Microsoft-owned Skype has revealed on its 10th anniversary that it is developing 3D video calling technology that could be brought to market when camera technology advances.
In an interview with the BBC, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Skype, Mark Gillett, said the company has developed 3D video call technology in the lab but added that it would be difficult to introduce the feature to Skype users until cameras could capture things in 3D more easily.
"We've seen a lot of progress in screens and a lot of people now buy TVs and computer monitors that are capable of delivering a 3D image,” said Gillett. "But the capture devices are not yet there. As we work with that kind of technology you have to add multiple cameras to your computer, precisely calibrate them and point them at the right angle.
"We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work and we're looking at the ecosystem of devices and their capability to support it in order to make a decision when we might think about bringing something like that to market."
Microsoft’s announcement that it is exploring how the 3D platform can be used across its products could provide a boost to device-makers at a time when the format has shown signs of ailing health.
Indeed, the BBC revealed last month it would end a two-year experiment with 3D TV after the broadcast of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode in November.
Meanwhile, retailer John Lewis has also told Trusted Reviews earlier this year that there wasn’t much interest in 3D TVs compared to smart TVs or 4K video.
Gillett added that 3D video chats would take longer to catch on than 3D in general. "You'll see much more penetration of 3D on TVs, on computers and ultimately in smartphones, probably, ahead of seeing it for sending a video call," he admitted.
For now though Gillett said Skype was exploring how to offer 1080p “super-high definition” video call resolution to devices beyond the forthcoming Xbox One games console, adding that tablets and laptops were likely to get this feature ahead of smartphones due to the extra processing power required.
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