Culture and Sports / Information and Communications / Society / Technology

An information platform based on the videophones of the 20th century. Modern videophones also allow the user to turn off the video feature if they want, and it is possible to send still picture- and text-only messages as well. Videophones started to become widespread at the beginning of the century, but with privacy concerns and changes in communications practices, nearly all calls have now become either voice- or text-only, with video calls common only between close friends and family members. The decline of the video feature could be cited as one of the effects of the information explosion that occurred shortly after the turn of the century. Home versions are usually integrated into an information terminal as standard. Public videophone terminals are frequently the targets of vandalism, many having their cameras broken, with the result that governments have decided not to install cameras on all future terminals. Today's videophone differs from previous videophones in that the visual output is reduced in size to allow for faster processing, and it frequently employs burst lines, which codify communications to prevent eavesdropping.