When to Replace a Bulb in a Rear Projection TV


Rear projection television sets use a large light lamp that is placed behind the screen to light up the screen and the images on the screen. Some rear projection TVs, depending on the size, may have more than one bulb in the rear of the unit. Over time and with use these large bulbs begin to lose their brightness and eventually burn out completely.

Time Frame

  • The average bulb in a rear projection TV lamp will last around 5,000 to 8,000 hours. This lifespan measurement in hours is based on the number of hours that the TV is turned on and in use. For example, if the average household watches 4 hours of TV a day, that is 28 hours a week of use. The bulb in this example would last between just under 3.5 years to 5.5 years.


  • You can also look for the effects of a bulb that is burned out or nearing the end of its usable life. When you turn on your television, you may experience a normal warm up period. During this brief period the display may appear dim and gradually get brighter before reaching its maximum brightness based.

    A bulb that is nearing the end of its lifespan may not reach the maximum brightness and the display may seem dull or dim. If the TV uses multiple lamps, one side of the screen may be dimmer than the other due to the lamp on that side wearing out.

Burned Out

  • A bulb that is completely burned out will cause the screen to stay completely dark, with multiple lamp TVs, one area of the screen may be extremely dim if the bulb in that area is blown out.


  • User preferences vary when it comes to using a rear projection TV. Bulbs that are becoming dim due to thousands of hours of usage may not affect the viewing experience as much for some users as it does for others. If you do not usually keep your TV brightness settings high, a dying bulb causing dimness may not be an issue right away.

Extending Lifespan

  • You can take steps to further extend the lifespan of a light bulb in a rear projection TV to get the most hours of use out of the bulbs. You can lower the brightness settings on the television which eases the lighting burden placed on the bulbs.

    You should also clean out the TV's air filters or air vents on a regular basis (per the TV's user manual) to keep the internal areas of the TV cool and clean. Heat can reduce light bulb lifespans, so you should keep the vents clean and keep the TV in a cooler room without direct light hitting the TV.

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