By Kurtis Ming

Even when he’s not at the game, Bailey Varnado has the best seats in the house.

“The JumboTron!” he said, laughing. “That’s how it looks.”

His living room and family room are each fitted with identical 82-inch rear-projection HDTVs from Mitsubishi — an expensive investment totaling more than $23,300, but one worth every penny to Varnado.

“You pay for longevity, you buy stuff that’s gonna last,” he said.

He was happy until he started getting messages saying the bulbs were going out — and until Mitsubishi told him the replacement bulbs aren’t made anymore.

“That just means I have a big box,” he said, gesturing to his TV, “[a big box] that doesn’t do anything.”

Customers spend a lot of money on electronics. Generally, Varnado’s notion holds true — the more expensive products tend to be higher in quality and oftentimes last much longer.

It was exactly what happened when Varnado bought a 65-inch Mitsubishi TV in 1987, he said, and almost 25 years later, it still works.

So can companies just stop making parts? The answer is two-fold.

California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act requires manufacturers have to make parts for “at least seven years after the date a product model or type was manufactured.”

Varnado bought one of the TVs in 2004, and the other in 2006, but both were manufactured at the same time in 2004, according to the TVs themselves.

That means his TVs are just a few months outside the seven-year window.

“What really is going to matter is the actual manufacture date of the television,” said Russ Heimerich of California’s Department of Consumer Affairs.

Mitsubishi told CBS13 it ran out of the lamps in June, and said: “Every once in a while, we run into a situation like this where a vendor runs out of a part. If that happens, we do our best to satisfy a customer with a heavily discounted price on a new TV.”

Mitsubishi offered Varnado a new 82-inch TV for $2,500, including tax and shipping, but said it will not offer anything further to Varnado until his bulbs officially die.

Varnado didn’t think that was a fair price, and now he isn’t sure what to do with the TVs.

“I don’t know. Probably the dump” he said. “I don’t know, but I still have to pay to get it moved.”

Comments (4)
  1. jim says:

    Perhaps a high wattage bulb can be adapted to the projection TV. I jury-rig stuff all of the time, because if it’s already broke, there’s no harm in trying to do a McGiver fix on whatever is broken. Harbor Freight sells a two-pack of work light 500 watt bulbs for $ 3 , part number 95457. Maybe they could be fitted to the projection lamp socket. http://www.harborfreightDOT com.

  2. h asan says:

    I may actually have a bulb he can have, since listening to your broadcast I decided not to repair the big screen mistubishi I have; so if the gentleman in your broadcast would like my old tv he can have it. I was going to repair the tv because many mitsubishi is known to have capacitor premature failure issues this is a planned obsolescence problem with almost all mistsubishis.
    please do not publish my email addr,

  3. Ginna says:

    Not hard to find replacement bulbs for DLP televisions if you know what the bulb model number is. The bulb is actually pretty easy to replace once you get down to it. Search on ebay for the bulb and it’ll run you maybe $120 at max, but it’s much cheaper than trying to find it from the company directly. That’s the problem with HD tvs that aren’t LCD. You have to deal with bulbs that are being used on TVs that demand more out of them. That’s why your 1987 tv still works. It’s not HD so the demand on the bulbs isn’t so intense. It’s a risk you take when you buy a DLP style television. Good luck.

  4. john says:

    i found several websites selling that models bulbs your tv here they are hope it helps you Bailey, 1-888-307-8800,,1-800-664-6671, 1888-737-3298
    Bailey i hope you find what you need i am sure one of these sites can please let me know if it did
    good luck

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