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New USC Center Offers 3-D Viewing

30 Mar, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

One of the HDTV technology rooms at ETC@USC

LOS ANGELES — A home entertainment fan could enter the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC@USC), and never want to leave: dozens of different HDTVs line the walls in different, comfortable rooms, each TV connected to the latest home media devices, like Blu-ray Disc players and assorted on-demand set-top boxes.

“We bring in different focus groups, to play with the different pieces of gear,” said KC Blake, director of business development for ETC@USC. “Studios and a lot of executive directors from different companies come in here to test the connected devices.”

Most of the set-up is dedicated to the ETC@USC’s main purpose: promoting 3-D in the home. One room has every type of 3-D at home imagined, from the old-style, red and blue anaglyph, to the newer, plug-in active shutter glasses. Another room is dedicated solely to a projector-style 3-D system.

“It is extremely important that our customers have a satisfying and robust stereoscopic 3-D solution,” said Arthur Hair, CTO for The Walt Disney Studios. “The Entertainment Technology Center provides the ideal forum for experimenting with all the latest technological innovations and devices so that we can ultimately give the consumers what they want.”

While DreamWorks has been leading the way with 3-D content — with Paramount, Warner and other studios playing with it on DVD and Blu-ray Disc — only a little more than two-dozen movies saw a 3-D release in 2007 and 2008, and only a handful of those came home on 3-D.

“The only thing we’re missing is the content,” said Bryan Gonzalez, technical project specialist for ETC@USC.

The opportunity is there, according to ETC@USC executive director David Wertheimer. A study by his center found that more than 26 million households in North America are interested in 3-D at home experiences, and for those Americans who have seen a 3-D movie in the past year, 60% are willing to spend more on a 3-D TV for their home.

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