Verizon Pushes Natural UI, Improved EPG

Two recent Verizon patent applications offer a glimpse at user interfaces and program guides that could power subscription video services distributed through both wired and wireless platforms.

Former Verizon principal architect Arjun Baskaran is named as lead inventor on a patent application that details how subscribers could navigate programming with voice commands and gesture controls. The patent application, “Method, apparatus and system for implementing a natural user interface,” was published on Jan. 14.

Baskaran, who is now technical delivery manager at Barclays PLC, is also named lead inventor on a patent application titled, “Method, apparatus and system for providing electronic program guide changes during outages in a media stream.”

Abstract: A method, apparatus, and system for providing improved EPGs are described. An availability, at a set-top box, of a media stream is determined, wherein the media stream includes one or more of a first plurality of programs associated with a subscriber. One or more electronic program guides indicating a second plurality of programs associated with the subscriber based on the availability of the media stream are accessed, wherein each of the second plurality of programs are accessible to the set-top box via a data stream that is separate from the media stream and the second plurality of programs includes at least one program of the first plurality of programs. Scheduling information associated with the one or more electronic program guides based on the availability of the media stream is retrieved via the data stream.

Claims:

1. A method comprising: determining an availability, at a set-top box, of a media stream, the media stream comprising one or more of a first plurality of programs associated with a subscriber; accessing one or more electronic program guides indicating a second plurality of programs associated with the subscriber based on the availability of the media stream, each of the second plurality of programs being accessible to the set-top box via a data stream that is separate from the media stream, wherein the second plurality of programs includes at least one program of the first plurality of programs; and retrieving, via the data stream, scheduling information associated with the one or more electronic program guides based on the availability of the media stream.

2. A method of claim 1, further comprising: retrieving, via the data stream, live media information for a program of the second plurality of programs.

3. A method of claim 2, wherein the scheduling information indicates access information indicating a remote datastore for retrieving the live media information.

4. A method of claim 2, wherein the scheduling information indicates channel information, the method further comprising: retrieving, via the data stream, the one or more electronic program guides; determining a channel of an electronic program guide of the one or more electronic program guides based on the channel information; and initiating a presentation of at least a portion of the electronic program guide of the channel.

5. A method of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first plurality of programs includes live media information corresponding with live media information of at least one of the second plurality of programs.

6. A method of claim 1, wherein the scheduling information indicates channel information, the method further comprising: retrieving, via a video media server, one or more electronic program guides for a plurality of channels of the first plurality of programs; comparing the plurality of channels with the channel information; and associating a channel indicated by the channel information with at least a portion of one of the one or more electronic program guides for the first plurality of channels based on the comparison.

7. A method of claim 6, further comprising: determining whether a cache associated with the set-top box includes an electronic program guide associated with a second channel indicated by the channel information; and retrieving, via the data stream, an electronic program guide for the second channel based on the determining whether the cache includes an electronic program guide.

8. A method of claim 1, further comprising: initiating a transmission of a universal unique identifier and/or a regional identifier, wherein the second plurality of programs is based on the universal unique identifier and/or a regional identifier.

9. A method of claim 1, further comprising: determining a restoration of the media stream after retrieving the scheduling information; and retrieving, via the video media server, one or more electronic program guides for a plurality of channels of the first plurality of the programs based on the restoration.

10. A method of claim 1, wherein the video media server is associated with recordings of one or more programs, widgets, on-demand features, pay-per view features, or a combination thereof associated with the subscriber.

11. An apparatus comprising: a processor configured to: determine an availability of a media stream, the media stream comprising one or more of a first plurality of programs associated with a subscriber; access one or more electronic program guides indicating a second plurality of programs associated with the subscriber based on the availability of the media stream, each of the second plurality of programs being accessible to the apparatus via a data stream stream that is separate from the media stream, wherein the second plurality of programs includes at least one program of the first plurality of programs; and retrieve, via the data stream, scheduling information associated with the one or more electronic program guides based on the availability of the media stream; and a memory configured to store the scheduling information and the one or more electronic program guides.

12. An apparatus according to claim 11, wherein the processor is further configured to: retrieve, via the data stream, live media information for a program of the second plurality of programs.

13. An apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the scheduling information indicates access information indicating a remote datastore for retrieving the live media information.

14. An apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the scheduling information indicates channel information and the processor is further configured to: retrieve, via the data stream, the one or more electronic program guides; determine a channel of an electronic program guide of the one or more electronic program guides based on the channel information; and initiate a presentation of at least a portion of the electronic program guide of the channel.

15. An apparatus according to claim 11, wherein at least one of the first plurality of programs includes live media information corresponding with live media information of at least one of the second plurality of programs.

16. An apparatus according to claim 11, wherein the scheduling information indicates channel information and the processor is further configured to: retrieve, via a video media server, one or more electronic program guides for a plurality of channels of the first plurality of programs; compare the plurality of channels with the channel information; and associate a channel indicated by the channel information with at least a portion of one of the one or more electronic program guides for the first plurality of channels based on the comparison.

17. An apparatus according to claim 16, wherein the processor is further configured to: determine whether the memory includes an electronic program guide associated with a second channel indicated by the channel information; and retrieve, via the data stream, an electronic program guide for the second channel based on the determining whether the cache includes an electronic program guide.

18. A system comprising: a first content provider source configured to transmit a media stream comprising one or more of a first plurality of programs associated with a subscriber; a second content provider source configured to transmit a data stream comprising one or more of a second plurality of programs associated with a subscriber, wherein the media stream and the data stream are separated and the second plurality of programs includes at least one program of the first plurality of programs; and a set-top box configured to: determine an availability of the media stream; access one or more electronic program guides indicating the second plurality of programs based on the availability of the media stream; and retrieve, via the data stream, scheduling information associated with the one or more electronic program guides based on the availability of the media stream.

19. A system according to claim 18, wherein the set-top box is further configured to: retrieve, via the data stream, live media information for a program of the second plurality of programs from the second content provider source.

20. A system according to claim 19, wherein the scheduling information indicates access information indicating a remote datastore of the second content provider source for retrieving the live media information.

 

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