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NAB Show 2023
Section Meeting

The TLX Project – a Successor to SMPTE Time Code?

SMPTE Time and Control Code, to give it its full title, was initially developed in 1969. It is now represented by three parts of the ST 12 Standard, and has been updated and enhanced many times. The latest, and almost certainly the last, update was ST 12-3, published in 2016, offers limited support for higher frame rates.

Link to the October Recording Meeting

ST 12 is probably the most used of all SMPTE standards. It has proved flexible and durable, but the update process has become increasingly complex and cumbersome, and it is unlikely that further backward-compatible updates will be possible. It is still a viable standard, and will continue to serve for many years to come, but the time has come to develop a successor – one that addresses the shortcomings of ST 12 and is more suited to today’s environment. 

Various projects within SMPTE failed to achieve consensus because of competing philosophies, and a “boil the ocean” approach. The TLX (Time Label eXtensible) Project set a specified set of objectives, including the requirement for an extension mechanism to address future requirements. This presentation will include a brief history, the objectives of the TLX Project, and a progress report.

About the speaker:

Symes’ early career included positions in the BBC Studio Planning & Installation Department, Philips Broadcast, and Central Dynamics Limited. From 1983 to 2007 he worked at Grass Valley, with positions responsible for product planning, strategic planning, and intellectual property management. In 2007, Symes joined the staff of SMPTE as Director of Standards & Engineering, a position held until retirement in 2016. Today, he is the owner of Symes TV Consulting, offering technical and patent related services to the industry.

Symes holds three patents and is the author of books on video compression. He is a Life Fellow of SMPTE, a Senior Member of the IEEE, and a Certified Standards Professional (2013) by the Society for Standards Professionals (SES).