Two trade bodies have begun a search for new test and measurement techniques to replace the 30-year-old ones currently used for handling video and broadcast signals

A new joint taskforce on timing and synchronisation hasbeen set up by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

It is looking for replacements for timecode and the colour black reference signal. It is also seeking a robust method to link metadata to programme content.

The current standards for timing and synchronisation for television are becoming increasingly inappropriate for the digital age, especially when required to cope with networked content sharing or higher frame rate HDTV, UHDTV and other image formats.

It is felt that current methods impose unacceptable limitations for the future, hence the need for a complete rethink of how the industry solves those problems.

A formal request for technology proposals from the TV and IT industries is currently being drafted. It is due to be published at the end of February.

The taskforce will examine the responses and aim to choose systems to put forward for the full SMPTE standardisation process this summer. It hopes to achieve its fastest standardisation process ever, with final specification announced by the end of the year.

“The taskforce has made remarkable progress in getting the initial outline of user requirements together - which is testament to the large and enthusiastic participation we've had,” said taskforce co-chairman and EBU technical department senior engineer Hans Hoffmann.