Staff Reporter

TIRUPATI: Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel (SVBC), promoted by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to propagate Hindu dharma and Venkateswara cult in particular, is ready for test launch from Ugadi, the Telugu New Year Day. The free-to-air channel will be available across the globe, except the United States and Australia for technical reasons.

The Tirumala Tirupati Pedda Jeeyangar will switch on the equipment at 11.45 a.m. on Monday and the channel will formally go on air. The show starts with ‘Kalyanotsavam’ performed to Lord Venkateswara and His consorts inside the Tirumala temple. It will be followed by a film ‘Venkateswara Vaibhavam’, Sahasra Deepalankara Seva and a spiritual bulletin Adhyatmika Viseshalu.

The channel has a state-of-the-art recording and programming facility at Alipiri guest house here which is used for in-house content generation and compilation. A control unit has been established at Ranganayakula Mandapam inside the Tirumala temple, while equipment to live-record programmes is available at Ayana Mahal, Kalyanotsava Mandapam, Vaibhavotsava Mandapam and Asthana Mandapam, where a range of spiritual and cultural programmes are conducted.

A dedicated 6 mbps line, provided free of cost by Reliance Communications, is in place to transmit the audio/video signal to the Noida facility. The same will be decoded and uplinked to the satellite (INSAT 4A) from where it will be beamed down to the Earth.

All the 17 religious channels in the country suffer from poor TRP ratings, but SVBC has sufficient content running to 60,000 hours, divided into 30-minute slots, to meet its immediate transmission needs.

“Our USP is the authentic information we provide on Lord Venkateswara,” announced K.S.Sarma, the channel’s CEO and former Director-General of Doordarshan.

As film shooting inside the Tirumala shrine is banned, a replica is being developed at the foot of the hills to simulate the various rituals, ceremonies and festivals.

SVBC will become a 24-hour channel after it is formally inaugurated by the President Pratibha Patil, most likely in the third week of May.