February 4, 2009 Skype has launched version 4.0 for Windows offering full-screen video calling, a new built-in bandwidth manager that optimizes calls in relation to your connection, a new audio codec which promises wideband audio quality using 50% less bandwidth than required by previous versions, plus a number of changes designed to make the user experience easier.
Skype has now been with us for five years and in that time it's managed to make its brand synonymous with video-calling. The company says the latest update is its "most distinctive" and has listened to the feedback of tens of thousands of people in designing the new offering.
The changes to service include making it easier to start a face-to-face video call, a management system that makes the most of low-bandwidth connections and for those on 400 Kb/s or higher (plus a dual-core processor PC and a High Quality Video webcam), video at up to 30-frames-per-second.
On the audio side there's improved quality with less bandwidth plus "crystal clear, richer and warmer" super wideband audio when using a high quality broadband connection. Skype says that its bandwidth managing system also assists in getting the most reliable sound from your connection by interacting with the codec to adjust to fluctuations.
Usability improvements include easier headset, microphone and webcam set-up, a new Conversations Tab for tracking of multiple conversations and a choice of two different views - a single window "Default View" or a or Compact View in which you can resize conversation into separate windows.
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