BAYSIDE, CALIFORNIA, June 10, 2013 — StreamGuys will give radio broadcasters more options for high-quality, low-latency audio streams through support of Ogg Opus, the new versatile, open-source audio codec standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Its royalty-free status eliminates licensing fees for broadcasters, minimizing costs while enhancing the online listening experience. Ogg Opus incorporates technology from the Skype-developed, speech-oriented SILK codec and the low-latency CELT, developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation as a next-generation music codec. These diverse strengths enable Ogg Opus to scale seamlessly from 8kb/s lo-fi audio all the way to full-band, high-fidelity music and surround sound.
For the benefit of broadcasters, Ogg Opus offers both exceptional audio quality and very low delay, distinguishing itself from audio codecs that excel in one category but lack in the other. For example, MP3 supports broadcast-quality audio but often lags noticeably behind real-time broadcasts. Ogg Opus also offers a natural transition to the similar Ogg Vorbis by delivering higher audio quality at a lower bitrate.
Eduardo Martinez, Director of Technology for StreamGuys, expects Ogg Opus will initially attract radio broadcasters interested in cutting-edge formats. He cites its ability to support a wide variety of bitrates as attractive for broadcasters concerned with bandwidth usage, while emphasizing the cost-free benefit. “Broadcasters don’t have to pay for the encoder or decoder since they are royalty-free,” said Martinez. “And broadcasters using open-source audio programming tools like Liquidsoap to generate live streams today can benefit from Ogg Opus immediately. It’s a very compelling advanced audio option for broadcasters that want to improve the quality and delay of their online streams while keeping costs low.”
StreamGuys is the first CDN to give broadcasters that option by efficiently transcoding live Icecast feeds into Ogg Opus streams. Monty Montgomery, Executive Director at the Xiph.Org Foundation, believes that StreamGuys will be instrumental in driving greater demand for Ogg Opus streams in the broadcast space, which he notes is currently split across many different, older codecs — a splintering he views as a potential disadvantage to the broadcast industry.
“Opus defines the new state-of-the-art: It is higher fidelity, lower latency, more efficient and more flexible than any other audio codec,” said Montgomery. “Opus, as one codec, does a better job at the same bitrate, and can scale across an entire range of speech, music and interactive uses — seamlessly and dynamically in the same stream, and without the need to license, pay or request permission. It is technology available to everyone just like the Internet itself.”
Montgomery adds that its royalty-free status further simplifies adoption through compatibility with free media player software, including VLC, WinAmp and Firefox Mozilla, which natively supports Ogg Opus through its HTML5 audio tag.
Martinez emphasizes that StreamGuys will maintain its position as a codec-agnostic CDN, and simply offer Ogg Opus as a new option. He notes that StreamGuys’ cloud-based architecture is capable of simultaneously transcoding live feeds into multiple formats (mp3, HE-AAC, Ogg Vorbis, etc.) and bitrates to meet a variety of broadcaster requirements around the world.
“We can essentially relay a broadcaster’s live Ogg Opus streams locally – ideal for streaming live concerts – or provide a streaming platform that translates Ogg Opus into our global network,” said Martinez. “This allows broadcasters to deliver another format option alongside existing streams, at once preserving bandwidth and expanding their audience reach.”
About StreamGuys, Inc. In business since 2000, StreamGuys is a provider of audio and video streaming toolsets and services. The company has a reputation for outstanding customer service, a robust and reliable network, and competitive rates. More than 600 clients worldwide, across many industries, depend on their mission-critical service. Projects include serving as the technology backbone for live streaming/podcasting for top public broadcasters such as New York Public Radio, WAMU Washington D.C., KQED San Francisco and WXPN Philadelphia; live video events for major auto racing circuits and the British Royal Wedding; audio streaming for government entities such as D.C. Court of Appeals, U.S. Army, and the National Science Foundation; mobile video content for Cisco Systems; and IPTV content for international broadcaster ABS-CBN.