SMPTE said today that it is partnering with the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) — a U.K. nonprofit founded by the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV — on joint development of an Interoperable Master Format (IMF) specification for broadcast and online.
The relevant SMPTE standard, ST 2067, deals with file-based interchange of finished multiversion audio-visual works. That means it must deal with multilanguage requirements, including such elements as subtitles and closed captions, and other metadata. After the DPP developed similar specifications for the U.K., it began working with the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) to adapt them to work in the U.S.
Though the IMF specification is not complete, it has been in use for some time. In 2014, Sony began delivering episodes of Breaking Bad remastered in UHD to Netflix using what the streaming service called an early subset of the IMF specification.
“One of the original DPP core objectives was to achieve a common, agreed set of technical requirements for the delivery of television programs to U.K. broadcasters, and our work on the IMF broadcast specification falls neatly in line with this goal,” said DPP MD Mark Harrison in a prepared statement. “Working with SMPTE, NABA, the European Broadcasting Union, manufacturers, and end users across the media industry, we plan to create a specification that brings the benefits of IMF more fully into the broadcast and online realm.”
SMPTE said it plans to move through draft and final proposal stages with a series of plug-fests and product tests that will lead up to publication of the final spec in time for NAB 2018. The goal is to implement a system that addresses the myriad metadata requirements of television and OTT while fitting into broadcasters’ sizable existing archives of content.
Updates about progress on the project will be posted at the DPP’s website, SMPTE said.