Verizon Turns Mobile Devices Into 4K UHD Gateways

In a patent published earlier this month, Verizon offers a glimpse at how it could turn smartphones and tablets into 4K ultra high-definition media gateways capable of delivering both live and video-on-demand content to IP-connected TVs.

The invention relies in part on LTE broadcast, or eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) technology. In addition to relying on mobile devices to stream live UHD content on TVs, Verizon explains how it could store on-demand and pay-per-view content on mobile devices and network attached storage (NAS) devices.

“By utilizing user devices as media gateways, content providers (such as cable or satellite television providers) may eliminate or mitigate the need to increase infrastructure necessary for delivering increasing amounts of content, and/or increasingly higher fidelity content,” Verizon states in the patent, which was published on April 5.

Te-Sheng Lin is named as lead inventor on the patent, titled,“Ultra high-fidelity content delivery using a mobile device as a media gateway.”

Abstract: A system may include a group of user devices; and one or more base stations configured to receive programming content from a content provider, and distribute the received programming content, via a broadcast or multicast technique, to the group of user devices. A particular user device, of the group of user devices, may receive distributed programming content, and output, to device that is external to the user device, the programming content received from the particular base station.

Patent

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Claims:

1. A system, comprising: one or more base stations of a wireless network, configured to: receive programming content from a content provider, the programming content being associated with a plurality of programming channels; receive information identifying a set of user devices that are associated with a subscription to a particular set of programming channels, of the plurality of programming channels associated with the programming content received from the content provider; output the information, identifying the set of user devices that are associated with the subscription to the particular set of programming channels, to a particular user device, of a plurality of user devices; and distribute the received programming content, via a broadcast or multicast technique, to the plurality of user devices, wherein the particular user device uses the information, identifying the set of user devices that are associated with the subscription to the particular set of programming channels, to output the received programming content to a device that is external to the particular user device, the distributing including: multicasting the programming content, associated with the particular set of programming channels, to the identified set of user devices that are associated with the subscription to the particular set of programming channels, without distributing the programming, associated with the particular set of programming channels, to user devices that have not been identified as being associated with the subscription to the particular set of programming channels.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein outputting the programming content to the device that is external to the user device includes outputting the programming content according to at least one of: a Digital Living Network Alliance (“DLNA”) standard, a Universal Plug and Play (“UPnP”) standard, a Digital Transmission Content Protection over Internet Protocol (“DTCP-IP”) standard, or a High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (“HDCP”) standard.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the broadcast or multicast technique includes one of: a Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (“MBMS”) technique, an evolved MBMS (“eMBMS”) technique, or a Cell Broadcast Service (“CBS”) technique.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the programming content includes video content that has a resolution greater than 1080p.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the programming content includes Ultra High Definition (“UHD”) video content.

6. A method, comprising: storing, by a user device, correlation information that correlates a set of broadcast or multicast bearers to a set of programming channels, wherein the correlation information indicates at least one of: a mapping between a first set of broadcast or multicast bearers to a first set of programming channels, to which the user device is subscribed, or a mapping between a second set of broadcast or multicast bearers to a second set of programming channels, to which the user device is not subscribed; receiving, by the user device, content that has been distributed via one or more broadcast or multicast bearers; identifying, by the user device and using the correlation information, one or more programming channels, of the set of programming channels, that are associated with at least one of the one or more broadcast or multicast bearers; presenting, by the user device, information regarding the identified one or more programming channels, wherein presenting the information regarding the identified one or more programming channels includes at least one of: presenting information identifying the first set of programming channels, to which the user device is subscribed, or presenting information that does not identify the second set of programming channels, to which the user device is not subscribed; receiving, by the user device, a selection of a particular programming channel, of the identified one or more programming channels; and presenting, by the user device, content that has been received via a particular bearer, of the one or more bearers, the particular bearer being associated with the particular programming channel.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein at least one bearer, of the one or more bearers, is associated with a channel guide, wherein presenting information regarding the one or more programming channels includes presenting channel guide content received via the at least one bearer.

8. The method of claim 6, further comprising: opening, based on receiving the selection of the particular programming channel, a socket to the particular bearer that is associated with the particular programming channel, wherein opening the socket facilitates the presenting of the content.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein presenting the content includes outputting the content to a network attached storage (“NAS”) device.

10. The method of claim 6, further comprising: receiving the correlation information from a server device that manages subscriptions associated with the user device.

11. The method of claim 6, wherein presenting the content includes outputting the content to an external device via a personal area network (“PAN”).

12. A user device, comprising: one or more memory devices configured to store: correlation information that correlates a set of broadcast or multicast bearers to a set of programming channels, wherein the correlation information indicates at least one of: a first subset, of the set of programming channels, of programming channels to which the user device is subscribed, or a second subset, of the set of programming channels, of programming channels to which the user device is not subscribed, and a set of processor-executable instructions; and one or more processors configured to execute the set of processor-executable instructions, wherein executing the set of processor-executable instructions causes the one or more processors to: identify, using the correlation information, one or more programming channels, of the set of programming channels, that are associated with one or more bearers via which content, distributed via multicast or broadcast, has been received by the user device; present selectable options regarding the first subset of programming channels, to which the user device is subscribed, without presenting information identifying the second subset of programming channels, to which the user device is not subscribed; receive a selection of a particular selectable option associated with a particular programming channel, of the first subset of programming channels; present a plurality of presentation options for presentation of content associated with the particular programming channel, the plurality of presentation options including at least: a first presentation option to stream the content to a display device that is external to the user device, and a second presentation option to present the content via a display screen of the user device; receive a selection of a particular presentation option, of the plurality of presentation options; and present, in accordance with the selected particular option, content that has been received via a particular bearer, of the one or more bearers, the particular bearer being associated with the particular programming channel.

13. The user device of claim 12, wherein at least one bearer, of the one or more bearers, is associated with a channel guide, wherein executing the set of processor-executable instructions further causes the one or more processors to present channel guide content received via the at least one bearer, wherein presenting the channel guide content causes the one or more processors to: present the set of selectable options.

14. The user device of claim 12, wherein executing the set of processor-executable instructions further causes the one or more processors to: opening, based on receiving the selection of the particular programming channel, a socket to the particular bearer that is associated with the particular programming channel, wherein opening the socket facilitates the presenting of the content.

15. The user device of claim 12, wherein executing the set of processor-executable instructions to present the content further causes the one or more processors to: output the content to a network attached storage (“NAS”) device, output the content to an audio playback device, or output the content to a media player device.

16. The user device of claim 12, wherein executing the set of processor-executable instructions further causes the one or more processors to: receive the correlation information from a server device that manages subscriptions associated with the user device.

17. The user device of claim 12, wherein executing the set of processor-executable instructions to present the content further causes the one or more processors to output the content to an external device via a personal area network (“PAN”).

18. The method of claim 6, wherein a particular broadcast or multicast bearer is identified, in the correlation information, using a Temporary Mobile Group Identity (“TMGI”) associated with the particular broadcast or multicast bearer.

19. The method of claim 6, wherein presenting the content includes at least one of: outputting the content to a television device, outputting the content to an audio playback device, or outputting the content to a media player device.