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EU rings the death knell for bulb projectors

13 Feb 2024 | Rasmus Larsen |

The good old projector with replaceable bulbs may no longer be produced in or imported to EU countries starting in 2026. The European Union's new law will also affect the sale of replaceable bulbs.

If you are considering buying a new or used projector with a replaceable UHP (Ultra High-Performance) bulb, you might want to reconsider.

EU Regulation 2023/2049, amending 2017/852, will automatically come into effect in all EU countries on January 1, 2026, making it illegal to produce and import additional mercury-containing products. From 2026 onwards, this includes light bulbs and projector bulbs (UHP), as reported by journalist Michael Rehders on

Mercury, even in small quantities, is classified by the EU as hazardous to humans, which is why the EU has gradually banned mercury-based products since 2005.

Affects replaceable projector bulbs too

Not only will the sale of new lamp-based projectors be affected, but replaceable bulbs for existing projectors will also be prohibited from production and importation to EU countries after 2026. A UHP bulb typically lasts 2000-4000 hours under normal use, so they need to be replaced regularly during the projector's lifespan. UHP bulbs are typically associated with DLP projectors but can also be used in, for example, LCD projectors.

DLP projector

EU's new law will affect DLP projectors which are still offered by several manufacturers. Photo: BenQ

Retailers will still be able to sell from existing stocks after 2026, but the changes will likely impact production in the lead-up period, so it might be a good idea to check retailers' inventory regularly this year if you own one of the affected projectors. Michael Rehders has been in contact with manufacturers and they expect the regulation to take effect without exceptions. They currently have no plans to offer alternative bulbs without mercury for the affected older projector types.


The European Union's new law aims to replace old bulbs in homes with alternatives such as LED (Light Emitting Diodes). Newer types of projectors with LED and laser technology can therefore still be imported and sold, including 'short throw' projectors (UST). Alternatively, you may consider investing in one of the increasingly affordable 98-inch 4K LCD TVs. Later this year, the first 110-inch and 115-inch 4K models will launch in Europe. If you watch movies alone, you could also explore solutions such as the Apple Vision Pro headset. It comes with a built-in home cinema app that supports 2D and 3D movies on a large 100-feet virtual screen. - Source: Rehders, EU (2)

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