Microsoft Announces Skype TX for TV Broadcasters
Fresh off the acquisition of Cat and Mouse, the software giant targets TV studios with a new offering that delivers high-quality, real-time streaming.Often used to stream live interviews on newscasts, Skype is no stranger to TV. Nonetheless, Microsoft envisions a bigger role for the technology, and the company is sharing those ambitions at the National Association of Broadcasters' 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. With the conference as a backdrop, Microsoft announced Skype TX, software that enables TV studios to better integrate the voice and video streaming platform into their productions. The technology is based, in large part, on the company's recent acquisition of its broadcast partner Cat and Mouse. Based in England, Cat and Mouse specializes in Skype-based, video over IP broadcasting software. Its CatCall works with TV studio systems to bring audio and video to air with call quality optimizations, full-screen support, and a number of multifeed management and switching capabilities. "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," said Angie Hill, general manager of Skype Consumer Marketing, in an April 7 Skype Big Blog post. The new, professional-grade product "delivers high quality audio and video output to seamlessly connect broadcast and media productions with people around the world," she added.
Skype TX delivers full-frame Skype video and audio via the TV broadcast SDI standard (serial digital interface) and supports HD-SDI video input and output for high-definition programming, said Hill. Additionally, it automatically converts aspect ratio and provides balanced audio input and output. As a professional-grade product, it dispenses with pop-ups and notifications that are present in the consumer builds of Skype and could otherwise mar a polished TV broadcast.