In its ongoing efforts to improve its popular videoconferencing/VoIP service, Skype (News - Alert) recently unveiled a new codec that will allow users to make higher quality voice calls. The company says that voice quality will be comparable to CD quality with this new codec.
"Because Opus was designed for the Internet, it can adjust seamlessly on-the-fly between any of its operating modes to adjust to variations in available internet resources, whether moving from 3G to Wi-Fi or competing with the house next door for broadband bandwidth," said Skype audio-video product engineering director, Karlheinz Wurm in a statement.
As such, the new codec, called Opus, offers top-quality voice under practically any condition. Opus has a number of mechanisms to help it cope and recover from packet loss in a network, meaning fewer gaps and lost moments.
Skype's current audio codec, SILK, was introduced in 2009 and has been used to transmit some 750 billion Skype-to-Skype minutes since. But, while SILK has served the public well, Skype wanted to develop a standardizing codec "built for the Internet" — something it has accomplished with Opus.
"We believe that Opus will be the new, free, go-to codec for real time communication, streaming and storage, and we are excited to see its birth as a fully-fledged IETF standard," said Wurm. "If you'll pardon the pun, Opus will make a quiet but crystal clear entry into the world - most people will take for granted the high sound fidelity when it arrives in the Skype client, through browsers and gateways, and we hope on mobile phones, game consoles and conference rooms, too."
Opus handles the tasks of what was previously an entire collection of codecs used to handle all audio tasks, with different licensing and pricing agreements. Best of all, Opus offers the same capability of these different codecs not only with higher quality, but also with greater efficiency, meaning reduced data usage.
Skype also recently partnered with purchase payment provider Mach to allow for direct Skype minutes billing alongside users' mobile phone bills.
Furthermore, former Skype head of business development, Perry Teevens, has left the company for LiveDeal as its senior vice president of business development.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman