SILK, our super wideband audio codec, is now available for free
Guest writer: Jonathan Christensen, Skype’s GM for Audio and Video
Today marks a significant moment in the journey of Skype. Some of you may be aware of the SILK speech codec which is included as part of Skype 4.0 for Windows – it’s what enables super-wideband audio and optimizes call quality, even in low network bandwidth environments. It transforms sound quality for Skype calls, and if you haven’t already tried 4.0, believe me: you should.
I’m speaking at eComm today, and have some very special news to bring our developer community – we’re making the SILK speech codec available for a royalty free license by third-party software and hardware developers soon.
What does this mean for the future of audio on the web?
SILK is Skype’s signature super wideband audio codec which achieves super wideband audio quality using 50% less network bandwidth than previously required. It is the outcome of a three year long development process in the Skype labs, which focused on four things:
- improving audio bandwidth going from 8 kHz to 12 kHz, meaning that a SILK conversation sounds like you are in the same room as the person you are speaking with
- providing real-time bandwidth scalability to deal with degraded network conditions
- balancing codec optimization between voice, music and background noise, each of which can have an impact on the overall user experience
- delivering a robust solution that delivers a more consistent audio experience, regardless of network conditions and an individual user’s voice signature
Making SILK available opens the door to its adoption as the standard across a huge range of platforms, applications and devices by web developers and chip manufacturers, as well as consumer electronics and mobile device manufacturers. By offering it for free, we are removing one of the biggest hurdles to adoption of wideband audio: cost. By doing so, I hope we’ll establish a new industry-wide standard in speech processing: clearer, richer, and warmer audio.
When can I get my hands on the code?
We are still working on the details but for more information about SILK, please visit our SILK website.