Is it Time to Replace the Lamp in My Old DLP Rear Projector?
Q I have a 56-inch Samsung rear-projection DLP TV that I purchased in 2006. The set is installed in a room with low to medium light, and I sit about 12 to 14 feet away. I have never had any problems with the TV and have yet to replace its lamp. I’m now wondering, though, should I wait for the lamp to die, or replace it? Would a lamp replacement improve the picture? I have a two-year-old 40-inch Samsung LCD in another room that I’ve always admired for its crisp picture, though it looks a bit like a daytime soap opera even with the Movie mode selected.—Brian Pridgen / via e-mail
A Lamp life for most projectors is usually specified in the 2,000-hour range. Keep in mind, though, that such specifications only indicate when you can expect the lamp’s brightness to decrease to 50 percent of its original output. It could take quite a bit longer for the lamp to actually fail. Considering that your TV has been in regular use since you bought it back in 2006, it’s more than likely that the lamp has exceeded its life expectancy, so a replacement would certainly improve the set’s picture by restoring it to its original brightness potential.
You can score a replacement lamp from Samsung’s authorized replacement parts distributor samsungparts.com. There are also plenty of Websites that sell replacement projector lamps, in some cases at a substantial discount. Tread carefully when buying from these, however. First off, make a point of buying the full lamp module (lamp plus housing), and not just the lamp itself, which can be difficult to install. Second, you should also buy an original (OEM) lamp module instead of a “compatible” version, which may not match the original’s light output or life expectancy. Finally, make sure that any module you buy comes with at least a 90-day warranty in case of lamp failure.
I have one last bit of advice based on your comment about your Samsung LCD TV’s picture displaying a “daytime soap opera” effect even in Movie mode. Unfortunately, most picture presets on Samsung’s LCD models apply motion interpolation—the source of the soap opera look—by default. To fix this, simply go into the Picture Options submenu in the TV’s Picture menu and select Auto Motion Plus. From there, you can either choose the Off option or enter the Custom mode and move the Judder Reduction slider to its minimum setting.