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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Skype and a New Audio Codec!

Skype has quietly revolutionized the sound quality of our daily communications. We introduced SILK, our own audio codec, to make our calls sound more like being there in person in January 2009. Since then, we've used it to serve more than 750 billion Skype-to-Skype minutes.

Skype initiated the idea of developing and standardizing a codec 'built for the internet' and usable by everybody else within the IETF back in March 2009. Senior Skype Architect and Distinguished Engineer Koen Vos and our audio team began work on it in June 2009. After objections were overcome, Opus was submitted to the IETF in September 2010.

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.

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.

In the past, you needed a myriad of different codecs to handle all audio tasks, all with different licensing or pricing agreements. Now you just need one: Opus.

We think it's worth making some noise for Opus, celebrating that it is built on Skype's highly-successful SILK codec and thanking both the Skype and our friends in the IETF community who have worked with us - the people who made it happen.

We hope to see wide adoption of Opus, and we care passionately about audio and video quality. We really believe that bringing consistent audio quality to all our users on every device will make everyone's communications a little more wonderful every day.

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