboration ensures that the finished product is properly tested and meets stringent quality standards. This care is taken to ensure the lamp will provide high light output, uniform light distribution and a long lamp life.

There are seven original lamp manufacturers: Philips; Osram; Phoenix; Ushio; Iwasaki; Matsushita; Epson. These are companies who work with the projector OEMs to ensure the lamp set-up delivers the optimal performance within the projector setting. They are also the companies’, who hold Intellectual Property (IP) rights to projector lamp technology.

Some companies in SE Asia have created copies of many original lamps and sell them into the replacement market. Often referred to as “compatible” these copy lamps generally offer lower performance, poor reliability and reduced lifetimes, and in many cases they are breaking patent laws.

Andy Brymer – 25th Mar 2014

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I ordered an Eiki lamp and got a Sanyo

We get comments like this from time to time from our customers, and thought that it was perhaps a good idea to post an article in our BLOG to try to explain how this might happen and allay the fears of our customers.

Taking perhaps the most common example, historically, Sanyo manufactured projectors for both their own brand and others that they sold to Eiki. With the exception of branding and some cosmetic alterations to the case, the projectors were identical.

Sanyo produced replacement lamps for the projectors and sold them as Sanyo branded lamps and also supplied Eiki so that Eiki could sell to their customers. As specialist lamp resellers evolved, they realized that these lamps were identical except for the branding and started to supply the lower cost of the options available – irrespective of the brand of projector the user has.

An example is the 610-323-0726 / POA-LMP90 lamp from Sanyo which is identical to the 610-332-3855 / POA-LMP106 from Eiki which fits the following projector models:-

  • Eiki
    • LC-SB22, LC-XB23, LC-XB24, LC-XB27N, LC-XB29N
  • Sanyo:
    • PLC-SU70, PLC-WXE45, PLC-WXE46, PLC-WXL46, PLC-XE40, PLC-XE45, PLC-XL40, PLC-XL45, PLC-XU73, PLC-XU74, PLC-XU83, PLC-XU84, PLC-XU86, PLC-XU87

To illustrate this further, at the end of this article we have attached screen shots from the user manuals from the Eiki LC-SB22 and Sanyo PLC-XE45 showing the same lamp is used in both. The information was downloaded from www.projectorcentral.com.

The Sanyo/Eiki situation going forward is even more complicated in that in 2012 Sanyo withdrew from the projector market and their “interests” were acquired by Panasonic, who now also supply replacement lamps for Sanyo and Eiki projector models (as well as their own). To complicate the situation still further it is believed that Eiki are about to launch their own range of replacement lamps as they do not believe the ones they are buying from Panasonic represent good value!

Sanyo and Eiki are not the only brands that have had similar manufacturing/branding arrangements and there is literally thousands of similar cross references across the replacement lamp market. Just to illustrate, some of the brands that have “shared” the same basic projector designs include:-

  • Hitachi / 3M
  • Viewsonic / Infocus / Optoma
  • Panasonic / Sanyo
  • Christie / Eiki
  • Sanyo / Promethean
  • Sanyo / Eiki
  • NEC / Canon

Does any of this matter? Probably not, if you have ordered an OEM lamp for your projector, whether it says Sanyo or Eiki on the packaging is irrelevant as long as the lamp inside is the one that fits your projector. However, we are aware that for many years there have been resellers in the replacement projector lamp and RPTV market that have been less than scrupulous in the way they have conducted business. There have been frequent examples of practices such as; supplying “bare bulb” instead of the full lamp module, passing off copy lamps as OEM or supplying “refurbished” or “re-lamped” products when the customer thinks they were buying the manufacturers’ original. To these suppliers with low business morals, the cross-referencing issue can act as a bit of a smoke screen to add further confusion into the minds of the lamp purchaser.

Projector Lamp Genie does, from time to time, substitute OEM lamps with different branding for two important reasons.

  • If brand A is more expensive than brand B we will supply brand B to pass onto our customers the benefits of the lower price.
  • If brand B is out of stock we will supply brand A as generally customers order replacement lamps when they need them, and any delay usually mean a projector being out of action.

However, we absolutely promise that if a customer orders an OEM lamp from us, then we will only supply an OEM lamp.

Extract from User Manual for Sanyo PLC-XE45 showing lamp module reference numbers.

