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Toshiba is investigating reports of premature lamp burn out in many of its DLP HDTVs. Certain customers who have purchased Toshiba's new DLP HDTVs have been reporting lamps burning out after as little as 300 hours of use.

DLP display technology uses a lamp similar to an LCD rear projector. The lamp is a powerful light that illuminates the picture by reflecting off its micro-display chip into lenses presented on your screen as a high definition picture. The lifespan of the lamp is an important point for any potential consumer when thinking about a new HDTV. Since lamp replacement can be an added expense of up to $300 a shot, it's an important consideration when calculating the cost of HDTV. If you're paying to have someone replace the lamp for you the bill can get as high as $500.

The model numbers that have been reported with this problem include:

Toshiba 44HM85
Toshiba 52HM85
Toshiba 62HM85
Toshiba 46HMX85
Toshiba 52HMX85
Toshiba 62HMX85

Most manufacturer's including Toshiba estimate a life expectancy of the lamp to be somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 hours. Toshiba claims 8,000 hours of bulb life for its DLP sets when the brightness is set lower and about 6,000 for sets with the brightness driven higher. In real world application that lifespan is generally somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 hours because the manufacturer's estimate is calculated under optimal conditions. Turning a micro-projection set on and off will hasten the demise of the lamp which has to endure more heat up and cool down cycles. Apparently you'll get a longer life out of your bulb if you did all 8,000 hours of your television viewing in one sitting rather than trying to spread it across months or years.

Reports of the lamp problems were first illuminated on www.digitalhomecanada.com's forums where Toshiba's customers were gathering their complaints prompting feedback from Toshiba. Reports are that Toshiba has been responsive to customer complaints that are coming out of both Canada and the USA.

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