By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –Follow on Facebook & X.
Former editor of 4 TV magazines. Author of TV Dot Com.

TV Answer Man, I’ve had a Home Theater with a projector for about a year now. My question is do you know how long a projector lamp is supposed to last? Do you need to replace it every year? — Barron, San Francisco.

Barron, generally speaking, a projector lamp should last between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of viewing. Of course, that number can vary. Like any kind of bulb, it might go dead in fewer hours than that, or it could last even longer. But if you buy a brand-name bulb that’s compatible with your projector, you should get at least 2,000 hours of viewing.

Now, how long is that in real-time?

How Many Hours Will a TV Projector Lamp Last?

To use myself as an example, I once had a Sony VW60 Home Theater Projector, which has a Sony VW60 bulb, for nine years, and I watched it quite a bit. I used my projector for more than 2,200 hours before I needed a new bulb. (You can usually set your projector at installment to count the number of viewing hours so you have an idea of when a replacement will be needed.) So if you watched TV two hours a day on average, you should get at least 1,000 days plus before you need a replacement.

How Can You Expand the Projector’s Life?

Two more tips: Most Home Theater projectors will allow you to set them at Full Power or on Economy. If you set the projector on Economy, the bulb will last longer, but you might not like the picture as well.

Plus, if you set your projector’s picture mode at Vivid or Dynamic, it will burn the bulb faster than if you set it at Cinema or Standard. Vivid or Dynamic will deliver a brighter picture (which not everyone prefers) but it might mean changing the bulb a few hundred hours earlier.

Finally, a replacement bulb for a Home Theater projector will likely set you back around $200-300.

Barron, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than three decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television. See the bio for Phillip Swann here.