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This was first embodied in the device which came to be known as the video telephone, or videophone, and it evolved from intensive research and experimentation in several telecommunication fields, notably electrical telegraphy, telephony, radio, and television.
Simple analog videophone communication could be established as early as the invention of the television.
In 1995 the first public videoconference between North America and Africa took place, linking a technofair in San Francisco with a techno-rave and cyberdeli in Cape Town.
At the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Nagano, Japan, Seiji Ozawa conducted the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony simultaneously across five continents in near-real time.
In 1984, Concept Communication in the United States replaced the then-100 pound, US0,000 computers necessary for teleconferencing, with a ,000 circuit board that doubled the video frame rate from 15 up to 30 frames per second, and which reduced the equipment to the size of a circuit board fitting into standard personal computers.
The greater 1 MHz bandwidth and 6 Mbit/s bit rate of the AT&T Picturephone in the 1970s also did not achieve commercial success, mostly due to its high cost, but also due to a lack of network effect — with only a few hundred Picturephones in the world, users had extremely few contacts they could actually call to, and interoperability with other videophone systems would not exist for decades.
During the first manned space flights, NASA used two radio-frequency (UHF or VHF) video links, one in each direction.
TV channels routinely use this type of videotelephony when reporting from distant locations.
During this time, there was also research into other forms of digital video and audio communication.
Many of these technologies, such as the Media space, are not as widely used today as videoconferencing but were still an important area of research.