The End of the MP3? Opus Audio Codec promises better sound with less bandwidth

by Daniel McKleinfield – via Digital Trends

Did you know there was such a thing as an Internet Engineering Task Force?  Turns out, there’s a “large open international community of network designers, vendors, and researchers,” whose mission is to organize, codify, research and document evolving standards for online applications.  And this week, they approved the Opus Interactive Audio Codec as a new standard for online audio, in a move that may improve the sound of everything from streaming radio to VoIP calls, even as it lowers prices.

The Opus codec was developed by a consortium of researchers from Mozilla, Xiph.org, Skype, Microsoft, and Broadcomm. Previous audio codecs have been optimized for specific uses – MP3 for music, SILK for voice, and so on –– but Opus promises better sound for everything, no matter how low your bitrate.  Opus switches between different codecs based on how much bandwidth it detects, so it can reduce latency and drop-outs on any connection.

Even more exciting than how Opus works is how it’s been developed.  Although plenty of patents have been filed around the technology, all the companies involved in Opus have committed to making the codec royalty-free, with an open-source code base.

Read full story at DigitalTrends.com

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