Why do we need a new projector anyway?

November 8th, 2007 · No Comments

A reasonable number of years ago, back in what seems like the stone ages now, we bought a Sony HS-10 when it first came out. At 1376 x 768 resolution, it was a total bargain for the time at just over $3000 out the door. The picture was stunning for us — compared to our 10 year old, 32″ conventional tube TV with an STV resolution of 640×480, we were completely blown away by our 120″ diagonal picture projected onto an off-white wall. There are just no words to describe the jump to having a full movie theater in our own home! (BTW, 120″ diagonal is 104.59″ wide and 58.83″ high.)

The picture was so engrossing that we never finished our media room. Every time the opportunity came up we rationalized that it was much better to actually use the projector to watch a movie since we had spent so much. Of course, outwardly we were telling everyone we knew how cheap the projector was compared to the big, black-box, rear-projection TVs of the time. And how much bigger the picture was, etc. etc.

Anyway, my point is we have gone through at least 4 bulbs by now. Over those 4 years, we learned about the decaying blue and green polarizers — a minor repair item but they definitely effected the picture as they decayed. Apparently organic molecules don’t hold up well to the continuous heat and light required to illuminate 6,153 square inches of wall or screen. Who knew?

We also learned about keeping dust out of the light path of a projector — a can of compressed air works wonders here. Especially when compared to trying to rub delicate lenses and panels and whatnot.

Back to the point of this post. Eventually our HS-10 started showing the wonderful fractal pattern of a bad optical block. Apparently the crystal structure starts to break down as the layers separate or some such? We found out that this exact same optical block part, down to the manufacturer part number!, is used in Sony TV’s of the same period. Except that there, the manufacturing defect that led to premature failure of many of those TV’s in the EXACT same way as our projector, was covered by a free replacement even if the warranty had expired. No such luck for those of us who put our faith into Sony projectors. In fact, the cost to replace it is, based on estimates from what other people have paid, over $1,000. For that, we could easily buy a new projector with an improved feature set!

As documented below, we decided to go with a Panasonic this time. Hopefully our experience will be better with them. 🙂

Tags: Home Theater

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