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Best Projector (or brand) for Bulb Length

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi gang.

I realize it's hard to ask a "simple" question around here, but I'm really trying to keep this one as basic as I can.

I bought an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8100 back in February or 2010. Absolutely, positively loved it. The picture was outstanding, my blu-ray movies and HD tv were the best I have ever seen.

Then, of course, the dreaded dim bulb after less than a year of use. :-(

Did a lot of research and found this was starting to happen to anyone with an Epson using these same types of bulbs. Epson customer service is top notch, seriously probably the best I have seen. They overnight shipped me a new bulb free of charge, and told me it was warrantied for the rest of my projector warranty. They also told me they thought they found a problem with the company they were using to manufacture the bulbs. Great!

Well here I am 15 months after the replacement and it's about to go out again. 1100 hours. I'm 2 months out of warranty, but again Epson knocks me out with their customer service and sends me one last bulb. Love it.

While I love the support, I'm still highly skeptical that this bulb will last me anywhere close to the 4k life that pushed me into buying this projector. I would rather NOT spend 300 bucks a year to watch my projector.

So, I was wondering if you guys could recommend a projector that can at least squeeze (on average) 2500 - 3000 life out of it's bulbs. If not, maybe a brand you trust?
post #2 of 14
I have a 5 year old Mitsubishi HD-1000U. Over 2500 hours and no sign of dimming at all. Not sure if they still get similar life, but I just took it down and went plasma, so I'll never know how long it might have lasted.

Look into Mits.
post #3 of 14
You should know that bulbs can fail at ANY time, regardless of stated life. Lamp life is a crap shoot. This is applies to ALL makes/models.

Second, all bulbs dim as they age. The change is so gradual that most do not notice it until the bulb is replaced then they wonder why they waited so long after seeing the real world difference.

And they do not age the same. I can tell you about 2 projectors I installed in a location that were side by side. They were new and both run at the same time. After about 500 hours of use, there was a significant difference between the two images.

By the time the bulb reaches EOL, assuming it lasts that long, many fail early, it will have lost at least 75% of its rated output.

Selecting a projector because the mfr claims 4000 hours on the lamp is pointless if the image is too dim to use after 2000 hours. Not saying it WILL be, but it can and does happen. There are many that get the hours advertised, but these forums are full of reports from those that didn't.

More than a few of us recommend budgeting for a new lamp at 1000 hours, regardless of advertised numbers as you do not know when the bulb will fail.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Sheridan thanks for the response (you too, bhoier).

I certainly appreciate the information on bulbs and their inconsistency. I can understand that and figured a bulb is a bulb. However, I have to say that spending 300+ dollars on a particular bulb should certainly come with a little more assurance than a GE 60W bulb I place in my lamp. Maybe I have too high expectations. :-D

I will say though, that the single greatest concern that kept me away from pursuing a projector was the bulb life. Without a doubt. I had friends that had projectors and went through all sorts of techniques to extend the life of their bulbs. Some had TVs behind a screen that could be stored away, and they watched TV on a plasma and movies on the big screen. That made sense, but definitely did not appeal to me. I wanted to be able to watch sports, TV, movies, video games, etc.

So maybe I'm just a sucker and Epson threw out good bait to hook me. When I saw "Bulb life up to 4000 hours" it certainly pulled me in. I figured, on average, I would use my projector about 850 - 1000 hours a year. So even if I was skeptical and expected HALF of the advertised rating (2k hours) I would be looking to replace my bulb every 2 years. I thought I could live with that and took the plunge.

Like I said I love, love, love my projector. I was so happy I made the move. However, when I'm told 4k and I get less than 1k in the first bulb and about 1100 in the second one, well, I think that's a bit of a problem. Maybe I'm being too picky and I need to reconsider the entire projector investment.

At any rate, I would appreciate further feedback from people like bhoier that have used projectors that give them much better bulb life. If this next bulb goes out in less than 2k hours I will definitely be looking long and hard about changing brands or getting away from projectors if I can't have much more of a guarantee than what Sheridan provided above.
post #5 of 14
There is another option, but you will have to give up some PQ compared to your Epson. The new laser hybrid projectors are really becoing popular and they tout a 20K+ lamp life. There are a few around which are said to be decent for HT. Notably the CRE X1000 model that is in constant discussion here in this under 3K forum. There is also a BenQ 720p and a ton of Casio models. Although, from what I have heard the Casio models simply cannot do skin tones correctly as they are only using 16.7 million colours. Look into them if you want long lamp life. Otherwise, like a previous poster siad, it is a bit of a crapshoot. I have a dell which was supposed to be about 2K hours and it has over 10K hours on it and is still used daily by my family in the living room as a tv after 10years. Who knew?
post #6 of 14
I considered stated bulb life/price when looking for a new pj, but as others have said sometimes it's a crap shoot. I've had some bulbs on my older HS20, (kept over 6yrs) that were still watchable past 2500 hrs, and one that exploded at less than 1500 and was going dim before that.

