Cheap Dave's Home Theater


Projector Bulbs

I have been pretty clear on this site that I am biased towards projectors for creating the home theater experience. And of course I think they are also a bargain when compared to plasma and large LCD displays. But you have to be aware of the fact that the bulbs have a finite life and that they are expensive.

I have been pretty clear on this site that I am biased towards projectors for creating the home theater experience. And of course I think they are also a bargain when compared to plasma and large LCD displays. But you have to be aware of the fact that the bulbs have a finite life and that they are expensive.

So before buying a projector check on things like the expected bulb life and replacement cost. Most projector bulbs these days last about 2000 hours. And they usually cost in the $300 range. So it is not a minor expense on a projector that costs $1,000-$2,000. So just plan on that. In fact think of it as about $0.10 per hour.

Also the projectors are still improving and the prices are dropping so each time your bulb burns out you need to make the tough decision to replace it or buy a new projector. I figure the first time it should be pretty automatic to replace the bulb but after that the decision will get tougher.

Newer projectors have longer bulb life and low power modes to extend the bulb life. They also may track the hours on the bulb.

So how does Cheap Dave justify spending $300 on a light bulb? so far I have only had to replace one. When I finally got the bulb and opened it up I was impressed. This is not your garden variety light bulb. These bulbs are designed to give very true colors throughout their life. A regular bulb immediately loses brightness so that before long it is half as bright as when it was new. And while the brightness is decreasing the color is not staying the same.

A projector bulb is bright, stays bright and the color true for 95%+ of its life and then it decreases rapidly and fails.

Don't forget that CRT projector and rear projection big screen TVs had three TV tubes and each one of those could fail and they were even more expensive.

So enjoy your projector but be aware that the bulb has a finite life. So it is reasonable to put a limit on your teenagers video game time. (bring this up when you are losing a game)