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The Difference Between OEM, Original, Equivalent, & Compatible Lamps

We sell three types of projector and RPTV replacement lamps: Original, OEM and OEM Equivalent. There is a fourth type we don't sell called a Compatible or Copy. The difference between these lamps is mainly due to the manufacterer of the lamp and lamp housing.

What is an OEM Lamp?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This is the exact same lamp and housing that originally came with your projector and was built specifically for the projector's manufacturer. Projector manufacterers usually do not produce the lamps themselves; the actual lamp manufacterer is normally either Osram, Philips, or Ushio. The projector manufacturer contracts one of these companies to manufacture the lamps, which are then delivered to the projector factory and shipped with your original projector or stocked to be later sold as replacements.

OEM lamps are generally considered the highest quality lamps you can buy. Unfortunately, OEM lamps are the most expensive option and have the shortest warranty, usually 90 days or 500 hours. OEM Lamps are also technically the only lamps that won't violate the terms of your projector's manufacterer's warranty. In reality, projector manufactuers will almost never refuse to honor your warranty becuase of the use of a non-OEM replacement lamp, but it is possible if a defective lamp was the actual cause of projector damage.

 What is an Original or Diamond Lamp?

An Original Lamp is very similar to an OEM Lamp, and the terms are often confused. The difference is that these lamps use a housing manufactured by a third party, but the lamp part itself is the same as the OEM. These lamps are not specifically produced for the projector manufacturer, but rather produced to be sold by replacement lamp resellers.

Original lamps often have a brand name to differentiate themselves in the market. Diamond Lamps is the best known original lamp brand, and is the origainal lamp brand sold by Theatrical Bulb Supply. Original lamps are less expensive than OEM lamps, and generally include a longer warranty, most often 90-120 days.

 What is an OEM Equivalent Lamp?

An OEM Equivalent Lamp is an exact replica of the OEM lamp but manufactured by a company other than Osram, Philips, Ushio, etc. These lamps are also placed in a third party constructed housing.

Equivalent lamps are significantly less expensive, but are expected to have roughly the same quality construction and specifications as the OEM lamp. These lamps may also be branded, such as with our TBS brand of equivalent lamps. TBS lamps inlcude a comprehensive 120 day warranty, with extensions available.

 What is a Compatible or Copy Lamp?

Equivalent and Compatible Lamps are often confused. In general, low quality Equivalent Lamps (made by a third party) are referred to as Compatible or Copy Lamps. These lamps will work in your projector, but are not made to the same specification as an OEM, Original or OEM Equivalent Lamp. They may have a short usable life and/or have a lower brightness. Price and warranty varies by reseller, but these lamps are generally very cheap and often include a long warranty (150-180 days) to help offset the low quality.

Theatrical Bulb Supply does not sell low quality Compatible or Copy Lamps.