With 3D television becoming more than just an excuse to don the ubiquitous red and blue glasses, UK broadcaster Sky is hoping to broaden the appeal and get an early jump on the competition, by announcing their plans to launch Europe’s first 3D TV channel. Featuring a combination of movies, entertainment and sports, the channel is due to be available next year as part of the BSkyB subscription service.

Initially slated for a 2011 release, an unexpected doubling in the number of subscribers to the Sky+HD service in the last 12 months has seen the company push for an earlier roll out of the 3D programming. The 1.3 million Sky+HD subscribers will be able to use those set top boxes to access the 3D content, however customers will also require special glasses and a “3D ready” television set that is able to decode the two signals that make up the 3D image. Several of the big name electronics manufacturers are working on releasing 3D sets next year, with Sky hoping that pricing will mirror that of current standard HD sets.

Will the technology take off and be embraced by the viewing masses? With other big broadcasters including the BBC reportedly conducting their own trials, Sky have placed themselves one step ahead if the niche does prove popular.

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