Video phones fifty years ago

  1. dannymcg

    dannymcg Raoul Mitgong won't help

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    Anyone ever used One?

    FB_IMG_1505109376805.jpg
     
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  2. Cathbad

    Cathbad Yeah, I've got my ugly gray beard back!!

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    Dagnabit!

    Why'd no one tell me about these?!
     
  3. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Is that a real advert? Not some cutting from a science fiction magazine predicting the future that never happened?

    I wasn't aware of such a thing either. It would have been very expensive, so an attended service between New York, Washington and Chicago could only have been between the CEOs in offices of some big Corporations.

    I may have said this before, but I was practically weened on Thunderbirds as a child and apart from the seats that moved and automatically dressed the pilots (Batman possibly did that first) it was the Videophones in the pictures on the wall that fascinated me. Lady Penelope's flying car with machine guns never seemed real, but I could imagine a future with Videophones.

    So, now that we have Skype and Facebook Messenger and webcams, and they are accepted as quite everyday tech, I find myself feeling very old.
     
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  4. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    My apologies. I'm sorry I was skeptical but after some Google searching.

    It gives me this: http://long-lines.net/tech-equip/Picturephone/BLR0569/picturephone.pdf which means that in 1969 Bell Laboratories (who were cutting edge) were thinking of possibly bringing in a limited service in 1970.

    Popular Science March 1988 says that they have been "available for years" but now only cost $399 and available for the home for the first time.

    But then I found this which says they were actually introduced in 1964 but they flopped and cost the company half a billion (but almost created the internet early.)



     
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  5. Venusian Broon

    Venusian Broon Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity

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    AT&T had developed a demonstration video phone (well probably more accurately described as a video booth/room) in the 1920s and I see there was an actual proper German service for their Post service that allowed video communication in the 1930s.

    The idea itself, of course, goes way further back.

    I don't have the stats, but part of the reason the 60s version didn't take off was, really there was no demand. Do you want to show your green, hung-over face to a stranger on Sunday morning? I suspect even today, although video phoning is much more ubiquitous, people still prefer disembodied non-video communication generally when it comes to conversations in real time over networks.
     
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  6. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    That's certainly true for my children. When my son was at University my wife insisted that he Skype so that she could see he was eating well, had no bruises or cuts, and was not hung-over. For some reason, Skype would never work and he would prefer to telephone instead.
     
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  7. J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    Around 1960, mexican wrestler movie stars had them in their cars, in mexican wrestler SF movies, so I thought they were passe and stupid because TV was stupid. And talking on the phone was kind of looked on as a waste of time too. So double stupid idea, it just took time to sell it.
     
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  8. dannymcg

    dannymcg Raoul Mitgong won't help

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    I faintly remember Look and Learn (incorporating Ranger) magazine doing a centre spread on these phones . "Hey kids, look what they're doing in America, soon to be worldwide!"
    This was at a time when maybe one house in fifty in the UK had a phone
     
  9. Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Personally I don't feel the need for a video phone. I experimented with Skype in its early days and hated it, stopping very quickly. I have a smart phone but have never used it to make a video call and none of my friends have ever asked to be able to call me in that way. But then I'm a confirmed bachelor so I've no wife or kids and who else would be interested in seeing my ugly mug? ;):D
     
  10. Biskit

    Biskit Cat whisperer

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    I have Skype - I've only ever used it for voice and text messages.
     
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