Queen's Christmas speech to be broadcast in 3D

Sky News-produced festive message gets extra dimension as broadcaster leads push into 3D TV in UK

There will be an added dimension to the Queen's Christmas speech this year after it was revealed that it will be broadcast in 3D for the first time.

The annual Christmas broadcast to the UK and the Commonwealth – to give it its full title – will be produced by Sky News and broadcast in 3D on the Sky 3D channel and in high definition on the BBC HD channel.

Sky has been leading the push into 3D TV in the UK, with a range of sporting events broadcast via the new technology, including football and Ryder Cup golf.

The Queen has watched her 3D Christmas message and a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the monarch thought the broadcast was "absolutely lovely".

The spokeswoman added: "We wanted to do something a bit different and special in this jubilee year, so doing it for the first time in 3D seemed a good thing, technology-wise, to do.

"The Queen absolutely agreed straight away. There was no need for convincing at all; she was absolutely ready to embrace something new in this year."

The theme of this year's message is not known but it is likely to feature the key highlights from 2012 – the London Olympic Games and the diamond jubilee.

First proposed by Lord Reith in 1932, the first Christmas message was delivered by George V the same year. The time of 3pm, at which it is still broadcast, was chosen because it was the best time for reaching most of the countries in the empire via shortwave broadcasts from Britain.

The Queen has broadcast a message every year apart from 1969, when a repeat of the documentary Royal Family was already scheduled. The first televised message was in 1957, and it went on YouTube for the first time in 2007.

This year is the second year it has been produced by Sky. Once the sole preserve of the BBC, its monopoly was broken by ITV News and Channel 4 News producer ITN in 1997. Responsibility for the broadcast is now a three-way split between the BBC, ITN and Sky.

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC is thrilled that viewers will be able to watch the Queen's speech in 3D for the first time on the BBC HD channel."

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John Plunkett

The GuardianTramp

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