EBU to standardize subtitling for file-based, HD content

The EBU (European Broadcast Union) has published a new specification for subtitling, inviting comments from developers and users to be submitted by the end of March 2011. The new format, EBU Timed Text (EBU-TT), is designed to make it easier for interchanging and archiving HD, file-based content with subtitles, using the XML format. The specification is based on the W3C Timed Text Markup Language specification adjusted for the specific requirements of broadcasters. The EBU has stated that the specification will be increasingly relevant as broadcasters move to file-based, HD facilities, where subtitles are created, edited, exchanged and archived together with the content. It is particularly relevant for Europe, where there are many different languages at both the national and regional level, so that a number of broadcasters insert subtitles for minority audiences, such as the Basques in Spain, and Welsh in the UK. The previous EBU subtitling format, EBU STL, was developed for the era when subtitling information was exchanged on floppy discs rather than embedded in files.