At the bottom of our review on the Epson Home Cinema 8100 there are an unusual number of user comments expressing frustration with premature lamp failure. This is unusual for two reasons...
First, Epson has quite a few 1080p models out using the exact same lamp and cooling system, but only users of the Home Cinema 8100 appear to be reporting a problem. Second, the Epson dealers I’ve been in contact with say there are no unusually high order rates for replacement lamps on the 8100. As far as Epson dealers are concerned, there is no problem that they are aware of.
So what is happening here? My suspicion is that two factors are at work. The 8100 is the lowest priced 1080p model on the market that has a 2x zoom lens and lens shift. The low price makes it a popular model that sells in high volume, and the 2x zoom lens with lens shift means that it is frequently installed in bookcases. After all, people buying inexpensive 1080p projectors typically do not want the cost and bother of ceiling mounting if they can avoid it.
Accordingly, I suspect some small percentage of 8100 users are installing it in bookcases with restricted heat dissipation, thereby causing internal operating temperatures to rise. Projectors need not only unimpeded airflow from intake and exhaust vents, but sufficient clearance around the projector to allow radiant heat from the casework to dissipate. If installed in too tight a space, your projector will run hotter than normal, and you will cook the lamp, plain and simple. This is true of all projectors with high pressure lamps.
Since there are many thousands of 8100 users, it would not be surprising to discover that a small percentage of those users are installing their projectors in less than desirable conditions as far as cooling and heat dissipation are concerned. And complaints posted on a website such as ours, from a small fraction of a very large user base, are enough to create the impression of a problem with the product.
I have spoken to Epson about this situation. They have looked into it and, like the dealers I talked to, they say they have not discovered any aberrant issues. Nevertheless, Epson wants to ensure customers that it stands behind its products. Therefore, Epson’s spokesperson has informed me that if you experience any problem with premature lamp failure on any Epson 1080p projector, you may return the lamp for a replacement lamp anytime during the life of the projector’s warranty. Yes, you read that right—premature lamp failure on any Epson 1080p projector will be covered for the entire duration of the projector’s warranty, not the lamp’s warranty.
If you encounter an early lamp failure on any Epson 1080p model, Epson asks that you contact them directly at 800-637-7661 (use your PIN on PrivateLine Support Card).
In my view, this is a remarkably aggressive response on Epson’s part. To my knowledge, no other vendor offers this type of support when it comes to lamp performance. Hopefully it will put any concerns to rest on the part of those thinking of buying Epson 1080p home theater models.