Skype Working on 3D Support, Held Back by Current Technology

August 29, 2013
By: Rory Lidstone

Although a lot of the discussion surrounding Skype (News - Alert) involves its impact on the enterprise, the fact remains that it is also a popular consumer product. As such, it is often updated with more consumer-oriented features such as, for example, the ability to make 3D calls.

Indeed, this capability, which was unveiled in an exclusive interview with the BBC marking Skype’s 10th anniversary, is in the works for the VoIP client, but it is still a long way from being made publicly available. In fact, the executive who let the possibility of 3D video calling slip — Microsoft’s (News - Alert) corporate vice president for Skype, Mark Gillett — said it could be “many years” before 3D in Skype becomes a tangible reality.

According to Gillett, it is current 3D technology that’s holding Skype back. However, the fault doesn’t lie with current 3D displays, but rather capture devices, which “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,” said Gillett. “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.”

Skype is updated regularly in order to improve its reliability, as well as sound and video quality and has, as a result, evolved into an excellent communications tool at every level. In other words, the company is well positioned to perfect 3D technology for use in video calling.

Skype could be a little too late to the 3D party for its efforts to be worthwhile, especially with 4K TVs now getting all of the attention, but recent sales figures suggest that 3D home entertainment is still in the game.

Edited by Alisen Downey