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Projector Lamps and the Global Economy

Updated on May 2, 2008

Little Projector Lamp

Photo Courtesy of Projector Lamp Center
Photo Courtesy of Projector Lamp Center

Big Global Economic Changes -

Let's face it. Everyone knows, or at least talks about the state of the U.S. Economy. Projector Lamps, and the Audio-Visual industry are impacted by a weak U.S. Dollar in foreign markets as well as escalating fuel and production costs. It is true that thinking about this stuff is almost as much fun as watching a movie starring Paris Hilton, (not the home movie variety). Still, a few key factors should give Projector Lamp buyers a cause for concern.

Mean Fewer Lamps Available

Photo Courtesy of DIYAudio.com
Photo Courtesy of DIYAudio.com

Higher Production Costs

A lot of complex pieces go into the production of projector lamps. Sometimes, the parts are made overseas in Asian markets, and transported to US manufacturing hubs for assembly and distribution. Every time a lamp, part of a lamp, or assembly is made, fuel is used to make the plastics, both as an internal element and as energy to run the production machines. Once the parts are made, they are shipped cross-country, often within China, to port cities where they are forwarded to US ports for distribution and assembly.

Further, the projector lamp parts are then shipped to regional manufacturing plants for final assembly and distribution to US Distributors. Understand that each leg of the journey requires time and money to deliver the projector lamps to you, the end user. Simple math tells us that the more it costs to get projector lamps to our stores, the smaller the profit margin for the exporter. Smaller profit margins mean fewer lamps are produced which in turn decreases the supply of projector lamps and increases the price for those that are available for sale. Whew!

Re-Cycling is not the Best Option

Since the production and shipping costs have steadily risen over the last decade, good old American Ingenuity has taken hold in the Consumer Electronics industry. Projector Lamps, unlike college or professional sports coaches, do not always work best when re-cycled or Relamped.

Relamping is a process in which a burned out projector lamp is retro-fitted with a new light source, re-packaged and sold to end users. In principle, it may seem like a good solution to off-set the decreasing supply of lamps. Reality for the end users tends to be less than ideal because of the unreliability of re-manufactured lamps.

Some companies in America have even begun to make exact duplicates of projector lamp models to off-set decreased availability. Even those reverse engineered lamps, while lower in price, do not often sustain the same lamp life as their OEM parents. That is not to say that all non-original equipment doesn't work, just that original parts, including lamps are the most reliable even when they cost more.

Photo Courtesy of US Department of the Treasury
Photo Courtesy of US Department of the Treasury

Benjamins Failing in Japan

Global electronics giant Sony predicts huge losses in export to the US based on the relative strength of the Japanese currency the Yen vs. the US Dollar.

In a recent report to its Finance Ministry, Sony, which exports about 38 percent of all its products to America loses an average of $59m for every 1 Yen rise against the dollar. Talk about shrinking margins! To off-set those losses, Sony shed approximately 10,000 jobs and core assets to account for decreased operating margin in America. Sony also planned to slow production which as we know will affect availability, increase demand and create a surge in price to end users.

Photo Courtesy of Big Screen Center
Photo Courtesy of Big Screen Center

Projector Lamps and Projectors Still a Viable Option

Even with the global economic pinch, projector lamps and projectors are a valuable tool for modern society. Alternative display methods like LCD or Plasma monitors feel the economic downturn even more, as there are more parts, plastics, size and weights to factor in production. The average cost for a small LCD or Plasma monitor is still near $700, and those babies aren't exactly as mobile as a projector.

The average cost of a replacement projector lamp is around $400, and can last a few thousand hours of use. Projectors can be purchased for well under $1000, and can be displayed on screens large enough to view from a different area code! Keys for the consumer in this challenged global economy are to simply forecast their projector lamp usage and plan on purchasing a replacement lamp well before the existing one burns out.

End Users should also plan on paying a slightly higher price for the projector lamps in the short term. Be sure to consider non-OEM replacements as a temporary solution for projector lamps. They are reasonable in price but come with the "buyer beware" stigma. OEM lamps may cost more for now, but are still the best option in projector lamps.

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