The EBU has today published EBU-TT part 1, with TT standing for Timed Text. It's a follow-up to the widely used EBU STL specification, which was originally published in 1991 (when the medium for exchange of subtitles was the 3.5" floppy disk!). The new format is XML-based, which makes it 'human readable' and more suited to modern integrated file-based production methods.
EBU-TT is a simplified version of the W3C Timed Text specification, which means it fits well into the broad family that includes W3C TTML and SMPTE TT, which is more focused on the US environment and on distribution. EBU-TT was developed by the EBU's XML Subtitles group, chaired by Andreas Tai of IRT (the technology and research centre for German language public broadcasters.
Part 1 (Tech 3350) has been published, defining a structure for the interchange and archiving of subtitles; part 2, now being drafted, will provide mapping guidance for users who want to migrate from EBU STL to EBU-TT. Work has also started towards a specification for live subtitling, with a workshop scheduled for 9 August.
IBC 2012 will provide a good opportunity to meet directly with group participants and industry experts. Vendor visits have been organized for Friday 7 September - click here for info.