skip to Main Content

IETF CODEC News: OPUS Is Ready For Testing

On the mailing list of the IETF’s CODEC working group Jean-Marc Valin made a significant announcement on Feb 4th. It reads as follows:

Hi everyone,

We’d like to announce that the Opus codec is now ready for testing. The bit-stream is now is a “pseudo-freeze”, which means that unless a problem is found during testing/review, there are no longer any changes planned. The only exception to this are the SILK-mode FEC and the stereo SILK mode, which should be landing in the next few days. Considering that these are not critical features, we felt like the testing phase could already begin.

<snip>

Cheers,

Jean-Marc

Please recall that OPUS is the new codec arising from the combination of CELT and Skype’s SILK. It’s multiple operating modes accommodate many different applications, from extremely low-latency high-quality links between production studios, to voice applications on very low bit-rate channels. OPUS brings us the current state-of-the-art in audio codec technology in a royalty-free, open source form.

Read More

Mythbusting Skype, SILK & The Freetalk Everyman Headset

It has been said that, “the devil is in the details.” It has also been noted that I’m fussy about such things. After all, it usually takes little or no extra effort to get something right, often with much benefit moving forward.

Cast in this light I would like to revisit the Freetalk Everyman Headset being offered by InStore Solutions through the Skype online store. You may recall that I reviewed this device a while ago. I found it to be a decent product at a very attractive price. I’ve recommended it to a number of people, and none have come back to complain.

I think that USB attached audio devices, whether headset or speakerphone, are exceptionally convenient. They isolate the low-level analog signal handling from the harsh electrical environment inside a computer, often allowing for improved noise performance. They also save us from the painful prospect of loading unique device drivers.

Read More

Review: ClearOne Chat 160 USB Conference Phone

In my travels there have been times when I’ve engaged in some very long phone calls. It may be that I’m speaking to my wife while killing time in some far off hotel, or perhaps consulting with an associate on a tech support matter. In such circumstances I’ve come to believe that a USB attached speakerphone and a soft phone can be a very convenient combination.

USB attached audio devices are handy when you have a computer readily available. Being USB attached they save you the trouble of finding a way to provide network connectivity for a traditional IP conference phone.

Read More

Xiph.org Offers New CELT Demonstrations

Just before the holidays the folks at Xiph.org put up a nice demonstration page with a lot of detail about their CELT codec. Word of this new offering was announced on the IETF CODEC mailing list.

The samples and explanations provided are first rate. They clearly illustrate the merit in ultra-low-latency for some applications, as well as exemplify how CELT currently fares against other common codecs at a variety of bit-rates and with various types of source material.

Read More

Introducing The Freetalk Connect PBX With Skype Integration

Today marks the launch of the Freetalk Connect PBX from In-Store Solutions. Freetalk Connect is a small business PBX appliance that includes close integration with Skype.

Freetalk Connect was initially announced in January at ITEXPO East. Thomas Howe, CTO of In-Store Solutions, made a guest appearance on a VUC call on August 13th to discuss the device. At that time we learned that Freetalk Connect is based upon Asterisk and Skype-For-Asterisk.

Read More

Skype & The New Skype 5.0 For Windows

After many months in beta Skype For Windows 5.0 went “Gold” a couple of weeks ago. The release was made available to all for down load. As I was running the beta I dutifully downloaded the final release to my various Windows systems.

While I was running the beta release I can’t say that I was an active participant in the beta program. I wanted to try the multi-way video calling, which was said to be the major new feature in the release. It works about as you’d expect. You can make video calls to up to ten people, but the video will be at best VGA resolution.

I’ve made a few test calls using this new video calling capability, but it has not worked its way into my routine. Interestingly, there seems to be little interest in video calling using soft clients within the ranks of my employer. People have the webcams but can’t be bothered to use them. In fact, we mostly use Skype for IM and ad hoc file exchange. Even escalating from Skype IM to voice chat is pretty rare.

Read More
Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: