Skype 4.0 audio: smooth as SILK

by alec on February 4, 2009

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Since early yesterday morning I’ve been running the Skype 4.0 final release on a number of my PC’s. Skype announced the new software, and I grabbed it before heading to the office.  For several months now, I’ve also been running the Skype 4.0 betas in the same environment, except on my HP mini netbook, where the 4.0 UI was a little large for it’s diminutive screen. 

Skype 4.0 is the best Skype yet, bar none.  Skype has streamlined the user experience in multiple ways – from install, to call setup, IM, and more.  In the process they’ve made Skype more accessible to more users than ever before.   SkypeJournal has two detailed posts on the new Skype user experience and how it was designed which describe this in more detail than I will here.

Perhaps the biggest improvement, though, is audio quality.  We all thought that Skype audio was great, right?  Skype’s internally developed SILK codec slipped into the final release, despite not having been in prior betas. A wideband codec that delivers the goods at half the bitrate of prior codecs, SILK makes talking on Skype a pure pleasure.  I had calls yesterday from Andy Abramson at the ITEXPO show in Miami, and Jim Courtney from his home in Mississauga.  The difference is noticeable, and worth the download alone.

Download Skype 4.0 here.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

conference service February 4, 2009 at 5:13 am

well i love skype for sure.

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Alec February 4, 2009 at 8:45 am

That's a business question for Skype leadership Frank. Technology is technology, and where there's a will, there's a way. I've heard via the grapevine, however, that the codec is designed to be able to be dropped into silicon. If so, then you might expect new devices with this capability to come to market.

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Frank February 4, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Do you think that this new wideband codec can be applied or re-configured in order to work with other voip services in the future? I feel that if so, skype could sell the codec to other providers to create a new revenue stream, or maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, what do you think?

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