Good news everyone!
Acer USA really doesn't want to be like Acer The Rest of The World, and they try very hard not to honor the 5 year warranty that Texas Instruments advertises for DLP chips.
Turns out, your box most likely has a sticker on it that does in fact advertise a 5 year warranty for the DLP chip:
After multiple chat sessions and phone calls a year ago and getting told I had to pay $200 to get it fixed, I'd given up. Then recently I noticed this sticker on the box, worked my way into the chat support, and sent the picture to them. Yesterday I received it back from free warranty service, good as new. (Had to pay one-way shipping.)
The less-than-good news is that they've really made it practically impossible to talk to their support unless their computer system thinks you've got a valid warranty. I somehow got into chat support by accident through an old link somewhere, which I don't have anymore. If you have any Acer products with a valid warranty, that should be enough to get you into chat support. Make sure to connect on a weekday during Central Time business hours so you can transfer to Level 2 support.
I also got an email asking to fill out a survey on their customer service, and gave them the terrible review they deserve.
The worst news is that I was doing a little window shopping on new projectors and almost nobody offers more than a year or two warranty anymore.
EDIT: I originally purchased the projector in the fall of 2010, and it started losing pixels in spring 2012, barely after the 1-year warranty was up.
Also, sending this link
to the support people might also help, when they realize that you know that they know they were selling defective parts.