The lamp is a common light source for video projectors, widely seen in some traditional and engineering projectors. In this guide, we will introduce four mainstream projector lamps, helping you to know their pros and cons.

Metal Halide Lamp vs UHE vs UHP vs Xenon Lamp

Metal Halide Lamp

As its name implies, a metal halide lamp is filled with metal halide. This kind of lamp features low cost and low price. When the lamp is lit, the lamp voltage is generally around 60V and the air pressure inside the lamp is high, whose filament is in a semi-melted state and the temperature is up to several thousand degrees. Therefore, the corresponding projector should be equipped with good heat dissipation. Projectors with this kind of lamp are not suitable for consecutive use for more than 4 hours.

One of the biggest disadvantages of this lamp is its short life span, generally only 2,000 hours, and its brightness gradually decays after use for 1,000 hours. The projection image quality will also get worse as time goes by.

The lamps are generally used for large LCD projectors. Presently, metal halide lamps have gradually withdrawn from the projector market, and been replaced by high-pressure mercury bulbs.

Metal Halide LampLow cost
High Brightness
Short Lamp Life
Decay greatly over time

UHE Lamp

UHE lamp refers to an Ultra-High Pressure mercury lamp, suitable for long-term use, whose price is relatively moderate. At present, the mainstream projectors adopt UHE as the light source. This lamp emits cold light based on optical principles, and its heat is relatively small, which can effectively reduce the power consumption of the projector.

As using mercury-filled technology, this lamp is also referred to as a cold light lamp.

Its most prominent feature is its long service life of 3,000 to 5,000 hours, and even 10,000 hours -12,000 for ECO mode (for projector use). More importantly, its brightness hardly decreases even after 2,000-hour use. Not only does this lamp last twice as long as a metal halide lamp, but it also has a smooth performance curve, high brightness, no significant decrease in brightness after long-term use, and a relatively appropriate price.

Therefore, this kind of lamp is widely seen in mainstream projectors. For example, the Epson PowerLite series.

UHE Lamp  High Brightness
Long lamp life
No Obvious Decay
Possible Pollution

You may be interested in Lamp vs LED vs Laser Projectors.

UHP Lamp

Strictly speaking, the UHP lamp also belongs to the ultra-high pressure mercury lamp and its life is generally 10,000 hours and even 25,000 hours. Its light will not suffer obvious decay after the cumulative working of 4,000 hours. This kind of lamp is a patented technology developed by Philips, it will immediately extinguish when the lamp reaches its life span. Compared with UHE lamps, UHP lamps have a larger amount of light, a more compact shape, less brightness decay, and longer life.

Compared with Metal Halide Lamps and UHE lamps, UHP lamps are ideal as light sources for projectors, but the patented technology is monopolized by Philips, whose price is also on the high side and thus they are widely seen in high-end projectors. However, with the gradual popularity of projectors and technology updates, some mid-range projectors also began to use UHP lamps.

UHP LampLonger Lamp Life
Low Brightness Decay
No Obvious Flicker
Patented Technology

Xenon lamp

Xenon lamp is a light source using positive and negative electrodes between the discharge to produce an electric arc. Because of its complex technique and high price, this lamp currently is only used in high-end projectors. Xenon lamp’s spectrum is closest to natural light and it can provide better color than other light sources.

One advantage of xenon lamps over other aforementioned lamps is that they can be switched on and off at will, which is something that was not possible with previous projector bulbs. From the point of view of technology application, xenon lamp is a very promising light source. With the progress and maturity of xenon lamp technology, it will be widely used in various projectors.

Xenon lampHigh Brightness
Long Lamp Life
Better Color
Unlimited Switch
High Cost

To conclude, UHE lamps have better overall performance in view of their brightness, technique maturity, and market popularity.

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