Projector Lamp Life and Brightness
There are exceptions,some projectors trying to pack maximum punch will drive the lamps harder – shorter lives. There are still a number of 2000 hours at full power projector still on the market as 2014 approaches.
This assumes the traditional high pressure mercury lamps used in the vast majority of projectors. There are also very expensive Xenon lamps, used in some high end projectors, and those typically have an even shorter life. Since they are the rare exception in business or home, we’ll not focus on the Xenon lamps here.
Most manufacturers rate their lamp life, not to failure, but to the point where the lamp is half as bright as it was when new.
With that in mind, remember that your projector will be noticeably, but not drastically dimmer as it approaches the end of its rated life. In our reviews, we try to take that into consideration.
How much loss in brightness is 50%? That’s easy, consider any room. Imagine two 100 watt lights each with its own wall switch.
Start with both lights on. Now turn one off. Bingo, there’s your 50% drop. I’ll bet you can imagine that! What that tells you, also, is that if you have some ambient light, if you can half the ambient light by the time your projector lamp is old, you can maintain the same relative brightness between image an room ambient.
It’s not a bad idea is to buy a projector and screen for your room, that when new, you can enjoy watching (brightness wise), with the projector on the low power setting. On most projectors that is 25-35% less bright than full power.
If you do that, as your lamp gets dimmer, kick the projector into full power and while that won’t offset the full 50% drop to end of life, it will make the loss in brightness rather minimal to the eye.