How-To Geek

Siskel & Ebert Want You to Get a Video Phone [Video]

The year is 1988 and Siskel & Ebert really want you to get a video phone. If nothing else can make you appreciate having a powerful computer capable of clear video chat in your pocket, this will.

As part of their 1988 video gift guide–for a brief time during the late 80s and early 90s the movie critic duo released holiday buying guides, as odd as that sounds–Siskel and Ebert try out a video phone and marvel at the capabilities.

Not only is it grainy but it’s not real time and the voice conversation is actually cut out during the transmission of the images. Much has changed in the intervening decades.

Siskel and Ebert 1988 Holiday Gift Guide [YouTube]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/21/11

Comments (5)

  1. cyfer

    i was told to buy a video phone.. i haven’t used the video call option once. So F.U. Facetime, F.U. voicecall and F.U phone companies that even spend money to put cameras in front of phones.

  2. bob labla

    $89.95 for a tape? You gotta be kidding me.

  3. Maik

    I could not agree more with Cyfer. Ofcourse things like this are very “Geeky”, if i may use dat expression around here :) . But I think in daily use a video call will not be that of an addition.

  4. indianacarnie

    That was priceless! Think Maik and cyfer missed the point a little here……. or maybe they just need to vent about something.
    It was like an instant fax machine! And at “only” $800.00 a pair! :) Thank you HTG for giving me a much needed smile this morning.

  5. aussiegirl

    hahaha, he says “laser disc” as if it’s some kind of dangerous laser that will kill you! how times change, amazing! thanks for sharing this!! :D

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