I too have the Optoma HD72, and I purchased it a little over 2 1/2 years ago. First, let me say that I absolutely loved this projector. Both me and my wife have enjoyed the heck out of it until one day....
Two months after my two year warranty was up, I got the same thing that many others in this thread have described. The projector would power on, I would have a picture for about a minute, and then the bulb would cut off but the projector would stay on. After screwing with it several times, I finally go on the message boards and started reading. I tried all the little tricks that others did trying to get it to work - nothing did. I have 1,200 hours on my lamp so needless to say I'm not convinced it's my lamp as I've heard that when they go, they go...it's obvious and they won't power back on. So, the only thing that makes sense (per what I've read) is that lamp driver is faulty.
So, I call up Optoma support and get routed to the non-warranty department and ask how much to have my HD72 fixed and what they think the problem may be. I'm told that it sounds like it's the lamp driver which was in line with what I had read, and that the estimated cost of the part + service was in the neighborhood of $350. I am told this on 12/03/2008. Now, in my head, I'm doing the math...there are other, NEWER, 720p projectors on the market now with newer technology with a NEW lamp and a NEW warranty for $800. So there's no way I'm plunking down $350 to have my 2 year old projector repaired for more than 1/3 the price of a new one. So I then ask how much for the part...I'm told that it will be roughly $150 shipped. To me, that's on the line of about what I'd be willing to sink in the projector - so I bite. I give them all my information, place the order and am told that it should arrive in about 7 business days. So I'm irritated, but excited nonetheless...
Two weeks go by and I hear/see nothing. I call, am told that they are out of stock and it's on back-order. Ok, when's a new shipment coming in? Blah blah blah...this goes on for over FOUR months. I'm not joking. I have a string of emails dating back to Dec 03, 2008 from where I placed the order and just want a part sent to me. Finally, in February 2009, I'm told that they should be getting a shipment (after I call them, mind you - I was never once contacted by them) in march sometime. At this point I'm more or less curious as to whether I will ever see the part or not. I mean, you can't buy the part anywhere else, and seemingly they don't want my money...it was literally one of the oddest situations I've ever experienced in customer service. I wasn't sending my projector in for "free" warranty work - I was actually trying to pay them to get a part.
Anyways, on with the story. So, literally 30+ attempts to check on the status of my order, and finally, around March 28th or 29th, 2009, I call up again just to humor myself, and I give the representative my order number and she tells me the part's shipped! Honestly, I don't believe her...I mean, it's been five months since I placed the order!!! ALMOST HALF A YEAR!!! Well, low and behold, the part arrived yesterday April 2nd and I almost had a heart attack.
All that being said, I get home from work and my wife decides to go in and open up the projector and start digging around in it to find the lamp driver. I join her and within 15 minutes we've taken it apart, replaced the lamp driver and put it all back together. Five minutes later, we have it plugged up, and it's working like new. So, in the end, the lamp driver was most definitely the problem - it had nothing to do with the lamp itself.
Now, I have several frustrations (as you've probably determined by the book I'm writing here)...
1. 5 months to ship me a part - UNREAL - and believe it or not, I never blew up on anyone...they were the only people who had the part, so being a a-hole would have gotten me nowhere
2. Why did I have to contact them every time? No feedback unless initiated by me
3. They were going to charge me $200 for what would have taken their technician less than 5 minutes because they are familiar with the innards of the projector - I'm convinced I could do it in 10 minutes blind-folded now
4. I was charged $25 to ground ship a part that weighs less than half a pound - what kind of crap is that?!
Optoma had THE WORST customer service I've ever experienced in my life. I'm not a person who complains about much, but I would really like to warn anyone out there who's planning on purchasing a projector...
DO NOT BUY OPTOMA
The worst part for me is, I really love the projector itself...when it works, it's a beautiful thing, and I have no doubt that optoma has produced even better projectors since the HD72. But, the customer service, or rather, the lack of customer service I received will have me looking towards Epson (due to their exceptional reputation for customer service), Panasonic, or Mitsubishi at this point. You can believe that the next time I make a purchase like this I will be reading reviews of the companies as well as the products they make.