Operating from a few square foot room and on even smaller studio converted into an improvised music room and a new room, Hot TV, Sri Lanka’s first regional cable TV has hit a large number of audiences in its short journey of little more than a year.
A brainchild of young audio-video engineer, Tiron Mendis, ‘Hot TV’ transmitted via the LBN channel serves TV viewers from Ja-ela to tourists attracted Negombo providing information on the latest happenings, music, entertainment activities and tourist related information from the area. With its success the channel is to be extended along the coastal line towards Southern part of the country. Founded in December 2009, Hot TV is one of the channels in Lanka Broadband Netwrok (LBN) broadcast via cables.
Having got interested in videography, Tiron went to Thailand to study audio-video engineering at Pataya CS College in 2007. As a part of his training, Tiron worked at Bangkok Pataya TV as a tchnical assistant.
“Pataya is a tourist city and cable TV is very popular there. When I returned to Sri Lanka I thought to myself why don’t I start a regional channel in Negombo, one of the most popular tourist cities in Sri Lanka,” said young Tiron speaking to the TV Times.
“Most important and interesting feature in a regional TV is that viewers have an opportunity to experience and view their own familiar surroundings and what is happening there through the miniscreen,” said the young and enthusiastic television engineer.
“Despite Negombo being a tourist city, it is also a multi-ethnic and multi-religious city where people respect each other’s identities. And due to the same reason there are many cultural and religious events that are taking place in the area,” Tiron said.
Instead of big, highly sophisticated and expensive equipment, Tiron has found the technology to edit, view and air programmes of the same quality as of a Main Control Room (MCR) in any national TV station.
“We have the same quality television telecast using much cheaper equipment,” says the young engineer.
With a young staff of twelve who are mostly teenagers playing the roles of editors, programme directors, presenters, transmission operators and marketing managers, Hot TV is broadcast in variety of programmes including musical, chart shows, documentary shows and breaking news service in order to inform, educate and entertain its viewers. Hot TV is available in nearly 80 percent of hotels in Negombo.
“We deliver breaking information titled ‘Meegamuwa Esanin and we give a good coverage to what is happening around the city,”.
Not only ordinary programmes, Hot TV also broadcasts religious programmes representing two main religions in the area at present. ‘Kurusa Yagaya’, a Christian religious programme from St. Peter’s Church Negombo is aired while ‘Mahamewnawa’ a Buddhist religious programme is aired from Angurukaramulla temple, one of the oldest temples in the area.
An active city with a lot of happening, Negombo has a regional newspaper ‘Mipura’, a radio channel ‘Seth FM’ and also now a TV channel. “It is important to have regional television channels as many important events are not getting covered by the islandwide national media.
“A child from a not very popular school in the area, St. Anne’s school, Kurana had passed the Grade 5 scholarship examination ranking the island’s first. We picked this news which had gone unnoticed from the main media and gave publicity, which was deserved by the child as well as the school,” Tiron said with satisfaction.
As for the future, Hot TV plans to go to new areas where its main channel LBN goes and also to expand its coverage.