Extract from User Manual for Sanyo PLC-XE45 showing lamp module reference numbers
Source:Projector Central

Extract from User Manual for Eiki LC-SB22 showing lamp module reference numbers.

Extract from User Manual for Eiki LC-SB22 showing lamp module reference numbers
Source:Projector Central

Andy Brymer – 26th Feb 2014

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There are Copy Lamps and there are Copy Lamps!

One thing that is obvious to us at Projector Lamp genie is that “copy” or “compatible” lamps are here to stay. A copy lamp is the most common name given to those projector and RPTV lamps that are produced by replicating, rather than using, the original technology designed by either the bulb manufacturer (Philips, Ushio, Osram etc.) or the projector manufacturer (Epson, Sony, Infocus, NEC etc.)

Most copy lamps originate in China and we now estimate they have a 50% share of the total replacement market. This has undoubtedly occurred because they are cheap – typically 75% less than the OEM equivalent. But there are trade-offs. Our experience has shown that:-

  • They are often not as bright as the OEM.
  • They typically don’t last as long
  • It is 5 times more likely they will be dead on arrival (DOA)
  • They may have design faults which mean they don’t fit the projector

In addition we have heard stories of bulbs exploding or catching on fire which obviously represent a health and safety risk.

However, what we have also found is that the quality can vary significantly. At Projector Lamp Genie, we have tried hard to select copy lamps from manufacturers that produce higher quality products, both in terms of specification and reliability, and have stuck to ISO9000 accredited suppliers. Where we have found individual products that have not been up to standard we have worked with our supply chain to try to improve quality. As a consequence we believe that our range of “Genie Lamps” represent better value for money than the vast majority of other copy lamps available today, and is why we have invested heavily in our brand.

Andy Brymer – 29th Jan 2014

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“Lampless” Projector Update

In our latest BLOG we take a look at the development of “Lampless” projectors.

As all of our customers will know, buying replacement lamps for your projector or RPTV is a necessary evil. Who really wants to fork out an average of $200 replacing a consumable? Whilst at Projector Lamp Genie we try to soften the blow a little by offering a range of lamp types…

OEM – Manufacturers original lamps, highest quality – 90 day warranty

Diamond Lamps – Use original bulb, 3rd party housing, identical spec to original, typically 25% or more cheaper – 120 day warranty

Genie Lamps – Compatible lamps, typically lower specification and life expectancy than OEM or Diamond but very low cost often 75% cheaper than the OEM – 90 day warranty

…we also know that there is keen interest, from users, in the progression of “Lampless” projectors. In terms of “commercial” projectors (those used in business, education, home cinema etc.) these have been around for 3 or 4 years using a combination of laser, LED and hybrid lighting engines which work by enclosing and manipulating electrons and forcing them to emit light at a certain frequency. These types of light source have nothing to wear out and have quoted lifetimes of 10,000 – 100,000 hours which effectively means a lifetime as other components in the projector are likely to fail before the light source.

So what’s stopping them? There are three major issues: cost, brightness and the fact that the audio visual (AV) industry hasn’t yet got behind the technology.

The cost argument is really one between upfront investment and lifetime cost. Whilst a “Lampless” projector may sell for a few hundred $ more than its traditional rival, not having to buy a new lamp every year at $200 a time will result in net savings over the projectors lifetime, despite the higher initial outlay. Also, as volumes increase prices will reduce and the cost argument for “Lampless” will become even more convincing.

The brightness issue is more critical. The technologies are still in their infancy and brightness is hard to come by. A traditional projector used in a meeting room or classroom typically has a brightness of 2,000-3,000 ANSI lumens which enables an audience of up to 50 people, to see what’s on the screen with the lights on. The new technologies are struggling to get to this level without the user having to spend tens of thousands of dollars. According to Rich McPherson, Product Manager of Projectors for NEC Display Solutions of America, the technology is “roughly where projectors with high pressure lamps were 15-20 years ago.” Whilst this may be true, we don’t expect it to take anywhere near that length of time for the new technologies to catch up (Casio and Acer both have LED/Laser solutions at 2,000 ANSI Lumens) and we think that it will only be 2-3 years before brightness will no longer be a major concern.

The final, and perhaps most mystifying reason is that the audio visual industry – the manufacturers, distributors and resellers that take new products to market – has not yet got behind “Lampless” projectors. Why is a little hard to fathom out. It is highly likely that most if not all of the traditional projector manufacturers (Epson, NEC, Sony, Barco, Christie, Sharp etc.) are working on developing “Lampless” projectors and perhaps the distributors and resellers are waiting until this happens before taking the products to their customers. Whatever the reason the age of the “Lampless” projector is not with us quite yet and so Projector Lamp Genie are likely to still be in high demand for the next few years.

Andy Brymer – 22nd Jan 2014

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How to spot a Counterfeit Lamp

As detailed in our last BLOG – counterfeit lamps are becoming an increasing problem all over the world and in the US in particular. We all know that buying and selling lamps that are known to be counterfeit is illegal, but how do you spot a fake?

The price is too good to be true

It’s a much bandied about phrase, but it is also one that should be the first warning sign that something may be wrong.  If you are looking to buy an OEM lamp research will show a variety of prices from different suppliers, but these will generally be in a cluster. If you find one or 2 that are say 20% cheaper than the rest then this maybe because you are being offered counterfeit product.

Packaging

All of the manufacturers that we have encountered put their lamps in properly designed packaging which includes their logo, part number and a bar code. Whilst it is easy to copy these, the quality of the copying isn’t always to a high standard, doesn’t look quite right and can lead to suspicions. However, it is not always that simple – we are aware of some counterfeiters that have clearly bought original lamps which they then repackage into inferior “copied” boxes, whilst shipping out fake lamps in the original boxes !!!

Comparison to the original

It is likely that when you receive your new lamp and you are ready to install it, you will also have the old lamp that you are replacing and so will be able to do a visual comparison. It is possible that the design of the cage will give the game away, but probably you will need to look at the bulb markings. There are only 7 manufacturers of bulbs for all of the projectors ever made:- Philips, Osram, Ushio, Epson, Matsushita, Phoenix and Iwasaki and each has their own way of marking them – including a way of distinguishing between those that are sold to the projector manufacturer and those that are sold into the aftermarket.  This issue of bulb markings can be quite complicated, but there is an excellent website www.counterfeitlamps.com that provides a more complete explanation of what to look for.

Can anyone else help?

Yes – if you think you may have been sold a counterfeit lamp but would like to have your suspicions confirmed then we are happy to help. Using our expertise and that of our suppliers we are able to identify counterfeit goods and explain why we know they are counterfeit – usually just from photographs of the product. If you would like assistance please call us on 814-308-9459 or email us at sales-us@projectorlampgenie.com

What do I do if I find a fake?

If you suspect you have been sold a counterfeit lamp there are a number of courses of action you could take, but we would recommend that, in the first instance, you talk to your supplier. They should take back your counterfeit lamp and provide you with a legitimate OEM replacement, and importantly address their supply chain issues. Assuming they have been acting unwittingly they should be keen to address the problem – if they aren’t, advise them that they have been supplying you illegally. If you still feel you aren’t getting anywhere then you could contact the projector manufacturer – there will be a contact points for complaints on their website, or we would be happy to assist you in finding the right person.

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Counterfeit Replacement Projector Lamps

Counterfeiting of projector and RPTV lamps is becoming an increasing problem facing our industry and one that can have significant consequences – so here is some information about counterfeit lamps that you might find helpful.

Types of counterfeit lamp

1 The “clone”

Much like the fake Rolex, some counterfeit lamps use none of the original parts that make up the genuine article, but use a series of cheap components that are stamped with the name and possibly part number of the original product. These are potentially the most dangerous type of counterfeit lamps, in that they may be poorly manufactured, with little if any regard to safety standards. At the same time they are also the easiest to spot as a simple side-by-side comparison against the lamp being replaced will usually reveal a number of obvious differences.  If you do receive a “clone” lamp do send it back to your supplier, as well as being illegal, like the fake Rolex, it may not work for very long.

2 Same bulb different housing

A lamp comprises of 2 main components, the bulb (the bit that creates the light) and the cage or housing (the bit that holds the bulb and is used to fit the lamp into your projector). Bulb manufacturers sell to both the original projector manufacturer (OEM) and a series of authorized 3rd parties such as Diamond Lamps, who source cages from elsewhere and produce their own branded aftermarket replacement lamps. Because such manufacturers have lower overheads than the OEM they are generally cheaper than the OEM version. Some unscrupulous companies are taking these aftermarket bulbs, sourcing a cage similar to the OEM version and putting them in boxes branded as the manufacturer.  They are then either selling them at full price making an additional profit or at a reduced price in order to “steal” business from the OEM. The quality of these lamps may be as good as the OEM lamp, but this practice is still ILLEGAL.

