CRT projection guns have a half-life of 15,000-20,000 hours if I recall correctly (6-8 years based on running 6 hours a day). Of course, that's the point at which they reach half their original brightness. A lot of people would probably replace them before then.
Until this year, my parents were still using a 1988 Mits RPTV that I gave them. 17 years old ... but it was really reaching the end of its life. The blooming point had dropped from 90% contrast down to 25%. They always watched at 20% contrast.
It can last a good long time ... but it can't last forever.
That's funny - my parents were also using a Mitsu RPTV - I believe it was the 40" 1987 model. It was definitely past the MTHB point and was in sore need of alignment. They were watching at around 90% contrast/brightness, and there definitely was some blooming.
So I found a great deal on a 46" Sammy HLP set ($1500) and went in on it with my siblings as a father's day present. My parents are thrilled! Especially when it freed up so much space in the room, and weighed about 200 pounds less...
I have a Fisher 40" that is 19 years old and still has a great picture. I replaced it with a Mits 65813. My kids are still using it for video gaming. I hada repair done about 4 years ago (a power supply). The repair guy said it was still one of the best pictures he had seen.
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