Microsoft Announces Studio-Grade Skype TX for Broadcasters

Microsoft’s latest messaging tech, Skype TX, integrates high-quality Skype calls into broadcasting. The new product, which bypasses ads and notifications, is studio-grade software that offers improved video and audio quality. It features HD-SDI video output and input, balanced audio output and input, auto aspect ratio conversion, support for multiple calls and API integration. Microsoft envisions TV shows, news programs and live events using Skype TX to connect with people outside of the studio.

Skype TX comes as a result of Skype’s recent acquisition of Cat and Mouse, a longtime broadcast partner that developed a Skype video-audio routing system for optimizing calls and resizing video imaging without forcing adjustment converters.

“We’ve built on the existing Cat and Mouse technology to deliver a high quality hardware and software Skype integration direct into a studio environment,” writes Angie Hill on the official Skype blog.

Skype hopes to expand its use in the media industry with the improved technology. Already, television shows such as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel” and “The X Factor” use Skype to have celebrities make guest appearances without being in the studio. News programs also use Skype to stream video and audio from journalists and interviewees around the world.

Live events can also integrate Skype TX so that viewers can be closer than ever to their favorite actors on the red carpet of a movie premiere or their favorite athletes at a big sporting competition. For example, patients of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles were able to ask questions through video messaging to actors from the movie “Thor: The Dark World.”

In another integration, composer and conductor Eric Whitacre brought 30 vocalists around the world to join in a Vancouver choir performance live over a video call. With Skype TX, Microsoft hopes that broadcasters will be able to continue to innovate using the improved audio and video calling services in their productions.

Skype has several video examples posted on its Skype in Media page.

“Media organizations are now being asked to sign up for more information about the technology’s availability, but Microsoft is not revealing either pricing details or an estimated ship date at this time,” reports TechCrunch. “Great news, Skype. But now that broadcasters are taken care of, how about some audio and video improvements for the rest of us, hmm?”