New Skype Alternatives for Internet Broadcasting

Skype-alternativesI have an issue with “meta“ things. I blog, but I’m not engaged with the broader realm of bloggers. Blogging about blogging baffles me. Similarly, although I’ve been involved in the VUC since 2008, I’m not really engaged in the world of podcasters/internet broadcasters. I’m trying to work on this by sharing some of the techniques that I’ve discovered in doing VUC calls.

Last fall I was advising podcaster Mike Phillips with some issues of audio quality with respect to remote participants in podcasts.  He appears to be a frequent contributor to the blog of the IAIB. It was there that I stumbled upon a post recommending Skype Alternatives For Internet Broadcasting.

This post implies that Skype is tremendously popular in this space, and yet there is some desire to seek out functional alternatives. The author, Andrew Zarian, offers the following list of alternatives; Google+ Hangouts, Zoom, Apple’s FaceTime and Cisco’s Jabber. All are certainly worthy of consideration.

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Questioning New Dimensions In Conference Audio

Headset vs Conference PhoneI’ve long had a fascination with spatial audio processing. This was in part why Voxeet caught my attention when the service initially launched. It was over a year before we were able to have them appear on VUC #471 on January 10th.

From that session you may recall that Voxeet offers a binaural conference service. Participants join a conference using a PC smart phone application. They use a stereo headset allowing the client application to provide placement of the individual participants within a controlled sound stage.

Voxeet is interesting. However, it’s not exactly clear what aspect of the service is most compelling. At point of launch they used the Speex audio codec, which allows wideband audio (aka HDVoice.)

In the recent v2 release their PC client has been moved to a WebRTC foundation, leveraging Opus. I’ve done a quick analysis of their updated online demo. Newly fitted with American voices where there were once French accents, it presents 16 KHz usable audio path, suggesting a 32 KHz sample rate. It certainly sounds very good.

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This is the sort of “3D” that I will not up with put!

3DRemember the opening sequence Sesame Street? Well, this post is brought to you by the number 3 and the letter D…cuz some of you weren’t paying attention all those years ago!

Both Voxeet and Dolby Voice are interesting binaural conference services. However, some of the marketecture being deployed sets off alarm bells in my mind. Despite claims to the contrary, and the echo of such claims by the media, I don’t believe that what they offer is “3D audio.”

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