Buying a projector? Read this

April 10, 2006

inFocus 777Buying a new high definition video projector can provide you with an immersive home theater experience that’s hard to rival with all but the largest of LCD’s and Plasma’s. There are however a few things to keep in mind with video projectors to ensure that you get the most out of your new investment.

Projector lamps, much like the stylus on a turntable, are designed to wear-out and must be replaced before they exceed their life expectancy. While projectors offer more for the money than ever before, the very component that is responsible for illuminating the screen (the lamp) remains a relatively costly part to replace. The cost of the replacement lamp should be factored into your final decision.

I recently found myself unprepared for just such a replacement. However through a stroke of luck and InFocus’s admirable decision to honor an expired warranty, I managed to squeak by with only paying the shipping cost to send them my projector. I know however next time I won’t be so lucky and I will be purchasing a replacement lamp sooner or later. All of this puts me in the position of recommending something I used to instinctively pass on, buying an extended warranty.

Many video projector manufacturers offer extended lamp-life warranties that are in essence insurance policies for the inevitable. With these warranties you’re paying an up-front fee for your first replacement lamp with considerable savings over one at full retail. As I’ve mentioned before, in the past I was never a big fan of what-if-insurance, but lamps aren’t a matter of what-if as much as when. At the very minimum I suggest finding out what your projector’s manufacturer offers in lamp replacement warranties. It may save you a several hundred dollars in the long run.

While we’re on the subject, another tip I can give you is get that projector on a surge protector! The obvious benefits of lightning damage aside, even small spikes in the line voltage can cause the projectors lamp to arc, significantly reducing its life expectancy. This combined with an occasional cleaning of the air-intake vents on the projector housing and ensuring it has proper ventilation on all sides can significantly improve your projectors lifespan.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Home Theater Projectors