The growing popularity of content being watched on mobile devices and the availability of speech-to-text algorithms have made subtitles are more common feature of media content than ever before. There are still several competing technical solutions to deliver subtitles, but the good news is that there is growing convergence, too: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) this week decided to officially recommend IMSC 1.0.1 as a standard.
IMSC1 is a convergence point between several existing subtitling specifications that are based on W3C Timed Text, such as EBU-TT-D and SMPTE-TT. The spec promises to help implementers focus on common needs and reduce costs.
The research institute of the German public service broadcasters, the IRT, has been heavily involved in the development of subtitling formats, aligning the work of standards bodies with the day-to-day needs of broadcast operations. The potential benefits of more convergence have not gone unnoticed, which is why the IRT is organizing a special subtitling event on 24-25 May 2018 in Munich.
The goal is to bring together broadcasters, vendors, standards organizations, studios and streaming providers from around the world to talk about practical needs and available solutions, to look at what will be next and to discuss how to manage the transition. The programme is a one-stop-shop on the topic and includes updates on subtitling in Europe, the US and Asia, IMSC best practices, VR, interactive subtitles in HbbTV, subtitles in MP4 and DASH and more. Those interested in the event can register here.
The EBU has updated EBU-TT-D, aligning the standard with the recently published IMSC 1.0.1. EBU-TT-D v.1.0.1 will be available in early May 2018. For more information, join the EBU Timed Text Group.