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
7 quirky luxury products for the super rich Take a look at some of the most unusual luxury products being marketed to the top 1% in Monaco, including a rotating sunbed, hand-made wooden skis and fur coats for dogs. More
Five things to know about Putin's Russia An economic crisis, Western sanctions and a comeback currency: What's going on in Russia? More
9 up-and-coming collectible cars They're relatively cheap now but these models have already caught collectors' eyes and are expected to increase in value in years to come More

Special Offer