Skype’s new “Opus” audio codec set to deliver CD quality sound over VoIP

by: ŠtefanSeptember 13, 2012

Skype, while not the first voice over IP client, is one of the most widely used. We use it here at Android Authority on a daily basis and we’re consistently impressed with the kind of sound quality it delivers. The company thinks it can do better though, so they’re introducing a new codec called “Opus“. Their old codec, known as “SILK”, came out in early 2009. Since then Skype’s engineers have been hard at work making a new codec that they say will deliver CD quality sound while also being more efficient in terms of bandwidth. Translation: If you have a poor connection then you’ll experience less choppiness. If you’re on a fast connection, the person on the other end of the call will sound like they’re in the same room with you.

When will we be able to use “Opus”? Hopefully at some point in the next few months. When will this codec come to Skype’s mobile client? That we really don’t know. Is “Opus” proprietary and available only to Skype clients? Absolutely not! It’s completely free and Skype encourages other companies to start using it. One of the hottest VoIP clients right now is Viber, which is kind of like Skype, except that it doesn’t require a username and a password. Instead it works by making you an account using your phone number. If you and your friends have Viber installed then you can text each other and call each other for free. We’re big fans of the service and hope that the company will integrate “Opus” as soon as possible.

If you’re interested in more technical details, then we encourage you to watch this 45 minute video below. It features Jean-Marc Valin, Senior Platform Developer at Mozilla, breaking down what “Opus” is, where it currently is in terms of being becoming a standard at the IETF, and other things that will probably go over most people’s heads. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

  • Nicholas Podges

    Skype is not solely responsible for Opus.
    Please read up and correct the post.
    “Opus is the result of a collaboration between Xiph.Org, Mozilla, Microsoft (yes!), Broadcom, Octasic, and Google.”
    more info / via:


    ‘Skype’s new “Opus”’, stopped reading right there. Since microsoft bought skype it turned into shit. How exactly you might ask? The encryption got tampered with
    so that microsoft and ofcourse the USA government can eavesdrop on calls
    and they started logging chat messages. The single most important thing
    about any software used to exhange potentially private information is
    encryption. I’m so glad there’s Jitsi and as time passes and it matures
    the masses will slowly mitigate from skype to jitsi.

  • Techie007

    Opus and Vorbis support in Internet Explorer for HTML5 is now up for vote. Please vote it up here so that webpages using HTML5 audio with Opus will work in Internet Explorer (all you need is an email address to vote):

    Chrome, Firefox, and Opera already support these awesome codecs. Since Internet Explorer is currently the world’s #2 most popular web browser, support from Internet Explorer will help market adoption, even if you don’t use Internet Explorer.