Well…thankfully, we’ve got the answer 🙂
Just a brief refresher for some who might not know why finding this lamp is such a big deal.
Typical Rear Projection TVs, often referred to by their particular technology name such as DLP, LCOS, Projection LCD, D-ILA, etc., etc. are almost always using a set voltage standard for lamp ignition (also known as striking).
This standard has always been 15,000 Volts, hence 15Kv. At the onset of UHP and RPTV technology sometime in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a few TV manufacturer’s decided to take a different direction to the norm…or at least the norm we’re accustomed to today. Manufacturer’s like Samsung, Hitachi, JVC, RCA, Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Mitsubishi, Sharp, etc., etc., all decided to go with the industry standard of 15Kv ingition lamps. A few other manufacturer’s like Sagem Axium, Optoma, LG, and Zenith originally went with the 5Kv setup. Back in the day, before the advent of big screen LCDs and Plasma technology, it wasn’t unreasonable to spend $400-$500 when came time to replace your TV lamp. It was understood…for having the big screen experience of the theater in your home, it was going to cost you!
Well, that’s all fine and dandy…but then something else happened. The original manufacturer’s underestimated the market demand for UHP replacement lamps. There were only two factories in the world with the technology to produce these lamps. These factories were 6 months behind market demand!
Ok…six months and things get better right? Not really…the economics of these replacement lamps (the 5Kv that you can hardly find) didn’t make sense for the lamp manufacture (Philips) at a time when big retailers were putting orders of more than 500,000 pieces each! Naturally, if a manufacturer is sourcing a few thousand lamps for their aftermarket support versus another factory whose requesting a few million lamps for their new production models…guess who’s going to get preference there?!?
Looking back at the 5Kv versus 15Kv standard, those lesser known brands may have actually been visionaries all along. Today, the natural progression of UHP lamps is in front projectors…in schools and hospitals, in government buildings and corporations…there is a lot of demand! For most front projection applications today, original lamps run on the 5Kv ignition standard.