The Life of Rear Projection TV Bulbs


Rear projection TVs are large television sets with one or more lamps placed behind the screen to light up the images viewed on the television screen. Like all light bulbs, the bulbs in these lamps lose brightness and burn out over time and need to be replaced. The lifespan of these bulbs can vary depending on a number of factors.

Time Frame

  • The usable lifespan of bulbs is generally measured in hours. In the case of rear projection bulbs, this lifespan ranges from 5,000 hours upwards to 8,000 hours. Higher end televisions may use bulbs that reach the upper range of this lifespan, according to

    The number of years of a bulb's lifespan is in part dependent on the number of hours that the TV is on and in use. If a household average five hours of television a day, seven days a week that is 35 hours of use per week or a little more than 1,800 hours a year. This means the average lifespan will be just over 2.5 years up to around 4.3 years depending on the quality of the bulb.


  • The lifespan of these bulbs is important because as they near the end of their lifespan, the viewing quality of the TV will change. As the bulbs begin to die, the brightness of the screen will become dimmer and eventually the screen will fail to light up at all.


  • The cost of rear projection light bulbs can range between $150 to $300 depending on the make and model of the TV. Also TVs that use multiple lamps will require multiple bulbs. Replacement bulbs should be purchased from the same place that the TV was purchased and should be the same as the original bulbs for best results.

Extending Life

  • You can attempt to extend the usable life of these bulbs by doing the following things. The first thing to do would be to adjust the brightness setting on the television itself. According to the Rear Projection TV Guide website, some TVs by default are set to the maximum setting. Adjusting the setting down can reduce the demands placed on the bulbs. Turn off the TV when not in use as well.

    Also keeping the air filters and vents of the TV clean and clear can keep the inside of the TV cool, extending life of the bulbs. Heat can damage the bulbs and reduce their lifespan. The TV should be placed in a relatively cool room out of direct sunlight.

Signs Indicating Replacement

  • Due to the high price of replacement bulbs it is important to replace the bulb when needed and not too soon. Screens that appear dim or have portions of darkness on the screen indicate a bulb nearing the end of it's life. For some people a dimmer screen will not affect viewing while it may bother others. A screen that fails to light up or flickers indicates that the bulb is dead or extremely close to burning out.


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