The EBU has published a new Subtitling Format specification (EBU Tech 3350). The new format is called EBU Timed Text (EBU-TT) and provides an easy-to-use method to interchange and archive subtitles in XML.



From floppy to file


EBU-TT schematic EBU-TT is based on the W3C Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) specification. The EBU format can be seen as a constrained version of the W3C spec, aimed at providing a solution more tailored to broadcast operation. This is especially relevant as broadcasters are increasingly moving to file-based HDTV facilities including the creation, editing, exchange and archiving of subtitles.


The previous EBU subtitling format was EBU STL (Tech 3264), developed at a time when information was still exchanged on floppy discs. However, as many broadcasters still use STL or have archived STL files, great care was taken in the development of EBU-TT to make sure that it provides backwards compatibility with its predecessor.



Comments welcome


The EBU Group on Subtitles in XML, led by Andreas Tai (IRT), invites developers and users to test EBU-TT and provide feedback via by 31 March 2012 at the latest. Comments received will be used to improve the specification if necessary. Irrespective of that, the group aims to continue the work on subtitling in XML. A next step is to work on a specification for live subtitling, which is used more and more throughout Europe. Being able to capture the live subtitles in a common format (e.g. for playback) is an essential requirement. Addressing this and other use cases, the EBU Group expects to see additional EBU-TT parts to be provided in the near future.


For more information on EBU-TT click here.

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