How Long Do LCD TV Lamps Last?

by Michael Garrett

LCD TVs use a liquid crystal display technology to display images on the screen. This involves the use of crystal molecules between glass plates, which then must be backlit by a lamp (or light source) to create the image. Since the crystal does not particularly "wear out," the lifespan of an LCD TV depends on the life of the lamp, which dims over time. How long the lamp last depends on a variety of factors.

Time Spent On

The lifespan of an LCD TV is generally stated in hours, which measures the half-life of the television's lamp. Since LCD TV lamps dim from being run over time, the half-life is essentially the number of hours that the lamp can be run (on average) before the lamp reaches 50 percent of it's original brightness. The average lifespan of most LCD TVs on the market ranges anywhere from 40,000 hours to about 80,000 hours. The lifespan of your particular LCD TV will depend on the brand of your television (different manufacturers use different lamps from various sources), size (larger screens use more power to display a larger image), as well as multiple other factors about your television and its location.

Temperature

Warm temperatures do not mix well with any type of electronics. Temperatures must remain cool in order for circuit boards and other internal components to work efficiently. The warmer those components get, including the lamp in an LCD television, the harder they are working, causing more "wear" over time. For LCD TVs, it is important to consider where you put it. There are vents on the back and sides of LCD television sets to help dispel heat out of the unit. TVs placed atop a stand usually offer enough free air ventilation around the back of the unit for temperature not to be a major problem. Wall-mounted TVs and those placed in entertainment centers, however, are a different story. If you have a wall-mounted television, ensure that there is enough space between the wall and TV, and on the sides of the TV. The less ventilation you provide for your LCD TV, the harder the lamp will be working, limiting your television's lifespan.

TV Contrast Settings

The life expectancy of your LCD TV lamp will also depend on the contrast setting that you set the unit to. Higher contrast levels tend to age the light source quicker, since the lamp is working harder to display the more intense lighting levels. In order to get the most out of your LCD TV, it is best to modify your contrast level according to the conditions under which you are viewing it. This involves the lighting conditions.

Lighting Conditions

The lighting conditions under which you watch you LCD television can alter the viewability of the screen. Under unchanging, standard conditions, you would not have to adjust any television picture settings at all, which would maximize the television's life. In real life and in real homes, however, there are windows that allow varying amounts of light through, as well as different types of artificial lighting giving off different colors and intensities of light. For this reason, the contrast setting becomes very important in adjusting your TV to show the best picture depending on the lighting at the time. To maximize your LCD TV lamp's lifespan, it is best to use slightly higher contrast levels for higher lighting levels, and lower contrast levels when there is less external light, such as low ambient light levels. Some televisions come with preset levels of contrast (such as Dynamic, Standard and Movie), which can also be used to adjust your TV settings quickly.

Considerations

Most LCD TV lamps cannot be replaced by the user. In most cases, the TV must simply be replaced, but manufacturers do offer varying warranties on the television's lamp. Check out the warranty before purchasing an LCD TV, as some manufacturers warranty the lamp separate from the warranty for the rest of the unit. Your general parts and labor warranty could still be in effect, but if the shorter warranty for the lamp has expired, then you may be better off buying a new television. If possible, check for (or ask for) the average lifespan of any LCD TV you may be considering purchasing. And remember that the average for most units will be around 40,000 to 60,000 under "real-life" conditions.

About the Author

Living in Plano, Texas, Michael Garrett has been blogging since 2005 and has been a freelance writer covering electronics and technology since 2007. Garrett is currently a full-time college student, attaining a degree in Graphic Design.