Skype has updated its blog post titled “Upgrade to the latest version of Skype”. The main thing to know is that support for Skype version 7 (also known as Classic Skype) and all previous versions of Skype, will end on November 1, 2018 on desktop and on November 15, 2018, on mobile and tablet devices.
Skype very much wants people to stop using the older versions of Skype and begin using Skype 8. The blog post states: “Although you may be able to use older versions for a little while, we encourage you to update today to avoid any interruption.”
Skype has received feedback about the problems with Skype 8, and has released information about things they are working on to fix issues they identify as the features most requested by users. To me, it feels like the features Skype is working on are probably useful for those who use Skype to record business meetings and calls.
I think that the audio quality in Skype 8 might be sufficient for business purposes. Unfortunately, it’s not ideal for podcast recording. I find it frustrating that there isn’t anything in Skype’s “to do” list that indicates they will make the recording quality in Skype suitable for the multitude of podcasters who have been using Skype for so many years.
Personally, I know of one podcast that is currently having issues with the audio quality of the show recordings that were made through Skype 8. I’m also aware of another that ditched Skype altogether in favor of using Discord for recording their shows. A host from that podcast recently tweeted something indicating that they found Discord to be a vast improvement over Skype 8.
Image from StockSnap.io
Skype announced that it will now be possible for people to use Skype without having a Skype account. They wanted to make it easier for people to start a conversation with a loved one or colleague as quickly as possible.
This new change appears to be aimed at people who do not currently have a Skype account. A person can join Skype as a Guest without having to register or download Skype. A Guest can go to Skype.com, tap the “Start a conversation” button, and add their name.
The Guest will be provided with a unique conversation link that they can share with their contacts. They can share it individually or as a group, via email, or through their social networks. When a person clicks on that shared link, he or she will be able to join that conversation immediately. They can also join as a Guest if they are using Skype for Web.
Guests can use all of Skype’s free features, including one to one and group messaging, voice and video calls, screen sharing, and file sharing. You can invite up to 300 people to chat and up to 25 people on a voice or video call – all for free.
When using Skype as a Guest, your conversation will last for 24 hours. If you want to return to the conversation, call a landline, mobile, or translate a conversation in real-time with Skype Translator, you will need to sign up for a free Skype account.
I think this new change will help people to stay in touch with relatives who live far away. You can now point your relative, who doesn’t use the internet very often, toward Skype’s website and start a conversation with a few clicks of a button.
Are you having problems using Skype today? This time, you can be absolutely certain that the problem is not on your end. Skype is aware of the problem and is working on it.
At 11:00 UTC, Skype posted an article on its blog that was titled: Issues With Skype status and calling. The first line says it all: “We have detected an issue that is affecting Skype in a number of ways”. From the blog:
If you’re signed in to Skype you will not be able to change your status and your contacts will all show as offline even if they are online. As a result, you won’t be able to start Skype calls to them.
A small number of messages to group chats are not being delivered, but in most cases you can still instant message your contacts.
If you aren’t signed in to Skype, you may be experiencing difficulty when attempting to sign in. Any changes to your Skype account such as your Credit balance or your profile details might take a little while to be displayed.
The following tweet was posted on the @Skype verified Twitter account.
A similarly worded tweet was posted on the @SkypeSupport verified Twitter account.
It appears that the best way to find out when Skype is working properly again is via Twitter. It seems that both of Skype’s Twitter accounts might provide further information when they know more about the issue. In the meantime, competing company ooVoo seems to be taking advantage of the situation.
Skype has announced a new solution for broadcasters that will be available sometime in 2014. Skype TX is studio grade software that delivers high quality audio and video output to seamlessly connect broadcast and media productions with people from around the world.
This improved offering from Skype was made possible as a result of Skype’s acquisition of Cat and Mouse. Skype has built on the existing Cat and Mouse technology to deliver a high quality hardware and software Skype integration directly into a studio environment.
Studio Grade Skype TX seamlessly adds full-frame Skype video and audio via SDI. It is optimized for broadcast workflow with API integration and call management. It enables a single operator to manage multi-channel calls and to create compelling new formats with HD-SDI Skype video feeds direct to your switcher. Skype video feeds are processed into several audio formats. The most notable is that it will be free of audio/visual distractions such as call notifications and ads.
