The three-dimensional viewing format has not taken off as expected in the last couple of years. After being trumpeted as the format of the future it has failed to materialize. A number of pubs in London opened with the promise of 3D viewing of the “footy” only to close nearly as quickly as they popped-up. Turns out your average punter has little interest in having a pint with his mates, while forced to wear the glasses necessary to the technology.


The BBC threw out its 3D channels within a year of their unveiling, and ESPN did the same with its 3D channel, though they did suggest that it would return “if or when 3D does take off.”

Skype preparing to offer 3D video calls

That, however, has not deterred Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Skype from looking into the possibility of 3D video calling. The popular video calling and instant messaging platform is prepared to offer the 3D format “in a few years,” when camera and capture technology makes it prudent to do so. This, according to Microsoft’s Skype vice president Mark Gillett, could also take “many years.”

“We’ve done work in the labs looking at the capability of 3D-screens and 3D-capture,” the senior executive commented. “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. But the capture devices are not yet there.”

Mark Gillett explains Skype’s research and development

Gillet went on to explain that Skype’s research and development teams have done quite a bit of work “in the lab” and “know how to make it work.” The reason that its presently not possible is simple: in order for 3D video calling to work there needs to be multiple cameras integrated into computer systems. Additionally, these cameras need to be precisely calibrated and fixed to correct angles to obtain the images necessary.

While Gillet showed a foresight in Skype’s thinking, all in all it’s a non-starter. Somewhat surprisingly, however, given recent suggestions to the contrary, Gillet still believes that 3D viewing will begin to permeate people’s lives in the near future.

“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,” Gillet admitted.