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LCD TV Lifespan:

LCD TV Lifespan:

How Long do LCD TVs Last?

Update: April 2006
Reviewer: Jack Burden

Copyright © 2004 LCDTVBuyingGuide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Much has been made of the longevity of LCD displays, at least compared to plasma monitors. The conventional wisdom is that LCD televisions last longer than their plasma TV counterparts, which is true. The problem is, a lot of people extrapolate from this that either (a) LCD displays last forever or (b) LCD monitors suffer no picture "wear" over time. Neither of these suppositions is correct.

Flat-panel LCD screen displays have a lifespan approaching 60,000 hours. The lifespan of an LCD display is generally longer than that of similar-sized plasma displays. Some manufacturers even claim that their LCDs can last upwards of 80,000 hours when used continuously under controlled conditions (e.g., in a room with "standard" lighting conditions and 77° temperatures throughout). Just how realistic such claims are is debatable. After all, whose living room has no windows and remains at a perfectly comfortable 77 degrees year-round?

In any case, the pictures on LCD displays will show some "wear" because they are generated by powerful lamps, which, like any lighting appliance, will dim over time and with use. The picture you see will dim ever so slightly as the lamp itself dims.

Therefore, the most important thing to consider when it comes to the lifespan of your LCD TV is the actual lifespan of the light source in your LCD. LCD TVs last as long as their lightsources do. So, the lightsource in your LCD monitor is the critical component of your LCD display unit.

The quality of your lightsource is particularly important for maintaining a proper white balance on your TV. As these florescent bulbs age, colors can become unbalanced, which could result in too much red, for example, in your picture. So, it pays to buy name-brand displays. You will definitely pay more for better LCD display brands like Sharp, Toshiba, JVC, or Sony than you will for cheap Chinese or Korean variety knock-offs, but you'll get a backlighting bulb of higher quality and, in the end, a TV whose colors will stay truer longer.

To ensure the integrity of your lightsource for the duration of your LCD display's lifespan, you will definitely want to adjust the CONTRAST setting of your LCD TV. Too high of a CONTRAST level will prematurely age your lightsource because it will have to work harder to maintain such light intensities. Your best bet is to keep your CONTRAST set appropriately for the conditions under which your view your LCD display. Higher light levels require slightly higher CONTRAST levels, while lower ambient light levels demand less CONTRAST.

You will also want to pay attention to the warranty for this particular feature, since it can be shorter than for the display as a whole. This means you might have to buy a whole new LCD monitor because the coverage on its backlight has expired. Moreover, some bulbs can be replaced, while others are built in to the unit itself. You should definitely do some research on the backlighting system, how it's configured, and how it's warranted.

Note: Sharp is currently the only manufacturer that makes LCD displays whose lamps can be changed out. This is definitely something to consider, given that LCD monitors dim as their lightsources do, so being able to replace its lamp will restore your picture to "like new" levels.

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