4 of 7
BACKNEXT
AT&T video phone - 1964
AT&T video phone - 1964
Skype wasn't the first to offer video chat -- not by a long shot. In fact, Bell Labs built the world's premier video-phone in 1956.

The Picturephone system transmitted only one image every two seconds and was later featured at the 1964 World's Fair, where the public was invited to place calls between the fairground in New York and Disneyland.

Trials went on for six years, and a commercial Picturephone service debuted in downtown Pittsburgh in 1970. AT&T executives were sure the company would sell one million Picturephones by 1980, but it turned out people didn't like the bulky equipment or the small screen. Plus, the company charged $16 for a four-minute call -- a hefty fee, especially in 1970 dollars, and a far cry from Skype's free service today.



NEXT: Prism laser guitar- 2009

Last updated September 23 2009: 11:26 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
Public colleges with the best bang for your buck Graduates with bachelor's degrees from these state schools see the biggest return on their college investment, according to a report from PayScale. More
Cool cars from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show These are some of the stand-out cars and trucks on display at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. More
Yahoo: 20 years of hits and flops The company that once was Google turns 20. We look back at the many, many brands it has cycled through. Remember Geocities? Broadcast.com? More

Special Offer