I have a 4 year old Panasonic AE1000u with 6100 hours. My bulb was significantly dimming and I have been considering an upgrade. So I borrowed a friends fairly new Epson 8350 (99 hours) and was blown away by how much better everything looked.
But then I got a new Bulb for the AE1000u and I find that I actually prefer its picture to that of the 8350. It is like a new projector with the new bulb. And at this point I can see very little reason to consider an upgrade.
The 8350 still holds an advantage in shear lumens in living room and dynamic modes, but in cinema mode, the 4 year old AE1000 is holding it's own.