World Cup in 3D
This year's football World Cup will be broadcast in 3 dimensions, allowing viewers to watch the ball as if it were flying out of the screen.
ESPN, one of the world's biggest sports broadcasters, will film 25 of the World Cup matches in 3D at this year's tournament in South Africa.
It is the first time that a 3D broadcast will be seen in anyone's home, after years of technology experts predicting that 3D would take off.
The announcement was made as television companies prepare to unveil their latest 3D sets at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The likes of Sony, LG and Samsung are all expected to announce that 3D televisions will be available for sale in the States and Britain in a matter of months, after unveiling prototypes a year ago.
It is unclear when the ESPN broadcasts will be available outside of the States, but an ESPN spokesman said it was unlikely to be available to British viewers until after the World Cup.
Though British viewers are unlikely to see the games in 3D in their homes, some will be able to see them on large public venue screens thanks to a deal between Sony and Fifa.
Viewers will not only need to invest in an expensive new television, they will also need to wear special dark glasses to enjoy the full experience.
3D content became ever more popular during 2009, with some of the most popular films, notably Up and Avatar, enjoying great success at the box office. However, 3D in people's homes has never taken off because of the special equipment involved.
Sky has promised that it will launch a 3D channel later this year, following the success of its HD programmes. Customers with the most expensive HD Sky boxes will be able to view any of the programmes – as long as they have a 3D television.
Sky is expected to concentrate on 3D films, though it is possible it will experiment with football in 3D.
Gary Shapiro, the chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, said the ESPN announcement could trigger an explosion of interest in 3D televisions, in a way that high definition televisions started to take off six years ago when broadcasters committed to the format. "This is a turning point for 3D," he said.