Real-time streaming audio/voice tool for Windows, Macintosh, and Unix
ToolVox delivers high-quality streaming audio on the Web with better than 53:1 compression rates, thanks largely in part to Voxware's Metavoice technology. Speech is delivered quickly and reliably, even playing while other images and aspects of the document are loading. Perhaps the most surprising part is that audio quality is not sacrificed even at such high compression rates, which has the advantageous result of fluid speech even when served from the most congested of Web sites. The ToolVox control panel allows users to operate a slidebar that slows down or speeds up the audio feed, depending on the user's preferences. One downside to ToolVox is that it only plays (not creates) audio feeds.
In contrast to competitors like RealPlayer and NetShow, buffering and playback of ToolVox files are controlled by the player; as a result, any standard HTML server can act as a streaming audio media server. This feature alone is bound to please webmasters and audiophiles webwide as the cost (upwards of $10,000) and time of installing a special audio server are eliminated. ToolVox also gives webmasters the option of streaming long speech files (inline presentations) or downloading short files from within the Web site. ToolVox delivers high-quality streaming audio on the Web with better than 53:1 compression rates, thanks largely in part to Voxware's Metavoice technology.
With such an impressive initial release, one can only guess at how successful ToolVox could have become with continued development; unfortunately, Voxware has decided to discontinue ToolVox and focus instead on the development of audio and video codecs. As a result, v2.0 of ToolVox will be the final release of the client.
Pros: High-quality voice/audio, excellent compression rates, no server needed for playing files
Cons: Limited to audio feeds (unlike VDOLive / RealPlayer), no longer being deveoloped
Version Reviewed: 2.0
Date of Review: 5/5/98
Reviewed by: Forrest Stroud
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