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Projector Lamp Glossary



A type of metal halide lamp. An abbreviation for High pressure, mercury Arc lamp.

Air filter

The part of a projector designed to provide clean airflow inside the projector. If it becomes blocked in any way the projector can overheat inside and lead to early lamp failure. It is recommended to clean the air filter regularly in the projector. Some manufacturers provide new air filters with every new replacement lamp.

ANSI lumens

A standard for measuring light output, used for comparing projectors. ANSI lumens is a measuring method of the American National Standards Institute IT7.228. Unfortunately there are enough variables that the eye will often disagree with the ANSI rating. Such variables include:-

  • Halogen lamp projectors against metal halide lamp projectors. The halogen version will seem noticeably dimmer even if the 2 units rate the same ANSI lumens.
  • Type of LCD technology used (active matrix TFT or Polysilicon).
  • Type of overall technology used (LCD vs DLP vs CRT)
  • Contrast ratio

    On balance, however, ANSI lumens still offer a good guide to image brightness.



    The attribute of visual perception in accordance with which an area appears to emit more or less light. (Luminance is the recommended name for the photo-electric quantity which has also been called brightness).

    BriteOptic Dual Lamp system

    This feature delivers the power of two high intensity lamps through a high pressure prism and leads to an improved light integrator system. Used exclusively on some Panasonic projectors, BriteOptic is a trademark of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.


    Colour temperature

    A method of measuring the "whiteness" of a light source. Metal halide lamps have very high colour temperatures compared to halogen and other incandescent lights.

    Compatible Lamps (Copy Lamps)

    Compatible lamps or Copy Lamps as they are also known are often grey market imports with no warranties, and of unknown manufacturing standard. Copy Lamps are often produced by non-regulated companies. They are supplied in boxes often lacking labels, for prices that sound (and often are) too good to be true. Compatible lamps are frequently supplied as "bulb only", without plastic housing. Bulb only products can be unsafe and require technical knowledge of electrical wiring when installing the lamp. To learn more about this dangers of bare bulbs please click (hyperlink to Refurbishment Dangers). Projector Lamp Experts does not sell or recommend the use of copy lamps. For a genuine value alternative to manufacturer original lamps consider Original Alternative Lamps

    Copy Lamps

    See Compatible Lamps

    Contrast ratio

    The ratio between white and black. The larger the contrast ratio the greater the ability of a projector to show subtle colour details and bear extraneous room light. There are 2 methods used in the projection industry:-

  • Full on/off contrast measures the ratio of the light output of an all white image (full on) and the light output of an all black image (full off)
  • ANSI contrast is measured with a pattern of 16 alternating black and white rectangles. The average light output from the white rectangles is divided by the average light output of the black rectangles to work out the ANSI contrast ratio.



    A mirror or lens that reflects or refracts selective wavelengths of light. Typically used in projector light engines to separate the lamps "white" light into red, green and blue light. .

    Dual lamp mode

    Normal lamp mode delivers high brightness operation. Economy mode allows the projector to operate more economically providing longer lamp life. Please note brightness can be reduced by up to 20% in economy mode. Most projectors now carry this feature.

    Dual lamp system

    Some high end projectors are supplied with two lamps guaranteeing that your show or presentation can continue without interruption. Should 1 lamp fail the other lamp can be utilized.



    A type of metal halide lamp. An abbreviation for Efficient High Power lamp.



    A type of halogen lamp and the most popular lamp type used in halogen projectors. The lamp typically lasts 40-50 hours, however for convenience, most projectors with halogen lamps carry a spare to switch over once the first lamp has blown.


    Halogen lamps

    Used in low lumen projectors, these lamps last about 40-50 hours with consistent performance throughout their life. They give off a yellowish image compared to metal halide lamps which have a more true white image. In most cases, projectors with halogen lamps are fitted with a lamp changer to switch to a second lamp when necessary.

    Hi Lo mode

    Most new projectors have this feature allowing you to run the metal halide lamp more efficiently in Lo mode thereby increasing the lamp life.


    Lamp assembly

    See Lamp module.

    Lamp module

    A term to describe the lamp and its lamp housing. Most lamps are supplied in this form to make replacing the lamp in your projector quick and easy. To replace a lamp module you simply undue the necessary screws on your projector, lift out the old lamp module, insert the new lamp module and tighten the screws. Specific instructions on how to replace the lamp module may vary from projector to projector so it is advisable to consult the instruction manual.

