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RCA Home Theater Projectors Brightness Ratings California Class Action

RCA RPJ129 Home Theater Projector

Curtis International, Ltd. and Technicolor USA, Inc. licensed the RCA brand name for their digital home theater projectors. But the complaint for this class action alleges that the companies are hiding inferior equipment behind a respected brand name, because, it says, the projectors are not nearly as bright as advertised. 

The class for this action is all persons who bought an RCA projector while living in California. 

Curtis claims to be a maker of “quality, value priced consumer electronic[s] & appliances” which it sells under the RCA brand. The brand is owned by Technicolor, which licenses it to the projectors it shares with Curtis. 

The complaint says the companies have sold “over a half-dozen different models of projectors that purportedly have a brightness of 2,000 lumens or more.” The companies advertise the lumen rating prominently on the box. This rating matters, because when consumers shop for a home theater projector, brightness is a major factor.

Plaintiff Roman Scanlon bought an RPJ129 for $74.99, attracted by the promise of 3,100 lumens. But when he brought it home and tried to use it, he found that the projector’s output was a lot dimmer than he expected. 

He tried to return it as defective but was unable to because the store employee he brought it to didn’t know how to do it properly. Instead, she convinced him that the items were generally of good quality and said that she had an RPJ136 herself. Scanlon then bought two more RPJ129 projectors. He also ordered a mounting kit and waited to try out the new projectors until it had arrived. Later he bought three RPJ136 projectors as gifts for his nephews.

At a later time, Epson, a major electronics maker and a competitor in video projectors, had independent testing done on three RCA projector models. According to the complaint, these were the results: 

  • RPJ116: Claimed rating, 2,000 lumens. Actual output, 32 lumens. 
  • RPJ129: Claimed rating, 3,100 lumens. Actual output, 190 lumens. 
  • RPJ136: Claimed rating, 2,200 lumens. Actual output, 38 lumens.

Epson sued, and Curtis/Technicolor began placing corrective stickers on their projector boxes. “For example,” the complaint says, the sticker for the RPJ136 says “that its color light output is 88.6 lumens, white brightness output is 159 lumens, and white light output is 215 lumens…” considerably less than advertised.

At the time Scanlon bought the projectors, none of them had corrective stickers on the boxes modifying their claims of brightness. Only later did he understand that none of the projectors he had bought were properly rated.

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