LG's new LED-based video projector is about to hit the market, and the review is now posted...
This is another new LED unit touting a 30,000 hour light source, in essence doing away with the concept of a replacement lamp. It is a solid projector and a great value for those planning to put many thousands of hours on their projector. For all the details on this new projector, see Bill's review of the LG PF85U.
There is strong enthusiasm in the marketplace for LED light sources due in part to their anticipated longevity. The downside continues to be light output; they are not as bright as high pressure lamps. LEDs are getting brighter than they use to be for sure, as projectors like the LG PF85U demonstrate. But at the same time, the anticipated life of conventional lamps has risen over time, from 2000 hours up to 3,000 or 4,000 in many cases. And most high pressure lamps are not quite as pricey as they used to be.
So the wise buyer will keep this in perspective. When considering any projector, anticipate what your typical weekly or monthly viewing time will be, and estimate when you'd have to replace the lamp. Be sure to keep in mind that high pressure lamps are expected to degrade to 50% of the initial light output by the time they hit their expiration date. The fading is so gradual that most people don't notice it until they replace the lamp. But those who are interested in keeping their projectors operating at close to full lumen potential will plan to replace lamps half way into their life cycle -- a 4,000 hour lamp would be replaced at 2,000 hours for example.
Once you have determined how frequently you will need to change the lamp on any conventional projector you are considering, you can factor in lamp price and calculate the total cost of ownership over the life of the projector. With that number handy, you can then decide whether the cost of the LED alternative is worth the reduced light output that it will probably generate. For some people, the LED route will be a very attractive alternative, and for others it won't. It will depend primarily on the desired screen size/gain, ambient light situation, the number of hours per week you will be using the system, and beyond all of that, your personal preference on just how bright a picture you want.