Man, there are a million pros and cons on the DLP vs Plasma vs LCD.
Here are a few thoughts:
LCD - it's like a laptop... if a pixel goes dead, it stays dead unless
they replace it. Picture quality is subjective.
Plasma - Thin... but expensive and with a fixed lifespan that depends on
the quality. A $8500 50 inch panasonic is going to last longer and look
better than a $2900 special no-name at Costco. My guy told me (and he
sells plenty of plasma sets) that after about 8-10 years, you can throw
away the Plasma set because there is nothing slavageable... the screen
just slowly deteriorates (even on the best sets) after say 5 years
whereas the LCD and DLP sets are as good as new once you install a new
bulb (assuming the thing is not hit by lightning!)
DLP - Yes, the bulbs have a lifespan, but the actual lifespan is longer
than you noted. My dealer (a friend also) told me the bulbs should last
about 8000 hours if you use care. There are new DLPs coming out that
are less than 10" thick. How they fold the picture I don't know, but
they've had demo's at consumer electronic shows. They are expensive and
big sets right now... maybe 70"+?
I did a lot of research (maybe 6 months) before buying this particular
set. Samsung was the first DLP, but Mitsubishi leapfrogged them with
newer technology. Even among the various DLP brands... there is a wide
variety of features and picture quality available, and I'll be the first
to admit its a fluid thing. Last November, Mitsubishi clearly had the
best technology out there IMHO. Samsung intro'd a new set shortly
after, but the DLP engine still wasn't up to the Mits engine. And as
far as the bulb goes... it is better to leave these sets on rather than
turn them on and off 20 minutes later. The bulb needs the cool-down
period after it goes off, so if you're smart you get the backup power
supply just in case. Also, the wholesale price of the bulbs is around
$200 or less, so by the time you need one, I suspect you'll be able to
buy one online for near that price.
All I know is that you will not be prepared for the picture quality. I
am amazed everytime I watch a NFL or MLB game... not to mention PBS. If
they start showing TOH in HD... you're gonna'see particles of sawdust
flying around Norm that you never saw before. And you'll see wood grain
and other details that are unreal. You can see the stiching on player's
jerseys with my set. The other thing you should keep in mind is size.
Get the biggest set your room can handle. I almost bought a 52" and I
have a 14+ X 21' family room. Never regretted the 62" once.
Sorry for the rant guys. Threw in the TOH stuff to keep it honest. :)