SMPTE and DPP collaborate to deliver draft SMPTE spec

SMPTE and the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) announced the success of a first-of-a-kind pilot project to define a prototype SMPTE Specifications process. SMPTE and DPP have delivered the first draft SMPTE Specification, which focuses on the use of the Interoperable Master Format (IMF), or SMPTE ST 2067, for broadcast and online applications.

The DPP delivered the working drafts of the IMF Requirements and IMF Specification for broadcast and online applications to SMPTE last week at the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, California. The documents represent input by the DPP, SMPTE, the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), as well as manufacturers and end users across the media industry.

Now out for public comment, the draft specification for IMF for broadcast and online applications will address constraints including MXF Track Files, composition playlists (CPLs), output profile lists (OPLs), and IMF packages. The specification will reference other activities as well, such as the project for carrying quality-control metadata and EBU-TT, and it includes optional methods for carrying traditional EBU-STL subtitles in Europe and CTA-608/CTA-708 captions in North America.

Built upon the IMF standard, this first SMPTE Specification will play a critical role in enabling broadcasters to use IMF workflows with their existing content archives, and it also will facilitate the realisation of file-based interoperability on a large scale. By providing manufacturers with the guidance they need to move forward in designing and building readers, writers, and analysers, the specification will bring the benefits of IMF more fully into the broadcast and online realm.

“This pilot project with the DPP has allowed our organisations to streamline the process of developing and putting out for comment the very first SMPTE Specification,” said SMPTE Standards Vice President Bruce Devlin. “With greater agility in the development process, specifications are well-suited to addressing early-stage technologies and business-driven constraints. A healthy debate at the HPA Tech Retreat showed that there is an industry need for this type of specification, which can formalize technology quickly and reduce the friction involved in the subsequent creation of a robust standard.”

The prototype SMPTE Specifications process will be exercised with these documents, and the process itself will be documented and reviewed by the SMPTE Board of Governors before being offered to the industry as a specifications service open to all.

“These new technical specifications for IMF, tailored to the broadcast and online communities, turn the challenge of versioning into an opportunity. It is a great example of how standards and specifications can solve real-world business problems,” said SMPTE UK Regional Governor and Managing Director of DPP Mark Harrison. “We’re delighted to be able to announce publication of these documents for comment ahead of schedule and in advance of the 2018 NAB Show.”

Once they are finalised, the new SMPTE documents will join other SMPTE technical publications, including standards, that help manufacturers, engineers, and technologists to develop new products and services in broadcasting, cinema, and online video. The draft documents are available at

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