(Posted by David S. Cohen)

Monsters vs. Aliens has got the MSM abuzz about 3-D, so much so that NPR's Bob Mondello just finished giving the picture a review that seemed more concerned with reviewing the 3-D than the movie. (His verdict on both: mediocre.) But if you want to find the real action in 3-D, look into 3-D television, which is already feasible and yet still nowhere near your local Best Buy.

Into this breach rides, yet again, USC's Entertainment Technology Center. The ETC today had an open house at its brand new 3-D lab near USC, which brings together pretty much every available 3-D TV system so studios and other pros can do side-by-side comparisons. There's a "3-D Sandbox" room (So you can play with the 3-D. Get it?); a 3-D home theater room running stereo content on a 100" wall from an off-the-shelf DepthQ projector; and a 3-D Living Room with several monitors, including the very nice but not-yet-available model from JVC. The Living Room has a nice couch but it lacks a messy coffee table.  There's also an Anytime/Anywhere Content room.

With this effort, ETC is adopting the same approach it used to help nurture D-cinema. ETC's Digital Cinema Lab in Hollywood let everybody test digital projector systems in genuine theater conditions — it was located in the earthquake-damaged Hollywood Pacific Theater. The new 3-D lab isn't so grand, but it might just help turn everybody's living room into a 3-D room.

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