BIG IN 2010 – The 3rd dimension

Everything has hidden depths, right? Well, apart from TV pictures, movies and photographs; they’re strictly 2D. How could they be anything else?

Try telling that to the boffs who inhabit the R&D labs of Sky, Asus, Fujifilm, 3M, Acer… for these people, the laws of physics exist only to be broken.

Sky’s not the limit for 3D

Although there’s no official launch date yet, Sky’s dedicated 3D channel will be available to all Sky+HD subscribers in 2010. It will provide a combination of documentaries, movies and sport, and will work with the box you already have.

Of course, broadcasts will look rubbish unless you have the right TV – either a polarising one such as Hyundai’s S465D (£6455, or one of the 120Hz active vision panels we’re expecting to be announced at the CES show in January – and you'll have to wear silly glasses.

A gimmick, then? We’d usually say yes, if it wasn’t for all of the other amazing 3D movies and gadgets arriving right now – we already know we've got 3D Blu-ray to look forward to next year, and PS3 users won't even need to buy any extra hardware.

3D on your lap

Asus and Acer have both released 3D-capable laptops. Asus’ effort, the G51J-SZ028V comes with Nvidia’s 3D glasses and a Blu-ray drive (here’s hoping the 3D Blu-ray standard is ratified very soon), while Acer’s 5738DG TriDef uses a polarised screen that can display 3D at 683x768 pixels.

Photo op

Fujifilm’s Real 3D W1 camera proved it’s possible to create stereoscopic 3D images on a small screen without glasses – and now the technology’s going mainstream.

3M’s snappily named Vikuiti 3D Field Sequential Optical Film is an overlay that can be added to an LCD to give it lenticular 3D abilities, directing a different image to each eye. It’s apparently simple and cheap to make, so expect it on phones, gamers and PMPs…

Check out our 5 things you need to know about 3D, or for the full lowdown on our Big in 2010 tech, see the latest issue of Stuff magazine. Keep an eye on for our CES coverage from 6-10 January.