Skype TX is fully supported by a specialist Microsoft-trained broadcast technical team. For more information, Skype suggests you visit their Skype In Media website.
While the web swoons over the new Facebook “graph search”, Microsoft web communications service Skype is aiming towards a more musical crowd. Honestly, it may be a similar audience, but the announcements today still seem far apart. While Mark Zuckerburg occupied the stage earlier, Microsoft was letting everyone know that the pop star would be available for a group video call very soon.
“Now’s your chance to see Lady Gaga live, uncut and offstage. Watch as our lucky sweepstakes winners talk upcoming music, costumes and backstage moments — all live, and face-to-face, with Lady Gaga”, stated Skype’s Leanne Johnson in a blog post earlier today.
The event will take place on Thursday, January 17th at 2pm PST. You can submit a question in hopes that she may actually answer it. Microsoft has set up a special web site at Skypeball.com/skypewithgaga for the occasion.
Over the past 3-4 years, I have been very successful in incorporating Skype into my various podcasts. Earlier this year I upgraded my windows based 2 channel SD Skype solution to one that is HD Mac based. I have depicted the solution I am currently using. Be aware that my end goal was to always have the guest appear full screen in my video production and not just filmed on the monitor. For those shows that want to simply focus a camera at the monitor, you can eliminate a large portion of this design.
I have a two channel solution, so you would need to double the gear shown here to have two people participate. You can easily utilize a different video ingestion system. I happen to use a Tricaster 855 for my studio. Some content creators use a Video capture card from Blackmagic design to ingest the Skype video into there system for use with something like Wirecast.
Feel free to copy the design or improve upon it. If you do improve upon the design be sure to leave a comment on what you did to improve the design.
Gear as Shown:
Mac Mini (Base Model)($599.00)
EBTECH Hum Eliminator ($80.00)
Mackie Mixer (Any Mixer with Mix Minus will work)
Atlona HDMI Distribution Amplifier ($299.00)
HP Monitor ($265.00)
Black Magic Design HDMI to SDI Converter ($295.00)
Tricaster 860 or Other Video Ingest Card / System
(OLD) Canopus ADVC 300 Analog to Digital Video Converter
(New) Magwell SDI – USB Video Capture Dongle
Note: When the Internet connection is slow, and I have two guest on sharing the same Internet connection sometimes the Skype Video reverts to SD this is Skype’s way of throttling to keep the video quality up. I only push SD video back to the guest to preserve bandwidth.
Example of HD Skype Video Recorded on Master Recording.
Example of Two Guest on HD Skype System from camera shot.
First thing you are going to ask, what the heck is the Ohana Saurus. Well its the Skype setup I use to bring guest into my show. For the past couple of years we have been operating with a older pc based system that frankly needed to be updated. I did a lot of research and was trying to maximize the utilization of what new gear I would buy. I settled on building my new system with Mac Mini’s as they can also be used in the render farm when I am using Final Cut.
Here is the new Setup and Video / Audio Flow.
Skype Video – Out
Mac Mini – HDMI Video Out to Atlona
Atlona 1×4 HDMI Video Distribution Amp to HDMI 1 & 2
HDMI 1 – Show Monitor HP ZR2240W
HDMI 2 – Black Magic Design HDMI SDI Converter to Tricaster
SDI Video Feed to Tricaster Channel 5/6
Skype Video – In
Tricaster – Video Out to Kramer 1×5 Video Distribution Unit
Kramer 1×5 VDU to 2x Canopus ADVC 300
Canopus ADVC 300 to Mac Mini Firewire Port
Mac Mini to EBTECH Hum Eliminator
EBTech Hum Eliminator to Mackie ONYX 162oi
Note on Audio we use Aux sends on the Mackie for cross talk across the two skype channels.
There are a dozen ways to make one of these systems. But we have true 1080i video that is feeding the tricaster and the monitors. Our shakedown show today and everything went perfect. We have some light leveling to do on the monitors but this upgrade was long overdue.