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New EU Rules Are Going to Put an End to Lamp-Based Projectors

The European Union is putting the squeeze on lamp-based projectors in less than 22 months.

BenQ Cinema W2710 Projector Mounted in Home Theater

If you currently use a lamp-based projector and reside in the European Union (EU), there is a rather important development that you need to be aware of; and we suspect this decision will likely be adopted in other regions as well. The European Union has adopted a new rule as part of its campaign to combat climate change that will be the final nail in the coffin for lamp-based projectors.

About a decade ago, one of the contributing factors that put the nail in the coffin for Plasma TVs was California’s move to enforce energy use regulations that targeted home appliances, including TVs. 

Following that, the EU instituted energy regulations that put the squeeze on 8K TVs – although Samsung and some other brands seem to have been able to work around them with more efficient engineering. 

BenQ HT3560 4K Projector
The BenQ HT3560 is a lamp-based 4K Projector ($1,499 at Amazon).

Lamp-based Projector Ban

By 2026, EU regulators will not allow any lamp-based video projectors to be sold in the European Union. While this affects production and imports for use in the EU, it will probably filter to other regions of the world, including North America in short order. It could also mean replacement lamps will be in short supply.

Tech Note: Although there are energy consumption concerns, the main reason projector lamps are being targeted is that most include small amounts of mercury, which is designated as a toxic element.

The Bottom Line

The result of this ruling is a mixed bag for consumers.

  • On one hand, there are still a large number of projectors in use that use lamps.  The lamps need to be changed after about 3,000 to 4,000 hours of viewing.
  • On the other hand, there are an increasing number of projectors that use lampless technology, such as LED and Laser light engines which do, for the most part, meet the EU’s energy consumption and mercury regulations. Another benefit is that LED or laser light sources may last 20,000 use hours or more.
Formovie C3 UST Projector Size Examples
The Formovie C3 is a UST Laser Projector (2023 model)

Laser Alternative

Many new projectors for home theater already use a Laser or Laser/Phosphor light engine, including Ultra Short Throw Projectors (UST). With two years to go before the 2026 ban, we expect projector manufacturers to further highlight the importance of a laser light source. Hisense was the first to jump on the this trend and cleverly named select UST/screen combos as Laser TVs.

TCL 98R754 S Class 98-inch 4K TV
TCL 98R754 S Class 98-inch 4K TV (2023 model)

Extra Large TVs

The projector market shakeup also creates an opening for TV makers to increase the number of extra large screen TVs (85 inches and up, provided they meet EU TV power regulations) in their lineups. The promotional advantage here is that TVs can display brighter images than a projector (whether lamp or lampless). Combine this with the decreasing price of large screen TVs and this may also be a great replacement option for projector users. 

How to Replace a Projector Lamp

Replacement projector lamps are available on Amazon from $70 to $150 for many home entertainment projectors. Since we mentioned the BenQ HT3560 projector above, here’s a video example how to replace its lamp module.

More to Come…

This is a continuing story, and the impact outside of the EU (especially the US) is not yet known. As more details become available, we will either update this article or post a follow-up article.

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