The Technical wing of SVBC is concerned with creation, maintenance and operations of technical infrastructure and equipment for programme production and broadcasting. When the Channel started in 2007-2008, staff under the technical wing comprised as many as 20 different designations, but the rationalization exercise done in 2011 brought this number down to seven. As per the present structure, the wing is headed by a CTO and the staff complement consists of GM-Tech (now vacant), Sr. Manager (Tech), Manager (Tech), 7 Technical Supervisors, 16 Technical Assistants and 10 Technicians. 3 Technical Assistants are posted at SVBC, Hyderabad and the rest at Tirupati.
To begin with, the channel started its activities by hiring MANA TV studios at Hyderabad. In 2009 most of the activity was shifted to Tirupati, by creating two TV studios at Bhudevi complex and post production facilities at Alipiri Guest House. One studio was also created at SV Guest House, Tirumala to record interviews of eminent persons visiting Tirumala. Hiring of Mana TV Studios at Hyderabad was discontinued from 2009 but was resumed in October 2011 to help programme production based in and around Hyderabad.
A permanent control room with multi-camera set up was installed inside the main temple at Tirumala for live coverage of daily sevas to the Deity. Feed from the control room to the studio at Bhoodevi complex comes through OFC link provided by M/s Reliance Corp. Two OB vans with a complement of 6 HD Video cameras each were procured from M/s VTI, New Delhi for outdoor production purposes. 2 DSNG vans with all necessary equipment and uplink on Ku-band were taken on lease from M/s Essel Shyam Technologies and later bought over from them to transmit live feeds from locations to the Bhudevi studio complex. Broadcasting on C-Band through INSAT 4A is being done by hiring bandwidth and up-linking services from the teleport of M/s Essel Shyam Technologies at Noida. OFC linkage between the Bhudevi complex and the teleport at Noida is provided by M/s Reliance, with a stand-by link by M/s BSNL. A similar control room was erected for covering live the ‘Nada Neerajanam’ – classical music/dance performances being held at Tirumala daily in the evening hours.
Outdoor coverages not requiring OB van are handled with the help of P2 kind of portable professional cameras and associated gear.
On the post-production side, 7 NLE systems (DPS Velocity make) and 3 graphics systems at Tirupati, and 2 NLEs and 1 graphics at Hyderabad are in operation. The final playout for transmission is through an ‘Omnion’ video server which has capacity to store about 270 hours of broadcast quality footage.
In July 2011 SVBC’s own teleport was inaugurated which consists of a 9.3 meter dish antenna installed atop the Bhudevi complex, with electronics for transmitting four TV channels in MCPC mode (4+1 system). At present we are simulcasting the SVBC channel through this teleport as well as Essel Shyam’s at Noida. Steps are on to upgrade the uplink / downlink system to MPEG 4 & DVB S2 format.
Role of Technical Staff
On any given day, live programmes occupy about nine hours of the channel time and they are the key component for equipment & resources deployment and for technical operations. Studio-based programming is mostly by way of spiritual bulletins(Aadhyatmika Visheshalu), discussion/interview-based programmes and quiz programmes on religious/mythological topics.
Technical staff perform round-the-clock shifts to carry out the channel transmissions, studio-based as well as outdoor recordings, OB van-based technical operations, DSNG operations, teleport operations and multi-language scrolling messages as per on-air needs. Maintenance of the entire technical set up, studios, control rooms, LAN, computer systems, OFC links , monitor displays are all an integral part of their responsibility.
At the managerial level, the wing helps in technical purchases, infrastructure planning, technological upgradation, and optimal utilization of technical resources. At the operational level, their nature of job is specialized, skill-oriented and demands hard work and knowledge of sophisticated broadcast equipment. Multi-skilling and rotation of staff among various operational positions is being encouraged to broaden their skill base and to make them sufficiently versatile to meet the exigencies of service.
As already noted, action is already underway for upgrading the teleport as well as the satellite receivers for MPEG 4&DVB S2 format to be abreast of technology and to economize on bandwidth which is a major recurring expenditure. Post production capacity is being augmented by procuring 4 more NLE systems of Avid make. High-end HD camcorders are also being procured for shooting telefilms /serials.
Proposals are being mooted to start one more SVBC channel. While our teleport is already equipped for the second channel, other equipment like playout server, additional display monitors, etc. will have to be added.
Live coverages through cellular networks with the help of camera attachable back-packs are becoming popular as an economical alternative to DSNGs. Efforts are on to procure a couple of such devices after a careful analysis of their technical quality and, as a prelude to that, a 4 Mbps static internet connection at the Bhoodevi complex is already installed. ‘Virtual Sets’ is another area which holds promise for enhancing the quality, variety and creativity of studio productions without any expenditure for set erection. Two such virtual sets’ packages are being proposed, keeping in view the upcoming second channel.
‘Video streaming’ and ‘video-on-demand’ features on the internet through the TTD homepage are being pursued in consultation with the webmaster (Data Processing Unit) of TTD.
Among the religious channels in the country, SVBC enjoys the pride of place as the only channel employing HD cameras for studio as well as OBs. The transmission system however continues to be SD, as per the prevalent standards. IPTV and mobile TV platforms are also being explored for wider distribution of SVBC programmes.
Satellite: INSAT 4A (83 degree East). Footprint covers entire country.
Downlink Frequency: 3767 MHz
Symbol Rate: 3000 Ksps
Audio PIDs: 631 left & right – Telugu; 632 left – Tamil; 632 right – Kannada.
Correct PID selection is important to get background commentary in the desired language. For cable homes, this selection is done at the cable operators’ head-end. DTH viewers have to do the selection themselves, at the remote control of set-top box supplied by the DTH service provider.