Consumer Alert: The dangers of counterfeit projector lamps

The dangers of counterfeit projector lamps are very real

Counterfeit projector lamps may seem like quite the bargain. Would you compromise your health and risk your eyesight for the sake of a few dollars?

Using counterfeit, knock-off projector or rear-projector TV (RPTV) lamps puts you at risk for potential damage to your eyesight as well as exposure to , a radioactive gas that is linked to cancer.

Toxic bargain

What is Krypton-85 doing in counterfeit projector and RPTV lamps? Using this toxic element is the only way for copy-cat manufacturers to re-produce the technology created by PHILIPS, the original manufacturer of DLP projector and RPTV lamps.

After years of research, PHILIPS developed a revolutionary arc tube filled with mercury-argon mixture that created intense light but lowered the heat allowing both the lamp and projector to become smaller.

Since PHILIPS patented technology is not available to counterfeit manufacturers, they resort to using Krypton-85 for the same result. This radioactive gas is created from by nuclear reactors during the fission between uranium and plutonium and has a number of industrial and medical applications. It’s safe when used in a controlled environment.

Lack of durability

Unfortunately, Krypton-85 is not being used under safe conditions when it comes to counterfeit lamps, often referred to as “compatible lamps.” In order to create the knock-off lamp, counterfeit manufacturers usually replace the arc tube or refit old projector lamps with counterfeit parts; others replace the complete module. Whichever method they choose, they are still producing a lamp with a shorter life cycle and inferior technology.

Durability of generic lampsLack of accountability

Exposure to Krypton-85 happens when these lamps break or explode inside the projector from overheating. Short-term effects of Krypton-85 exposure are dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Long-term effects are more serious. According to the Department of Energy (DOE) exposure to Krypton-85 can increase the likelihood of cancer.

Protect your eyesight

Comparing Luminosity of authentic to generic

PHILIPS lamps also use a UV coated reflectors allowing for a brighter and more vibrant picture. Counterfeit lamps have a non-coated reflector, which eventually damages color wheel and optical block in your projector—both expensive components to repair.

More importantly, PHILIPS UV reflectors are designed to reduce harmful rays from the intense light thereby protecting your eyesight. Counterfeit lamps without UV coated reflectors can produce an effect similar to looking at the sun without UV protection.

Buyer beware

Knock-off, countefeit, generic lamps have poor workmanshipInferior knock-off lamps are flooding the market. You’ll find generic lamps being sold at,, and—in fact it can be hard to distinguish the real lamps from the counterfeits.

Remember that “you get what you pay for” when you are online shopping around for the lowest price. Copy-cat manufacturers can be clever at disguising their knock-off products including using original PHILIPS logos and parts numbers. So even if the lamp looks authentic if the price is too good to be true, then chances are it’s a counterfeit.

Shop smart and stay safe

Be a smart consumer and purchase your lamp from a guaranteed seller such as These OEM retailers have a partnership with PHILIPS to sell their original lamps. You’ll be getting a lamp produced with the proper materials and a guarantee replacement should there be any problems. Those few extra dollars are worth peace of mind and your health.

Learn more

To read more about counterfeits, please visit our Counterfeit Awareness page.



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2 comments on “Consumer Alert: The dangers of counterfeit projector lamps
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  1. avatar Danny Joe Bridges says:

    I was a TV repair technician for 30 years. I had no idea that defeating the lamp door switch for troubleshooting purposes, then staring directly into the DLP lamp would be so detrimental to my eyesight. Now years later, my eyesight is so bad that I no longer can see well enough To perform repairs on any types of TVs anymore. I have suspected for some years now that these DLP lamps had damaged my eyesight. After reading this article now I am certain of it. I have used many generic parts over the years with much success, but this is downright scary. Not one fellow technician told me about this. As many were good friends of mine, I suspect they didnt know either.

    • avatar Shelagh McNally says:

      Hi Danny,
      So sorry to hear about your eyesight being affected. It’s the danger of buying counterfeit from overseas with no regulations and standards. All we can do is keep warning people about them and encouraging them to buy OEM direct. I hope your eyesight remains steady.

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