07 November 2011 @ 01:18 pm
It Seemed Like a Good Idea: The Picture Phone  
It would seem just common sense that many folks would prefer not to show their face during a phone call ... or at least have the option to accept or decline as we do now (Skype, etc.).

Current Mood: chipperchipper
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
JazzyBabejazzybabe56 on November 7th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
and of course now we have Skype......

what a trip back....the 70's was this?
Joejoebehrsandiego on November 7th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
My WA State relatives told me they saw something very much like this at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, but the model's hairdo and the general vibe of this ad are more 1968-71-ish.
luke_russellluke_russell on November 7th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)
I worked on this product years ago. A commercial flop, the price of one telephone was nearly $10,000 in today's money. Couldn't even interest the large brokerage houses. We DID do one large installation of them though in a hospital in Manila. Paid for by Imelda Marcos!!
Joejoebehrsandiego on November 7th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
What an awesome personal anecdote; thank you so for sharing! (The Imelda Marcos connection is especially wild. :))
luke_russellluke_russell on November 9th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
The hospital was her personal charity and was named after her. It was a children's hospital. When we got the order for the 180 telephone system we were flabbergasted - and pleased of course. Soon after that, though, the production line was closed. It would appear Imelda didn't have a keen appreciation for the value of money....?
luke_russellluke_russell on November 9th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
btw...Black and white image with horribly low resolution. Speakerphone sound was fantastic though - the Speakerphone part of the product was a complete success.
luke_russellluke_russell on November 7th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
Sorry Joe! I meant to confirm your comments and got carried away. Yes, the exact time frame here is 1971-73.
Disco citizen: Who:  K9teamrodent on November 7th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Were these the ones that were in 2001?
Joejoebehrsandiego on November 7th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
Not precisely. Here's a clip of the videophone scene from "2001".

herbadnessherbadness on November 8th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
I remember being a little kid watching The Jetsons. I used to imagine how neat it would be to have these picture phones.

I'll go totter off and have a nap now.
pikkewyntjiepikkewyntjie on November 8th, 2011 03:18 am (UTC)
It was a good idea, but not for the time. The hardware may have existed, but I doubt the phone transmission lines of the day would have been able to handle the load if more than a few people bought this. Then again, if the laws of supply and demand really do apply, we might have had fiber optic cables, DSL, and T1 lines a lot sooner than we did.
luke_russellluke_russell on November 9th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
Re: Yes
T1 was already well deployed by then throughout North America. But it was a revolutionary product regardless, requiring only two copper pair (conditioned though). And no special switching equipment either. Standard apapratus all the way! But you are right, ever increasing demand for image quality would have driven new developments that we never saw.
bzul: contbzul on November 8th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
And a mobile picture phone, please, for when I'm jet-packin' around! A picture phone fitted with its OWN jet pack to fly along next to me or in front of me!
luke_russellluke_russell on November 9th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
Nope...it weighed over 12 pounds!
samtyr: celtic autumnsamtyr on November 8th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
This is so very cool! It's always interesting to see the forerunners of the technology we use now (and take for granted.)
cactuswrencactuswren on November 9th, 2011 06:45 am (UTC)
I'm remembering Jane Jetson getting a visiphone call early in the morning, when she still had what might be called "morning face". Before answering it, she pushed a button and a perfect animated mask of her own lovely, styled, made-up, ready-for-visitors face dropped down from the ceiling and positioned itself right between her and the phone.
Joejoebehrsandiego on November 9th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
It's very cool that Hanna-Barbera, at least recognized the social/psychological dynamic of these things. :)
superfan1superfan1 on November 9th, 2011 11:25 am (UTC)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )