OEM vs Generic. Know the difference before you buy!

Before we even start, did you know that almost all television manufacturers do not manufacturer their own TV lamps? Only a handful of companies actually manufacture the lamps used in their own televisions. Almost all major TV manufacturers like Sony, Samsung and Hitachi use Philips brand lamps as an OEM part in most their television models. In fact, all Sony television models come with a Philips lamp. PHILIPS represents about 80% of this market, meaning that 4 out of 5 television models come with a Philips lamp from factory.

Why is it so important to buy brand name components when purchasing a high performance lamp for your DLP or LCD television?

The answer won't shock you, but you might think twice before buying generic.
First of all, let me preface by mentioning that there is nothing wrong with purchasing generic parts. With some electronic components or consumable parts, generic is the most cost-effective way to go. The same goes for DLP and LCD projection lighting. Generic can be a great for your wallet in the short-term, but you may kick yourself 4 months down the line when your generic lamp goes kaput!

Hg, or mercury, vapor lamps are under extremely high pressure. The quality comes down to the manufacturing process, the better the process, the better the lamp. There are two main parts to a UHP lamp, the lighting element (sometimes called the burner) and the reflector. Philips used to manufacture both in Belgium, but as demand and costs grew, Philips started manufacturing the reflector in China. The burners are still said to be manufactured in Europe since it's a trade secret - and for good reason too since the burner is what makes the lamp ignition possible.


There is always a risk of premature explosion and loss of lumens associated with purchasing an off-brand or generic lamp product. If you buy brand lamps such as Philips for your television, it may cost you a bit more now but the lamp will last for about 2-3 years without having any picture related problems. However if you buy a generic or off-brand lamp, it usually does not last as long and does not render the same picture quality. The cost-benefit analysis maintains you are better off purchasing a brand lamp.

Here are some of the disadvantages of using OEM compatible/ Generic or third party lamps:

  • Shorter Life span
  • Low Image Quality (resulting in less compelling colors and brightness)
  • Other picture related problems after extensive viewing
  • Moreover, it may cause other TV parts go bad such as a ballast.... costing extra money, time and trouble!!

Brand name lamps such as Philips, Ushio, etc has been extensively tested and engineered to ensure quality and longevity of your television. But BEWARE... counterfeit lamps do exist and they are presented in a number of different disguises. Generic lamps sold online by a number of vendors today should be considered counterfeit when sellers deliberately mislead consumers by not mentioning the lamp brand name and claiming OEM when in fact they are compatible replacement or generic knock offs (such as DNGO).

What should consumers do to protect themselves?

  • Buy from reputable Authorized dealers
  • Check to see how long the company has been in the business. Some e-retailers will use luring marketing strategies such as extended warranty, etc to sell products quickly but most of those e-retailers will not even exist after a certain period of time.
  • Check Affiliations
  • Customer support

Lamp is the heart of your television.
You have spent thousands of dollars in buying your television just to have a pleasant television
watching experience. Don't ruin that experience by purchasing a generic lamp,
which is not even cost effective in a long run.

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