Try to limit the power cycles to the bulb and keep the filters clean when required so they don't get hot. Clean enviroments help, smoking can be very bad for 'em. If required for high altitude, make sure it's run in that mode. Cheap bulbs are usually not worth the bit of cash you save.

Sometimes a manfacturer may get a bad batch too, Like the recent JVC bulbs that lots of people had problems and I think caused JVC to get a new supplier? Lets hope you have better luck with this one.
post #7 of 14
the cre isnt a hybrid-its just led/lcd and there only a handfull who own them and half seem to be un happy(theres a thread).only the casio hybrid are out and they use 2 total different techs for color,the upcoming optoma and viewsonic will be doing color like the casio pro, sig and short models and the benq is just blue laser thru a color wheel and is not a hybred.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been reading up on the Mitsubishi 4000 (thanks again bhoier), and it sounds like people that have had this for awhile are verifying the long lamp life (3.5k - 5k).

I think if I end up replacing this Epson I may go with that projector.

Kind of a dumb question for you guys. My Epson 8100 has a lens shift functionality to it, meaning the projector didn't have to be mounted perfectly, I was able to adjust. Do all projectors have this? My concern is the Mitsubishi might not transition into the same spot I have the Epson mounted on my celing if I can't use lens shift, right? Will I have to be more precise when hanging the 4000?

Thanks again for all the great responses!
post #9 of 14

"No lens shift for the Mitsubishi HC4000 (checkout the manufacturer), but that's hardly a surprise for an entry level 1080p DLP projector. The lens offset is significant, though not as great as a lot of DLP home theater projectors over the years. For the usual 100" diagonal, 16:9 screen, the center of the lens needs to be 16.53 inches above the top of the scren surface, or, if on a table or low shelf, 16.53 inches below the bottom of the screen surface.

With that much lens offset, a number of folks will find they can't use this projector with larger screens (110" diagonal and larger) in rooms with 8 foot or lower ceilings, or at the least, it will be a close thing.

Consider: 8 foot ceiling, 120 inch diagonal screen: Assume the projector is mounted very close to the ceiling, with a drop of 10 inches from ceiling to center of lens. Then, for the 120" screen, the lens offset is just less than 20 inches. The screen height is about 59 inches. Bottom line: 96 inches (ceiling) - 10, -20, -59 = 7 inches - the bottom of the screen would be just over 7 inches off the floor. That much offset is handy for placing a projector on a table below screen height, but is a challenge in those lower height ceilings."
post #10 of 14
I had the mits HC6500 and HC6800 I'll agree with the others Mits projectors have a great track record for bulb life. 4000 / 5000 hrs
post #11 of 14
I own several Mitsu's. My hc3000 has been a solid unit. Japanese built and zero issues since 2007. My new chinese built h4000 units (I have two) have worked great and produced very nice picture quality. However, one started to dim significantly after 500 hours and continued to dim as time went on. It is around 1700 hours now and the picture is crappy. It needs a bulb replacement per Mitsu. So much for the 5000 hours life rating of the bulb. I would of been happy if I got just 3000 of the 5000 hour rating.

The second unit I have has just hit the 500 hour mark and has dimmed, however, not as much as my other unit, hopefully it does not continue to go darker over the next few hundred hours.

A mitsubishi employee told me that it looks as if new projectors will not be made in china anymore. For those of you who notice issues, have your unit checked by Mitsu, their warranty covers the bulb for 1 year or 500 hours only. They could care less if you are at say a 1000 hours, even though they claim a 5000 hour life on low. They quoted me $400 to replace the bulb-absurd.

I was disappointed with their handling of my situation and will never return to them for my future projector purchases, ever again.

Good luck.
post #12 of 14
Well, 1700 is actually pretty decent for a bulb for a projector that isn't real bright. Since the bulb never busted, that isn't bad.
I agree though the hc4000 is better for smaller screens or gain, because after lamp wear you will need more gain.

I disagree that it is a reason never to buy another Mits, although the lamps are a tad expensive compared to some if you are a heavy user. For more economical users, the Viewsonic Pro8200 is birghter and I think the bulbs are a tad cheaper, lamps probably last longer since it is so bright.

Bulb lifes are general guidelines, most bulbs do not maintain brightness after 2000 hours in reality, unless you start with the projector much brighter than normal on a small screen.
post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by pok3rpl8yer View Post

There is another option, but you will have to give up some PQ compared to your Epson. The new laser hybrid projectors are really becoing popular and they tout a 20K+ lamp life.

It's interesting that engineers can throw out numbers like this since in real time this equates to running the lamp steady for around 2 1/4 years which obviously no testing facility has ever done.
post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

It's interesting that engineers can throw out numbers like this since in real time this equates to running the lamp steady for around 2 1/4 years which obviously no testing facility has ever done.

the diodes they are using are of known usage tho,some have been running for years .
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