How Verizon Could Challenge YouTube With Personal TV Channels

Verizon reveals in a patent published on Tuesday how it could give pay TV subscribers personal video channels that would rival both YouTube and traditional broadcast content.

“The personal channel service described herein allows a subscriber to maintain a unique television channel where all time slots may be filled with the subscriber’s content. The subscriber may choose to broadcast any content at any time without the need to wait for access to an available time slot. The personal channel service also allows personal content to be made available for selection at any time by a viewer without scheduling a specific broadcast time,” Verizon states in the patent, titled, “Systems and Methods for Providing A Personal Channel Via Television.”

AngiolilloVerizon Wireless associate director Joel Angiolillo is named as lead inventor on the patent, which Verizon filed in February 2006.

Abstract: Preferred systems and methods provide a personal channel for broadcasting personal content to televisions over a network, such as a fiber optic access network. A service provider assigns a personal channel identifier to a broadcaster. This identifier allows viewers to tune to the personal channel. The broadcaster sends personal content to the service provider together with a list of authorized viewers for that personal content. The service provider stores the personal content and makes it available as specified by the subscriber for viewing. When requested, the service provider sends the personal content to the specified set top boxes on the assigned personal channel identifier. By tuning the set top box to the broadcaster’s channel, viewers may view the personal content on television as though it were broadcast from any network television station.

Claims: 

1. A method, comprising: receiving, at a control system, from a first network terminal of a broadcaster attached to a network, a request to create a personal channel; assigning a channel identifier to the personal channel; receiving, at the control system, personal channel information associated with the personal channel, the personal channel information including a template for organizing content displayed on the personal channel; receiving, at the control system, content-specific information associated with the personal channel, the content-specific information including personal content associated with the broadcaster; designating a location for storage of the received personal channel information and the received content-specific information, the designated storage location being associated with the channel identifier; receiving, from a second network terminal of a viewer, a request to view the personal channel, the request comprising at least the channel identifier; retrieving, in response to the request, the template and at least a portion of the content-specific information from the designated storage location using the received channel identifier; and transmitting, from the control system, the template and the content-specific information portion to the second network terminal over the network, the second network terminal being tuned to the channel identifier, and the second network terminal being configured to generate, in accordance with the template, a first interface comprising information that enables the viewer to access to at least a portion of the personal content associated with the personal channel.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the second network terminal is a set top box.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising: transmitting data associated with a second interface to the first network terminal; and accessing, by the broadcaster using the second interface, a preview of at least a portion of the personal content.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the personal channel information further includes at least one of the channel identifier or a channel name.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein: the user interface is configured to display a list of available items of personal content associated with the personal channel; and the method further comprises: receiving, at the control system, from the second network terminal, a selection of at least one of the items of personal content from the list; retrieving the selected personal content item from the storage device; and transmitting the selected personal content item.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the content-specific information includes at least one of a date and time for broadcasting of the at least one item of personal content, an indication whether the at least one item of personal content can be recorded, or a rating.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least one item of personal content includes at least one of photographs, music, video, slides, educational material, or artwork.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the content-specific information includes: a list of authorized viewers of the-personal content, and wherein the method further includes determining whether the second network terminal is authorized to receive the-personal content based on the list of authorized viewers.

9. A non-transitory, processor-readable medium storing instructions that, when executed by a processor, cause the processor to perform a method, comprising: receiving, at a control system, from a first network terminal of a broadcaster attached to a network, a request to create a personal channel; assigning a channel identifier to the personal channel; receiving, at the control system, personal channel information associated with the personal channel, the personal channel information including a template for organizing content displayed on the personal channel; receiving, at the control system, content-specific information associated with the personal channel, the content-specific information including personal content associated with the broadcaster; designating a location for storage of the received personal channel information and the received content-specific information, the designated storage location being associated with the channel identifier; receiving, from a second network terminal of a viewer, a request to view the personal channel, the request comprising at least the channel identifier; retrieving, in response to the request, the template and at least a portion of the content-specific information from the designated storage location using the received channel identifier; and transmitting, from the control system, the template and the content-specific information portion to the second network terminal over the network, the second network terminal being tuned to the channel identifier, and the second network terminal being configured to generate, in accordance with the template, a first interface comprising information that enables the viewer to access to at least a portion of the personal content associated with the personal channel.

10. A system, comprising: a network interface connected to a network, the network being connected to a first network terminal of a broadcaster and a second network terminal of a viewer; a broadcaster data store including personal channel information and content-specific information; and a control system connected to the network interface and the broadcaster data store, wherein the control system is configured to: receive, from the first network terminal, a request to create a personal channel from the broadcaster; assign a channel identifier to the personal channel; receive personal channel information associated with the personal channel from the first network terminal, the personal channel information including a template for organizing content displayed on the personal channel; receive content-specific information associated with the personal channel, the content-specific information including personal content associated with the broadcaster; designate a location for storage of the received personal channel information and the received content-specific information, the designated storage location being associated with the channel identifier; receive, from a second network terminal of a viewer, a request to view the personal channel, the request comprising at least the channel identifier; retrieve, in response to the request, the template and at least a portion of the content-specific information from the designated storage location using the received channel identifier; and transmit the template and the content-specific information portion to the second network terminal over the network, the second network terminal being tuned to the channel identifier, and the second network terminal being configured to generate, in accordance with the template, a first interface comprising information that enables the viewer to access to at least a portion of the personal content associated with the personal channel.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein at least one of the first network terminal and second network terminal is a set top box.

12. The system of claim 10, wherein the personal channel information includes at least one of the channel identifier or a channel name.

13. The system of claim 10, wherein the content-specific information includes at least one of a date and time for broadcasting of the at least one item of personal content, an indication whether the at least one item of personal content can be recorded, or a rating.

14. The system of claim 10, wherein the content-specific information includes a list of authorized viewers of the personal content, and wherein the control system is further configured to determine whether the second network terminal is authorized to receive the personal content based on the list of authorized viewers.

15. The system of claim 10, wherein: the user interface is configured to display a list of available items of personal content associated with the personal channel; and the control system is further configured to: receive, from the second network terminal, a selection of at least one of the items of personal content from the list; retrieve the selected personal content item from the storage device; and transmit the selected personal content item.

16. The system of claim 10, wherein the second network terminal includes recording facilities and is configured to record at least a portion of the personal content.

17. A method, comprising: receiving, at a control system, a viewer request over an access network to view a personal channel of a broadcaster, the request being associated with a channel identifier, wherein content-specific information associated with the personal channel is stored in a designated location associated with the channel identifier; receiving, at the control system, security information from a viewer over the access network; authenticating the security information received from the viewer; retrieving, based on the authentication, a portion of the content-specific information and a template selected by a broadcaster of the personal channel from the designated storage location using channel identifier; and transmitting the template and the content-specific information portion, from the control system via the access network and according to the channel identifier, to a device capable of displaying a user interface comprising information that enables the viewer to access at least a portion of personal content associated with the personal channel, wherein: the device is configured to generate the user interface in accordance with the template.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein: the user interface is configured to display a list of available personal content associated with the personal channel; and the method further comprises: receiving a viewer selection of personal content from the list of available personal content; retrieving the personal content selection from the storage Device; and transmitting the personal content selection to the device.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the security information includes at least one of a unique identifier associated with a network terminal, a username, or a password.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the access network is a fiber optic network.