Sky to broadcast football showdown in 3D

3D on Sky

Football fans will soon be able to watch their favourite teams in 3D after Sky Sports announced today plans to broadcast live Premier League matches from April.

A public preview is planned for this weekend, with a selection of nine unnamed venues around the UK and Ireland being fitted with 3D TV setups ahead of Sunday's Premier League showdown between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Customers at the venues in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin will be given special glasses to watch the match, while at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, eight dedicated 3D camera rigs around the ground will operate alongside Sky's existing recording equipment.

"3D is without doubt one of the most talked-about developments in television for many years," said Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch. "Sky has always innovated to bring customers the best possible viewing experience, so we fully intend to take the lead in bringing the spectacle of 3D to the UK and Ireland."

Should the trial be successful, Sky plans to roll out 3D football to the general public both through pubs in April and then on Sky's dedicated 3D channel, with one match a week getting the 3D treatment initially.

Sky director of strategic product development Gerry O'Sullivan said Sky's existing equipment was more than capable of handling the 3D signal.

"The good news is that all Sky+ HD customers already have the set top box they need to enjoy 3D, meaning they simply need to buy any new 3D TV, all of which will work seamlessly with Sky's ground breaking new service," O'Sullivan said.

The weekly 3D football offering will be shown on Sky's dedicated 3D channel, which at first will host all of the broadcaster's 3D content until more programmes are available.

The date of the channel's launch depends largely on when 3D TVs start to go on sale. LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony have all promised to support the platform with 3D-ready products, but it's unlikely that any will go on sale to the general public until at least mid-year.

The 3D channel will initially be free of charge to the 1.6 million Sky+HD subscribers on the top-tier price plan.

Read on for more about how 3D could change the television industry.