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JVC TS-CL110UAA OEM vs Generic

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Recently, we found many dealers online purportedly selling OEM product, but shipping generic. We decided to purchase one through a proxy and see for ourselves.

The part they advertise is a “GENUINE ORIGINAL LAMP & HOUSING,” however “Bulb pictured may not represent description, please ensure you are ordering the correct model. Do not hesitate to contact our sales staff if you have any questions.”

We decided to call–just to be sure.

To paraphrase our conversation with the nice gentleman, he stated that it is an original OEM lamp made by Philips. According to our research, Philips has only recently become the OEM for JVC televisions, and the actual OEM is Matsushita. This isn’t a huge deal because Philips is a better lamp than Matsushita anyway, which is probably why JVC switched lamp manufacturers. The price tag was pretty steep though, $195 for an OEM lamp and housing made by Philips? Other places that are authorized Philips dealers sell for around $160-180, but we ordered anyway in the name of science and consumer protection. Upon further inspection, an identical listing on the site has the lamp with the same picture listed for $92. We ordered both through two different proxies to remain anonymous.

We received the products today and both were identical. Both were generic lamps and the only thing OEM about the lamps were their housing. It seems they are re-lamping generic lamps into an original JVC TS-CL110UAA housing.

Inspect the photos below of an actual OEM Matsushita lamp with housing and a new generic with original housing.

TS-CL110UAA OEM vs Generic

TS-CL110UAA OEM vs Generic

As you can see:
A. The OEM lamp has a soldered connection to the ballast wiring. The lamp uses ceramic to seal the lamp–common with the big brands.
B. The OEM case has been sealed and a warranty sticker has been placed on the lamp unit by the warranty company.
C. The lamp is sealed, unlike the generic.
D. The generic seems to fit well in the housing, but it’s face has 4 cuts in it. This means the lamp isn’t sealed.
E. The generic lamp uses a nut on the post of the lamp, which sits on a plastic composite. This is both hazardous and prone to breakage. The generic lamp probably has a life of about 6 months at most.

You can often tell what a generic looks like by what’s on the lamp: nothing. Sometimes there will be a model number, but usually there’s no brand name associated with the lamp–and of course, the price is a lot lower, and the warranty is a lot less than a brand name product. You definitely get what you pay for!

We’re particularly surprised at this online merchant for selling a generic lamp for such a high price. We can only hope it was some sort of shipping error, instead of us paying almost $200 for an inferior product that will only last a handful of months.