It's obvious that people's experience and opinions about reliability, quality, and manufacturer commitment relies heavily on the competence and attitude of the local service organization.
I've been purchasing "high-tech" consumer electronics for at least 40 years, especially in the audio/video end of things, usually when they "first come out" (and paying way too much compared to what I would have if I had waited).
As I've gotten older, wiser (and poorer), I've learned to "wait a bit" till the price starts to come down and the new technology gets a chance to settle a bit.
I bought my Samsung 6163 DLP at the end of the model run (October, 2005), "Last one" at Sam's Club, "used in a promotion for 1 week" and put away in the wharehouse", for about $1800 less than my son had paid for the same set at Circuit City 10 months earlier...
My "Samsung experience" has been absolutely the best I can recall (both with the manufacturer and the local service organization) in over 40 years.
I've never encountered a manufacturer more dedicated to customer satisfaction and perfection in their products.
After about a month of service, I experienced a minor, sporadic series of incidents when the TV would suddenly "turn itself off" for no apparent reason (I at first wrote it off to my rural location and constant fluctuation in the grid voltages).
After a half-dozen episodes, I called the Samsung toll-free service # about my "problem". They made an appointment for me on the spot with a local service agency (about 70 miles away) in the Metro St Louis area.
I received a phone call later that day, answered a few questions, and was told that they had a good idea what the problem might be; would order parts and get back to me.
Two days later got another call setting an appointment the following day...
I was a bit shocked when the service guy showed up with a mini-van crammed full of Samsung "Next-day-air" boxes and cartons, and proceeded to make four trips to my family room while I held the door, carrying those boxes in.
The guy explained that my problem could arise from one of two possible issues, and that Samsung, rather than "take a chance" on a callback, has authorized replacing everything inside my set with new, upgraded components. (over $3500 in parts at retail)
He replaced almost everything in the set except the speakers and screen; installed new firmware, and spent another 25 minutes tweaking and perfecting settings that were beyond my comprehension.
...even got a new projection lamp.
The set has performed flawlessly ever since with picture quality equal to anything I've seen and superior to most... ...I've since "sold" at least 5 sets for Samsung to folks that have visited my home and gone "on and on" over the picture quality compared to other HDTV sets they've seen.
Has one little issue a year later, that I'd never noticed before, since my set's in a home-theater arrangement and utilized only as a monitor through the DVI VGA and HDMI inputs from a settop box and a $4500 Windows Media Center computer used to record and time-shift full-quality HD programming.
The set is somewhat "abused", since I tend to leave it on, often 24 hours a day, almost like a night light. (I'd hate to extimate the hours on the "original" projection bulb, but it would be significant over the last 21 months of near-constant use)
Back to the second service incident...
I'd never used the speakers in the set, since all sound is outputted directly to the video control amplifier via optical cables from the computer and/or STB.
I had sporadically attempted to use the speakers via the a/v inputs to play movie with someone else's video camera (rather than download the video to the computer first as is the practice with my own videos). It usually "didn't work", but I never took the time to investigate since it was easier to just plug the camera into my intigrated vcr and play that way.
It took me a year to take the time to call Samsung customer service to get help with possible settings necessary to jack an accessory directly into the set to play analog sound and video... ...quickly found that "I needed a service call"...
My set was now 15 months past the warantee (one day past) (Samsung had automatically extended the warrantee by 90 days when I registered the warrantee on their website.
I was lamenting the fact that I had waited until the warantee ran out to find out that there was a problem; it was my own fault; but mentioned that the problem had existed for some time... ..."no problem" said he... ...said he couldn't guarantee it, but he was sure that Samsung sould extend the warrantee to cover that repair, all he had to do was explain and submit a request...
...called back two days later to tell me that they had extended the warrantee for another 40 days and placed a service request... ...got another call the next day from the same service company in St Louis that had performed so well over a year earlier. ...same procedure: they had ordered parts to fix whatever it might be and would call me back...
Two days, more next-day-air, another visit with more boxes...
The rep took the back off and immediately found a unplugged wire to the sound amplifier that he evidently forgot to re-plug when changing all the other parts (and never noticed in his checkout since the sound came from other sources to my amplifier).
Instant fix! ...not Samsung's fault... ...he then proceeded to check out every other function, noticed the inside of my projection screen had accumulated significant dust (one of the consequences of living in the country near a gravel road), and cleaned it.
...amazing improvement in brightness; something I hadn't noticed due to constant watching and slow deteriation.
Bottom line, Samsung's customer service has been amazing; the company's commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction has been unlike any I have ever experienced; the quality and service of the set has been "above and beyond" what I could ask...
...and my "local" authorised service provider (Schneider TV in north St Louis County) has been responsive and fantastic!.
My set is still performing well with probably over 11,000 hours on the projection bulb!
I'm so sold on Samsung after my experience with my TV that I've bough a number of other Samsung products without hesitation since, including two printers, two LCD computer monitors, a couple of hard-drives and a cellphone... ...I've yet to be disappointed.
If anyone's been able to struggle through this long and enthusiastic post, and is still with me
All this reminds me that it's surely time to buy a bulb...
Does anyone have a source that they could recommend for this not-insignificant purchase?