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Skype Unveils 'CD-Quality' Internet Calls

September 13, 2012 | Telepresence Options
Videoconferencing giant Skype has unveiled a new codec that will allow users to make "CD-quality" calls over the Internet.
Skype audio-video product engineering director Karlheinz Wurm said the codec, "Opus," will allow state-of-the-art performance "under any condition."
"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 WiFi or competing with the house next door for broadband bandwidth," Wurm said in a blog post.
Wurm added Opus has multiple mechanisms to deal with and recover from packet loss in the network, promising fewer gaps in conversation and lost moments in calls.
"Future Skype users will talk in CD quality (fullband stereo) using Skype," he said.
According to Wurm, Skype introduced SILK, its own audio codec, in 2009, and has used it to serve more than 750 billion Skype-to-Skype minutes.
But he said Skype initiated the idea of developing and standardizing a codec "built for the internet."
"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," he said.
"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," he added.
Wurm said this will be a break from the past, where one needed "a myriad" of different codecs to handle all audio tasks, all with different licensing or pricing agreements.
He said Skype hopes to see wide adoption of Opus, adding bringing consistent audio quality to all users on every device "will make everyone's communications a little more wonderful every day."
Higher quality, more bandwidth-efficient
Wurm said Opus is higher-quality than a broad collection of existing codecs for both voice and music, and is friendly to mobile data network operators as is more efficient, using up fewer megabytes.
He added Opus is versatile, efficient and smart, working across an unprecedented range of bitrates, sampling rates and frame sizes.
"It is efficient for speech yet still great for music," he said. -- TJD, GMA News

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