3 Grey lamps

The third category of counterfeit lamps comes from factories that manufacture lamps for OEMs and produce additional quantities or product overruns. They then sell these onto the “grey” market, usually at knock down prices and in turn they find their way into the channel at reduced prices. As these are in effect the same product as the OEM, they cannot be identified as counterfeit and it is down to the manufacturer to try to prevent this activity occurring.

What are the issues with counterfeit lamps?

Firstly, counterfeiting is illegal and any individual within an organization that knowingly participates in buying or selling counterfeit lamps can be liable to prosecution by the state, with significant fines and possible imprisonment amongst the penalties.

Specifically, there are a number of issues that the authorities are trying to protect against.

End user safety

Counterfeit lamps may be of poor quality or even dangerous. In the first instance they contain mercury so if they are poorly manufactured a leakage of hazardous material may result. Even if the bulb is from a genuine source, the cage may not be and there have been examples of overheating and projectors breaking or even catching fire.

 Trademark or Brand infringement

Projector and bulb manufacturers invest great sums of money in designing and developing high quality products.  A significant part of their return on that investment comes from the sales of replacement lamps. Counterfeiting cheats the brand manufacturers’ of their return.

Invalidation of warranty

Not only does using a counterfeit lamp deprive the brand manufacturer of their return on investment, it is also likely to invalidate any warranty that comes with the projector. It would be a real shame to invalidate the 3 year warranty on a $2,000 projector for the sake of saving a few dollars on a lamp.

Protection of legitimate businesses

Organizations that buy or sell counterfeit products are usually undercutting the prices of the legitimate channel which mean that genuine law-abiding businesses cannot compete with the price.

Reduction of organized crime

Whilst the selling of counterfeit projector lamps does not seem like a major underworld activity, it is a fact that all types of counterfeiting have links to organized crime and the use of slave or child labor and it is everyone’s duty to take reasonable steps to avoid being involved in the buying or selling of counterfeit lamps.

In the next edition of the BLOG we will provide some assistance in how to identify counterfeit lamps, and what to do when you find one. In the meantime if you would like any further assistance on this subject, or would like us to evaluate any lamps that you suspect might be counterfeit, then please call on 814-308-9459 or email sales-us@projectorlampgenie.com

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Sanyo Replacement Lamps in Short Supply?

Following the acquisition of Sanyo by Panasonic, and the subsequent withdrawal of the Sanyo brand of projectors, the audio visual industry is rife with rumours of a shortage of replacement lamps for Sanyo projectors. Whilst Panasonic fully support the entire Sanyo range, I guess it stands to reason that with the closure of the Sanyo warehouses and selling off bulk stock, it is inevitable that there will be some disruption to the supply chain.

But there is no need to worry. Projector Lamp Genie carry the Diamond Lamps range of projector lamps and we are pleased to report there are Diamond Lamps available for 176 of the 192 Sanyo projectors that have ever been produced.

Diamond Lamps use the same original bulb as Sanyo (predominantly produced by Philips and Osram) and combine these with a third party housing. These components are then assembled to exacting standards with the full approval and endorsement of Philips and Osram.

Diamond lamps (and Projector Lamp Genie) recently received a very favorable review from Home Theatre Review – which can be seen here.

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Diamond Lamps get a great review!

We at Projector Lamp Genie have been selling the range of Diamond Lamps since we started and have always been impressed with the quality, low DOA and returns rates and customer satisfaction with the products. Recently we supplied one to Andrew Robinson of HomeTheatreReview.com who was delighted with it and wrote a forum post about his experience. See Replacing A Projector Bulb.

Diamond lamps are a range of what are known as “Genuine” lamps. They have the original manufacturer’s (Philips, Ushio, Osram etc.) bulb located in a third party housing or “cage” to form a lamp module. Consequently, they have the same specification as the Manufacturers’ Original (OEM) but are typically 20% cheaper and come with a 120 day warranty whereas OEM lamps typically have a 90 day warranty. If you would like to find out more about the Diamond range of lamps please call us on 814-308-9459 or email us.

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