videophone(redirected from Picture phone)
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videophone(VIDEO telePHONE) A device with a camera and screen for visual, real-time communications, commonly known as "video calling." After AT&T debuted its Picturephone at the New York World's Fair in 1964, many expected videophones in the near future. Some 30 years later, AT&T introduced its VideoPhone-branded line at USD $1,000 per phone. Other vendors entered the market, but the bandwidth limitation of dial-up phone lines and the high cost of entry kept them from taking off.
Forty Years After the World's Fair
Due to high-speed cable and DSL, videophoning eventually became popular on the computer via software. Offering free video calling worldwide in 2006, Skype popularized the experience, and within a few years, Apple and Android phones and tablets would usher in a new world. See video calling, Webcam, Skype, videoconferencing and Picturephone.
|An Early Videophone|
|Throughout the 1990s, several companies promoted videophones, but squeezing real-time video over analog phone lines was dreadful. This ViaTV from 8x8 produced respectable quality as long as nobody moved; otherwise the image would pixelate. Subsequent 8x8 models used cable modems and DSL. (Image courtesy of 8x8, Inc.)|
|The Videophone Wristwatch|
|In 2000, Hitachi used this illustration to advertise its SuperH series chips. The ad said the device of course did not exist, but the Hitachi microprocessor to power it was already available. (Image courtesy of Hitachi America, Ltd.)|