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Fake Panasonic Projector Bulbs

Be suspicious of Panasonic projector lamps that do not come in genuine Panasonic brand packaging

Panasonic is unique amongst other projector manufacturers when it comes to their projector lamps.  Unlike other projector brands that depend on others, such as Philips, Osram and Ushio to manufacturer their projector lamps; Panasonic manufactures their own. Many, not all, Panasonic projectors have a Matsushita brand bulb inside their lamp module. Matsushita is the parent company or Panasonic. They manufacture bulbs for a majority of Panasonic projectors as well as some other projector manufacturers.

A brief history of Matsushita

Matsushita has been in business for almost 100 years. It was started by Konosuke Matsushita, a prolific Japanese entrepreneur, in 1918 to manufacture lamp sockets. By 1935 it had grown to become a significant manufacturing company.  It benefitted from the boom in manufacturing during world war II. After World War II the company was split into Matsushita Electric Industrial and Matsushita Electric Works. From Matsushita, came the Panasonic brand name in the 1950’s. It was the brand name used to market audio equipment internationally. 

Panasonic has since recombined the Matsushita companies. In 2010 they acquired Sanyo as well. What is the connection with Sanyo? Sanyo is another Japanese company that was started about the same time in Japan by Matsushita’s brother-in-law.

How can you tell if you have a real Panasonic lamp?

Matsushita projector bulbs are marked with a logo that is stylized “M” within a rounded square box, or with the “Panasonic” brand name.  This mark will appear on the reflector of the bulb inside the module. Although many of the lamps are made in Japan, some are made in China as well.

Matsushita Logo

Bottom Line

Unlike Philips and Osram, Matsushita does not supply bare bulbs in the replacement lamp market.  Re-sellers that say that they are supplying lamp modules with the original Panasonic bulb inside are probably getting duped. If the module does not come in genuine Panasonic packaging, it is probably a generic or counterfeit lamp.  There is nothing wrong with a generic lamp if it’s made well. Many of these Panasonic lamp modules have a computer chip built into the module. A lot of the problems that we have seen with generic modules are with the computer chip. They don’t report the hours correctly.

Another issue is cost. If you are buying a straight up generic module you will get the lowest advertised price. If someone represents their module as one that has the original Panasonic bulb inside, they will probably want a premium price. Why pay more if you are going to get a generic bulb?

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