Sky has hardly been coy about its prototyping of 3D broadcasts over its existing infrastructure but who would have predicted it would be ready to launch a service as soon as 2010?. Whether you could predict it or not, Sky is, seeing 3D - rightly or not - as the next logical progressing in broadcast technology after high definition, launching a 3D channel next year.
From Sky's end, no upgrades are needed to its existing broadcast network as its 3D broadcast technology works using existing Sky+HD boxes - discounting a likely software update. However, would-be viewers will need a 3D-capable TV of some description.
Sky plans to have a decent amount of content available in 3D a great deal of which will presumably need to be filmed proprietarily, given the lack of 'normal' TV available in 3D. According to Sky, the channel will offer "a broad selection of the best available 3D programming, which is expected to include movies, entertainment and sport."
Sky claims its TV network is the only one able to carry 3D. So while Freesat, Virgin Media and - eventually - Freeview may be catching up with Sky's lead in HD, it looks like the company is ready to place itself in another niche, well ahead of the curve.
Sky subscribers not enthralled by the prospect of having to buy yet another HD TV - not to mention paying the inevitable high subscription Sky will attach to 3D - aren't being left out. Some time next year the currently all-but-pointless Ethernet port on Sky boxes will be put to use with the addition of a video-on-demand service to Sky's devices as an extension of the existing, PC-based Sky Anytime service.
More details will be revealed nearer the launch of both services so for now, feel free to speculate away over the specifics.