    Lamp only

    A few manufacturers offer the choice between a replacement lamp module and a replacement bulb for their projectors. A lamp module means you are buying a complete unit - the lamp and the housing around it. They are intended to be user-replaceable and no advanced technical knowledge is needed. By buying just the bulb you do not get the housing around the lamp and installing it can be difficult, often resulting in damage. More care and attention is necessary when handling bare lamps. Always use gloves or a suitable cloth and ensure the terminals are not over tightened as the ceramic can be cracked and reduce the electronic insulation of the filament. Similarly, if the lamp is under tightened it can causing arcing on the terminal. This will put undue load on the ballast and can lead to lamp failure. We recommend purchasing a complete module unless you have a background in electrical engineering.

    Lamp timer

    Also known as a lamp counter this feature allows you to check and monitor the number of lamp hours used. Most projectors are fitted with this device. Some lamps now even come with an electronic timer built on the actual lamp so lamp life can be monitored more accurately.

    Lamp uniformity

    A level of over 90% is achieved when projector manufacturers utilize lenses positioned approximately 5mm x 5mm. When light from the lamp passes through this configuration light is evenly distributed all over the screen, right up to the corners.


    A standard for measuring light in projectors some years ago. Now the main method of measurement is in ANSI lumens.


    Mercury Halide Lamp

    This technology is a development of the high pressure mercury lamp, to which trace additions of various other metals are added in the form of their halide compounds. These are vaporised into the discharge and contribute their spectral output. Materials are selected which fill in the gaps in the mercury spectrum to deliver a light source having considerably improved colour properties. The luminous efficacy of the lamps is also increased owing to a reduction in the generation of invisible ultraviolet radiation. This type of lamp is used in 90% of projectors.


    A type of metal halide lamp. An abbreviation for Metal Halide Efficiency lamp.



    This type of lamp is made of crystalline glass and helps to produce very consistent brightness levels throughout the entire image area.


    Original Alternative Lamps

    Original alternative lamps offer a cost-effective genuine alternative to manufacturer original lamps. They are manufactured in a quality-controlled environment and to the same high quality standards as manufacturer original lamps. Similar to compatible memory for PCs or digital cameras (such as Kingston Memory), Original alternative Lamps are manufactured to ISO9001 standards and designed to ensure high performance levels at affordable prices.

    Projector Lamp Experts undertook extensive research, testing, and visited factories in Asia and Europe. and found the best quality and most reliable original alternative lamps on the market. Projector Lamp Experts recommends Alternative Lamps Co., a leading brand and manufacturer of original alternative lamps. Click here for more information on Alternative Lamps Co.


    PCP (Polarisation Conversion Prism)

    Natural light consists of several elements that diverge in different directions. As this light radiates horizontally, against the projecting direction, it does not add to the brightness of the screen. PCP technology corrects this flaw to virtually double lamp performance and efficiency.

    Projector lamp

    Also known around the world as a projector bulb, lampe de projecteur, lampe de rechange, lampe a haute pression, Projektorlampe, Metallhalogenlampe, Metalldampflampe, lampara de proyector, lampada de proiettore, lampada de projecao, projektielampen, beamerlamp, lamppu videoprojektori, metal halide projeckter lampemoduler, projektorlampor fur beamer.


    A type of metal halide lamp. An abbreviation for Premium Video projector lamp.


    Quad lamp system

    A very small number of projectors for large audiences are equipped with 4 lamps for failsafe operation at all times.



    A type of metal halide lamp, SHP is an abbreviation for Super High Pressure lamp.


    Turbo Bright System

    Developed by Canon and specifically for brightly lit rooms, the Turbo Bright System increases brightness of projected images by 25%. Most projectors reduce the orange light (wave length 570-600mm) to balance out the colours. In contrast Canon's sophisticated TBS utilises the orange to optimise the light rays from the lamp through the projection lens, without distorting the overall colour balance. The result is clear, vivid projection of text, data and images even in well lit conditions.



    A type of metal halide lamp. An abbreviation for Ultra High Efficiency lamp it is well known for low operating temperatures and minimal power consumption less than half of that of halogen bulbs. The lamp is also small in size and has helped to reduce the overall size and weight of projectors.


    A type of metal halide lamp. An abbreviation for Ultra High Performance lamp . Where other lamp types can experience a significant performance and colour shift after a period of time, UHP lamps guarantee virtual constant performance over its lifetime without hotspots. UHP is a trademark of Philips Electronics.


    A type of metal halide lamp. An abbreviation for Ultra High Brightness lamp.


    Common in most Panasonic projectors this high power lamp is a trade mark of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd



    A type of metal halide lamp. An abbreviation for Video Projector lamp.



    A small percentage of projectors use Xenon lamps, mainly high-end versions and those used in cinemas. A Xenon lamp produces a more natural colour and stable light, enabling vivid, true-to-life colour reproduction.

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