Archimedia Technology, a new company whose technology and applications bridge the gap between content producers and their archives without loss of quality, today released Archimedia Master Player v2.1, an update to its software that frame-accurately plays all common archiving and master formats in use today. Version 2.1 adds precise support for timed text, commonly known as closed captions or subtitles, regardless of the standard or vendor -- a feature that is especially useful for media companies that work with multiple standards and proprietary caption formats.
"Closed captions and subtitles are increasingly becoming the focus of regulatory and standards bodies the world over, making them a necessary but complex part of the content that the Archimedia Master Player is designed to play. Consequently, support for closed captions and subtitles has been our No. 1 customer request ever since IBC last fall," said Josef Marc, Archimedia chief marketing officer. "The small size of these files doesn't make them any easier to process than big master video files. We've been making incremental improvements to the player since we launched it a year ago, including several intermediate steps that were necessary before it could tackle subtitles and their complexity. Now our customers can use the player to make sure their content is compliant not only with FCC rules in the U.S., but also with the growing list of closed captioning rules and standards around the world."
Archimedia Master Player v2.1 introduces support for more than 80 external-file subtitle formats and more than 50 embedded formats. The external-file formats supported include .srt (DVDs, PCs), .scc (SD, Final Cut(R)), .smi/.sami (Microsoft(R)), .stl (EBU standard), .itt (iTunes(R)), SMPTE Timed Text (ST 2052-1 for MXF, also used in IMF), and .xml (DCP). The player also supports the Unicode multilanguage/multicharacter standard, and for the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated EIA-608 (SD) and EIA-708 (HD) standards.
The closed caption and subtitle feature is necessary because of changing regulations and consumer expectations. In the U.S., closed captions are now required by the FCC for all kinds of broadcasting and distribution, and the transition from videotape to file-based workflows and Internet distribution has led to various "safe-harbor" rulings -- and in turn a growing need for quality control to validate captions and compliance. At the same time, consumers around the world now expect subtitles in a variety of languages as a matter of course, increasing the demands on quality control.
This new feature for closed captions and subtitles is free for all existing customers, who can get the upgrade now by downloading it from Archimedia's support site at support.archimediatech.tv. Version 2.1 is now shipping on all Archimedia Workstations.
Information about the Archimedia Master Player, including an online demo, a free trial, and online purchasing, is available at www.archimediatech.com.