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Which Subtitle Format to Use? (A Capital Captions Guide)

‘Which Subtitle Format to Use’ A Capital Captions Guide

For video makers both professional and amateur, when looking to distribute your videos either online or via broadcast, it’s important to consider adding subtitles. For broadcast programming and recently VoD services, closed captions are regulated and a legal requirement. Whilst transcribing text, timing it and adding it to video may seem straightforward, different broadcasters, channels and video platforms prefer different subtitling formats. In adding subtitles to your videos, it’s important to know which subtitle format to use and at Capital Captions, we’re here to help you get your captions right first time. In this blog ‘Which Subtitle Format to Use?’ A Capital Captions Guide we give you the breakdown of different formats for different vendors. 

Each table provides details on compatible formats, with the platform preferred format highlighted in bold text.

Professional Web Video Subtitling

When it comes to subtitling services, there is an enormous difference in terms of the price, complexity and standards expected when working with web vs broadcast video. For most web video, subtitles should be relatively simple (sometimes even automatic) in terms of transcription and timings.

If you are looking to add subtitles or closed captions to your web videos, below is a comprehensive list to some of the compatible subtitle formats:


  • .XML (DFXP / TTML)
  • . SAMI
  • .SCC (Scenarist)
  • .SRT (SubRip)
  • .VTT (WebVTT)


  • .XML (DFXP / TTML)
  • .SAMI
  • .SCC (Scenarist)
  • .SRT (SubRip)
  • .VTT (WebVTT)


  • .SRT (SubRip)


  • No Compatibility (Subtitle Burning Required)

Daily Motion

  • .SRT (SubRip)

HTML5 Sites

  • .VTT (WebVTT)

Professional Broadcast and VoD Subtitling

Should you require closed captioning services or subtitling for broadcast or Video on Demand platforms, the compatible formats can be found below.

Broadcasters and Video on Demand providers often have very strict guidelines and high standards when it comes to the format of their subtitles. If working with a broadcaster or VoD provider, always check to see if they have guidelines available first-hand, before taking on subtitling work.


  • .CAP (Cheetah Cap)
  • .XML (DFXP / TTML)
  • .MCC (MacCaption)
  • .QT.TXT (Quicktime Subtitle)
  • .SCC (Scenarist)
  • .SRT (SubRip)
  • .STL (Spruce Subtitle)
  • .VTT (WebVTT)
  • .XML

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

  • .STL (EBU-STL)
  • .XML (DFXP / TTML)
  • .XML (EBU_TT)


  • .iTT (iTunes Timed Text)
  • .XML (EBU-TT)
  • .XML (DFXP / TTML)
  • .SCC (Scenarist)


  •  .SCC (Scenarist)
  • .XML (DFXP / TTML)
  • .iTT (iTunes Timed Text)

Subtitle and Caption Burning Services

In addition to the many different options available in terms of closed captioning and subtitling formats and encoding, captions can also be burned onto video. When looking into which subtitle format to use, this is the option that stands apart from the rest. Subtitle burning is very much suited to bilingual videos and those which are aimed at the deaf and hard of hearing. Subtitle burning is also an option for sharing sites such as Twitter where there is no compatibility in terms of adding closed captions onto videos through the .srt format.

Subtitles can be burned in virtually any video format, including .MP4, .MOV, .WMV, .AVI, .MKV, .MPG, .TS, .TRP with encoding including MPEG-4, MPEG-2, .DIVX, ProRes, H.264 and more…

If you’d like a more comprehensive look about our services take a look at our closed captioning guidelines. If you’d like more information on how we work with different formats feel free to contact us today.

Subtitle Services

  • Broadcast Subtitles
  • Subtitles for Films
  • Online Video Subtitles
  • Television Subtitles
  • Subtitle Placement
  • Subtitle Formatting

Closed Captions

  • Broadcast Closed Captions
  • VoD Closed Captions
  • Closed Caption Formatting
  • Captions for the Deaf
  • Caption Regulations
  • Amazon Closed Captions

Translation Services

  • Foreign Subtitles
  • YouTube Translation
  • Video Translation
  • French Translation
  • Captions and Formatting
  • VoD Translation

Contact us today for your free 5 minute sample!

About us

At Capital Captions, we take pride in our flexible, tailor-made approach to subtitling, closed captioning, video translation and video transcription services. We offer professional, reliable, cost effective services to clients across the globe.

  • Walsham Road, Kent, United Kingdom ME5 9HX
  • +44 (0) 1634 867 131
  • infocaptions

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