How long should I keep replacing my projector lamp?

You know the feeling, the projector lamp image is fading so you log into a replacement lamp and start feeling dizzy when you see the price. The ‘first time buyer’ phoning for a lamp is obvious as they ask to repeat the price. No doubt comparing it with the last time they replaced the bathroom bulb and hoping and expecting something around £10. Although lamp prices are falling it will be long time before lamps reach that price and the double dip recession is not to blame.
The manufacturers ( Epson, Hitachi, Sony ) have always claimed that the housing and intricate components for a projector bulb mean the price is so much higher than a standard bulb and hence not only the price but the use of ‘lamp’ rather than ‘bulb’ terminology to imply it’s far greater complexity! We still sell far more original lamps than copies as consumers compare ‘tried and trusted’ models against copies. The ‘diamond lamp’ option is becoming more popular as customers appreciate that this copy is actually the same bulb but with housing made in Britain. But the bottom line is that they are expensive.
So what do you do? Replace the lamp or replace the projector. Well it’s a tough one and we sell both so I’m not as biased as it might appear. The initial thought is to replace the projector, at let’s say £600, as a better option but you probably need to add a new mount and the throw changes may mean it needs to be located in a different place. You may even need new and longer cabling and new security? This means the price may increase to nearer £800.
But then you also have to remember that despite manufacturers’ claims a new bulb rarely takes the projector back to its original brightness. In fact the more replacements you make the more disappointed the end result. Even if the image is once again bright the projector gets older and the chances of other components failing increase.
For what it’s worth, I would plan on replacing the bulb three or four times if you use the projector a lot before investing in a new model. If your use is infrequent then the advantage of an upgraded modern model might mean replacing it more frequently.