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.
With OEM Equivalent lamps, you are getting an exact replica of the same 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. The manufacturers of OEM Compatible lamps either buy the rights to the OEM lamp, reverse engineer it, or assemble it with OEM parts at their own facilities.
Which is the right lamp to buy?
Advantages of OEM Projector Lamps
Highest Quality Available - OEM Lamps are of the highest quality available and since they come from the original manufacturer, you know exactly what you are getting.
Best Lamp Life - 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. Now, this of course is ONLY true if the best possible care is taken of your projector or TV. Disadvantages of OEM Projector Lamps
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. This is common with manufacturers and how they inventory replacement parts for many products.
Advantages of OEM Equivalent
Availability - Sometimes, availability of the OEM Equivalent lamps are a saving grace to those that need a projector lamp quickly. OEM Equivalent Lamps are not affected by the availability constraints of the original manufacturers in most cases.
Lower Price! - After all that is why other companies make replica's of a manufacturer's part. 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. Let's face it; the various companies that test and re-test the lamps before they are sold just don't have the same resources that the big manufacturers do.