Sky's 3D TV service could be available by the end of 2009 according to the company's chief engineer, Chris Johns.

Speaking at the Digital TV Group's annual conference, Johns said: "Our aim is to refine 3D techniques and TV production and build a content library over the coming year."

Sky said at the end of 2008 that it had already broadcast a number of TV programmes in 3D as part of a trial. In December, Brian Lenz, head of product design and innovation at Sky, said: "We're just exploring right now, but the next step is going to be to find out whether 3DTV is something people are going to be interested in".

3DTV has long been the dream of broadcasters and technology enthusiasts, but it requires new recording techniques as well as specially designed TV sets. That means those wanting to see 3D shows would have to buy a new TV, while polarised glasses that merge two separate images to create the 3D effect would also be required. When they do become widely available, it's likely that 3D programmes will available through Sky+ HD.