A telephone with a built-in camera and screen for visual, real-time communications. After AT&T debuted its Picturephone at the New York World's Fair in 1964, many expected videophones to become widely used within a few years. However, it was almost 30 years later, in the early 1990s that AT&T introduced its VideoPhone-branded line of phones at $1,000 each, and a pair was required at minimum. Other videophone vendors entered the market, but the bandwidth limitation of dial-up phone lines, the high cost of entry and the lack of a standard kept videophones from taking off.|
Nevertheless, 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 videophone experience. See video calling, Webcam, Skype, videoconferencing and Picturephone.
In the 1990s, several companies tried to promote videophones, but squeezing video over analog phone lines was never satisfying. This earlier ViaTV from 8x8 did produce respectable quality as long as nobody moved; otherwise the image would pixelate. Subsequently, 8x8 introduced videophones for users with cable modems and DSL. (Image courtesy of 8x8, Inc.)
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 here. (Image courtesy of Hitachi America, Ltd.)