50 years ago today, the public got its first taste of video calls



I always thought that video chatting was a relatively new thing but I guess I was wrong. “It seemed like the inevitable future at the time, we’re sure. On April 20th in 1964, Bell Telephone showed off the Mod 1 Picturephone — a precursor to the Skype and Hangouts video calls that have become a standard but under-utilized feature of modern communications. The demonstration was part of the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, visitors were able to step into a booth and have a conversation with a person thousands of miles away in Disneyland. But instead of just talking into a handset, users sat in front of an oblong device that housed both a video screen and a camera. The service delivered a 30 frame-per-second black-and-white feed to wowed Fair-goers. A few months later, in June of the same year, AT&T took the service commercial.” Apparently it was 16 dollars for 3 minutes of video chatting. I can’t imagine paying this type of money today. This invention never really caught on because of the price and the difficulty that people experienced with it. Skype was one of the first major companies to make things like video calling easy and practical. 





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