Sky has confirmed that it will launch its hotly anticipated 3D TV next year, becoming the first broadcaster in Europe to offer the next-generation television service.

Since showcasing its 3D TV running over an existing Sky+ HD box in December 2008, Sky has been pushing on with bringing the service to market.

"In the next step in the Sky+HD journey, Sky today announced that it will launch the UK's first 3D channel next year," said Sky in a press release.

"The channel will offer a broad selection of the best available 3D programming, which is expected to include movies, entertainment and sport.

"The service will be broadcast across Sky's existing HD infrastructure and be available via the current generation of Sky+HD set-top boxes.

"To watch 3D, customers will also require a new '3D Ready' TV, which are expected to be on sale in the UK next year."

Television technology

The final point remains a key factor, with the 3D televisions not on general sale in the UK yet - although sets from Panasonic and LG have been shown off - but the coming 18 months were already set to be a pivotal time for the next generation of 3D anyway.

The film industry is beginning to ramp up its 3D outputs, with cinemas taking advantage of things like Digital Imax, but it is the key directors that are filming specifically in three dimensions within Hollywood that could have the largest impact.

Sky films ballet in 3d

Sky's 3D guru Brian Lenz told TechRadar earlier this year that James Cameron's next offering Avatar was pivotal to the 3D industry, and with the likes of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas also focused on 3D, the film industry is leading the way.

For those whose response to this is to buy a new 3D enabled television, Sky will now be the place to go to for 3D broadcasts in the UK.

'Future proofed'

"Well over a million homes have future-proofed themselves with Sky+HD, a platform for choice, quality and future innovation," said Brian Sullivan, Managing Director of Sky's Customer Group.

"With Sky+ as standard, our customers are already enjoying amazing picture and sound quality on a range of high-quality HD channels which cater to the interests and passions of the whole family.

"Next year we will make our HD boxes work even harder for customers by launching Europe's first 3D TV channel, as well as introducing a comprehensive video-on-demand service to complement Sky+ and the current Sky Anytime service.

"3D is a genuinely 'seeing is believing' experience, making TV come to life as never before. Just like the launch of digital, Sky+ and HD, this is latest step in our commitment to innovating for customers."