New EU regulations mark the end of lamp-based projectors

Colourful projector beam through smoke
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have a lamp-based projector in your home theatre system, you might want to start saving for a replacement now.

New EU regulations mean the manufacture and sale of the bulbs used in these projectors will become prohibited from 2026, meaning you will no longer be able to buy replacement bulbs, or new projectors containing them. 

As reported by journalist Michael Rehders on his blog and highlighted on flatpanelsHD, this is all part of a clamp down on the production of mercury-containing products, a substance the EU deems to be dangerous to humans. 

It’s a ban that started steadily in 2005, and which has now made its way to lightbulbs, including the bulbs used in Ultra High-Performance (UHP) projector lamps. These are most often associated with DLP projectors, though can be found in other types too.

While many of the best 4K projectors generally now use LED or laser light sources, due to the vastly improved lifespan these options offer, UHP-based projectors are still found in the lineups of several big manufacturers. The five-star BenQ W1800 in our Best Buy list is one of them.

One of the reasons they remain popular is because they provide high brightness at a lower cost, but the downside is the bulbs need replacing every 2,000-4,000 hours in normal modes, compared to the 20,000+ hours you’ll get from the competing technologies.

These regulations will come into effect on 1st January 2026, though retailers will still be able to sell any existing stock from that point. 

However, due to the understandable impact on demand, you can expect that production of these projectors may reduce in the lead-up to the ban starting – including the production of replacement bulbs. If you have one of the affected projectors and don’t fancy forking out for a new one just yet, it might be best to start stocking up on bulbs now.


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Verity Burns

Verity is a freelance technology journalist and former Multimedia Editor at What Hi-Fi?. 

Having chalked up more than 15 years in the industry, she has covered the highs and lows across the breadth of consumer tech, sometimes travelling to the other side of the world to do so. With a specialism in audio and TV, however, it means she's managed to spend a lot of time watching films and listening to music in the name of "work".

You'll occasionally catch her on BBC Radio commenting on the latest tech news stories, and always find her in the living room, tweaking terrible TV settings at parties.