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The History Of Bell Telephone’s PicturePhone

Today we live in a world where video chat has become the norm, at least among a small portion of the population. But before the 1970s, the dream of video conferencing was considered a pipe dream that kept creeping up in TV shows like the Jetsons and movies like 2001. But before Skype and FaceTime, there was ATT&T’s PicturePhone that was developed at a cost of over $500 million and over a decade of preparation and research. The effort fell flat with a bloated monthly cost and well under 100 users nationally. When that number dwindled to 9 and finally zero, the system was taken out of service. It would take another 20 years before video conferencing found its way to desktop computers and digital mobile devices.

Published on June 18, 2014