Projector Lamp OEM or Equivalent
Why are these projector lamps so cheap?
A projector lamp advertised to fit a given projector can vary in price by up to $100 or more at competing projector lamp companies. There are several reasons why the same lamp would be different prices. Supply chain, shipping, and vendor purchasing power all contribute to price differences. Still, there is another factor cropping up in the fine print on projector lamp web sites:
OEM vs. OEM Equivalent
First let's start with talking about what O-E-M stands for:
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Quite simply, this means that the projector lamp has been assembled by the same manufacturer as the original brand of your projector or TV.
Now, with OEM Equivalent lamps you are basically talking about an exact replica of the same OEM projector lamp but manufactured by a different company. The brand of the bulb itself in the lamp assembly may be different as well, but the specs and design of the bulb are guaranteed to be 100% compatible with the OEM lamp. OEM Compatible, 100% Compatible, 100% OEM Equivalent are all terms used to express the same thing.
Which is the right lamp to buy?
The most important thing is that you have a CHOICE. Projector lamp retailers notice that in general, home users and small churches buy OEM Equivalent, and professionals pay extra for OEM. People can choose between these two varieties of lamp based on the question "What kind of customer am I?" or based on the way the lamps themselves fit a given installation need. Here is a brief explanation on the advantages and disadvantages of OEM vs. OEM Equivalent
Advantages of OEM Projector Lamps
• Highest Quality Available - Original design especially for the projector. OEM Lamps are of the highest quality available because they come from the original manufacturer.
• Best Lamp Life - Projector Manufacturers stake their reputation, and their right to charge higher margins, on the quality of the lamps. Even though OEM Equivalent lamps are built to be identical to OEM lamps, on the average, OEM lamps are going to have the highest probability for the longest lamp life under ideal conditions.
Disadvantages of OEM
• Higher Price - Now, compared to OEM Equivalent, OEM lamps will have the higher price, just like name brand printer cartridges.
• Availability - Due to the normal cycle of inventory by the manufacturers, OEM projector lamps can sometimes go into what you might call, a dry season. Projector manufacturers make more of their money on projectors and big ticket electronic devices than projector replacement lamps. Production time is usually allocated in favor of projectors and more expensive items.
Advantages of OEM Equivalent
• Availability - Sometimes, availability of the OEM Equivalent lamps are a saving grace to those that need a projector lamp quickly. Projector lamps are the main profit center for many OEM Equivalent projector lamp manufacturers, and so they schedule production time to maximize revenue on projector lamps. Also, OEM Equivalent projector lamp manufacturers will start production on popular lamps that the original manufacturers have withdrawn from the market. This can extend the useful life of older projectors and postpone the cost of replacing a projector. This is all good news for consumers because it means an OEM Equivalent projector lamp in demand is more likely to ship on time.
• Lower Price! - Depending on the lamp and brand, you can save up to 20% and sometimes more when you purchase the OEM Equivalent of a projector lamp.
Disadvantages of OEM Equivalent
• Variable Lamp Life - Just because a lamp is 100% compatible, and they are, doesn't mean that you are always going to get the same amount of lamp life out of it. It's just a fact of life. If you have ever purchased a refurbished inkjet or toner cartridge from a 3rd party, you probably know what I mean. Automated testing equipment and procedures eat away at OEM Compatible projector lamp profit margins. A certain level of quality assurance is cost prohibitive.
The lower price drives price conscious customers to OEM Compatible projector lamps. OEM Compatible replacement lamps are especially attractive to customers who know they only need a lamp for a few hours or those who do not know how much time they would need to use a projector.
The reliability of OEM projector lamps is attractive to professionals who run restaurants, casinos, convention centers, and other large venues. Businesses that depend on reliable projectors to drive profitability and depend on carefully managed cash flow for scheduled replacement lamp purchases tend to prefer OEM projector lamps. The chance of a lower cost per hour and more predictable lamp life period compensate for the higher price of OEM projector lamps.