White Plains, NY (July 18, 2017)—SMPTE and the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) have announced a joint pilot specification project to create an Interoperable Master Format (IMF) specification for broadcast and online.

SMPTE ST 2067, or IMF, is a global standard for the file-based interchange of multiversion, finished audio/visual works. The joint pilot project will deliver a technical specification for IMF in broadcast and online applications as a breakdown of different elements—video and audio packages, composition playlists (CPLs), and output profile lists (OPLs)—with references to all relevant SMPTE standards.

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Once complete, this material will be made available to manufacturers so that they can design and build readers, writers, and analyzers. The draft and final proposal stages will move forward in conjunction with a series of plugfests and product tests. The final publication of the IMF specification is expected to take place before the 2018 NAB Show.

"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 Mark Harrison, managing director at DPP. "Working with SMPTE, the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), 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."

"The IMF work is studying specific television metadata needs—from the inclusion of third-party QC reports to the metadata for compressed surround audio—of using IMF in TV applications," said Bruce Devlin, SMPTE governor for the U.K. region. "These features and the specification which is built upon the IMF standard overall are critical to the realization of file-based interoperability on a large scale, as they ensure that broadcasters can use IMF workflows with their existing content archives."