EBU Timed Text (EBU-TT, EBU-TT-D) XML files

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EBU Timed Text (EBU-TT, EBU-TT-D) XML files

The EBU-TT is intended as general purpose exchange and archiving format for subtitles which supports Unicode characters. The EBU-TT is a well formed XML document which uses a subset of the attributes provided by the W3C Timed Text Markup Language a.k.a Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 – Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP).

Currently, there are couple of files which are based around the EBU-TT and EBU-TT-D specifications:

EBU-TT v.1.0 and EBU-TT v1.1 -  strictly follows the normative set by EBU-TECH 3350 - definition of the subtitling format, EBU-TECH 3360 which provides the methods for mapping/converting EBU STL into valid EBU-TT XML files. For compatibility, the older v.1.0 of the specifications is still supported.

EBU-TT v.1.0 for BBC - follows the guidlines and requirements for delivery of EBU-TT to BBC: http://bbc.github.io/subtitle-guidelines/#EBU-TT-file

EBU-TT-D - complies with EBU-TECH 3380 which specifies features for the EBU-TT-D subtitling distribution format.

EBU-TT-D for BCC - follows the guidlines and requirements for delivery of EBU-TT-D implied by BBC: http://bbc.github.io/subtitle-guidelines/#EBU-TT-D-file

The type of the output XML file can be selected from the respective Document version drop-down to the top of the configuration window.


The options available for the exported file will vary for the different Document Versions. Brief description for some of them can be reviewed below:

Open Subtitles,

Teletext level 1/2

Enables you to select the targeted Display Mode : Open, Teletext lvl 1 and Teletext lvl 2 modes have different characteristics and the subtitle files must comply with one of them. For example italics and underline are accepted for Open subtitle files, while they are not supported for Teletext ones. This option is available only when document version is EBU-TT v.1.0 or EBU-TT v.1.1.

Font Settings

From the Font Settings section you could choose the specific Font, its respective weight (bold or not) and size.

For Open subtitles, the font's size can be set as an absolute value measured in pixels or as percentage. Measuring the font's size as percentage is more universal approach thus we recommend you using it.

For Teletext subtitles, however, only the font's weight option will be available. By presumption the text should be displayed by a mono-spaced font and the size will be limited to normal or double height.


By selecting the No Change option for the Box effect, the subtitles will be saved as they were originally created and formatted. But using the dedicated Boxed option will apply the effect to all subtitles in the output file and will also enable you to choose box's Color, Opacity and Line Padding (when exporting EBU-TT-D). Opacity value of 0% mean that the box will appear fully opaque, while value of 100% will be fully transparent.

Override Text Color

By clicking this on, you can override the text color with the one selected from the color palette.

Line Padding

By usage and definition, line padding adds extra space to both sides of the subtitle line. Line Padding is available for EBU-TT v.1.1, EBU-TT-D and EBU-TT-D for BBC.

Please mind that different values may be required or accepted when exporting into each of these versions. Be sure to change the default value only if required to do so.

Timing Information

Enables you to select how the timing of the subtitles will be expressed in the output file as a SMPTE Timecode or Media time.

EBU-TT v.1.0 and EBU-TT v.1.1 can use both Media Time and SMPTE Timecode expressions;

EBU-TT-D and EBU-TT-D for BBC uses only Media Time;

EBU-TT for BBC works only with SMPTE Timecode.

Note: Background color will be exported automatically for EBU-TT v.1.0 and EBU-TT v.1.1  as long as the Background color is configured. Subtitles with box effect applied are not considered as subtitles with background.

Binary Data Tunneling

The EBU-TT specification provides an option to transport binary copy of the file contents as if they would have been saved as an STL file. It can be activated by the Tunnel STL data option.

Additionally the following options can be selected:

Character Code Table

This is the encoding of the subtitles text. Be sure that the right Character Code Table is selected.

The available choices are: Latin, Latin/Cyrillic, Latin/Greek, Latin/Arabic and Latin/Hebrew.

Characters per Row

The Characters per Row parameter is very important for teletext subtitles. The default value is 38. If the line is longer than the selected value, the extra characters are truncated.

please note that the control codes for formats like italic start/stop, color codes, double height, etc. are also counted as used characters.

When exporting to the EBU file format, you may come across this message:

 The following rows have been truncated:

Below the message follows a list of the subtitles with truncated rows (the characters outside the characters per row limit are truncated).

23 rows per subtitle

Double Height

Modifies the MNR setting in the GSI block from 11 rows per subtitle to 23 rows per subtitle.

Modifies the Vertical Position of the text as it has been formatted in Double Height i.e. one subtitle row takes two lines in the exported file.

NOTE: These options are available for Open subtitles only and are intended to help in specific situations only.

Header Code Page

This is the encoding of the text information stored in the file header like program title, episode, translator's name, etc.

Include Color Codes

If you export open subtitles you might want to choose to ignore the colors. Teletext subtitles always have color codes.

Include Box ON/OFF
control codes

This option is available for Open subtitles only and it will export "Start" and "End" box control codes for "box" formatted subtitles in the output EBU file.

please mind Ghost Box, Ghost Stripe, Stripe, Block box and Ghost Block Box all are considered as "box" presentation effects.

Force all Subtitles to
Double Height

This option is available only for teletext subtitles.

Export Center-left aligned subtitles as

EBU STL specifications doesn't support center-left aligned subtitles. Instead the editor can control how such will be exported:

Left aligned

Center Aligned

Aligned by spaces - spaces characters are inserted before the text to try and retain the center-left aligned position of the text lines.
Please mind that many of the available client requirements and specifications prohibit the use of this method because as a result the spaces may become visible.


On the Details page you can enter some additional information which will be saved in the output XML file such as the Original Programme Title, Translated Programme Title, Country of Origin and etc.

The options available for the exported file will vary for the different Document Versions. Brief description for some of them can be reviewed below:

If you have already set those at the File Details menu, they will be automatically saved to the output file.

Programme Start

Programme Start is the timecode of the first frame of the video which is intended for transmission.  From the drop-down menu you can choose between the following options:

Manual - allows you manually type in the Programme Start timecode.

Auto - automatically sets the Programme Start timecode using the first subtitle's In-cue rounded down to the closes hour. For example, if the first subtitle starts at 10:00:32:21, the Start of Message value will be automatically set to 10:00:00:00.

Programme Start TC - automatically sets the value to the Programme Start metadata attribute from the input file (EBU STL, EBU-TT, EZT or EZTXML).

Video Start TC - automatically gets the timecode of the first video frame from the input file if available. (EZT and EZTXML only support this metadata attribute).