Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has been granted a patent for a new program guide that lets users sort shows by such factors as reviews, as opposed to just time and channel.
According to a U.S. Patent Office application, "The programming guide may sort the listings by channel and time, areas of interest, age appropriateness and/or MPAA or TV rating, free or additional cost, etc. In an embodiment, the programming guide includes an ability to make a selection to see which TV shows are recommended by reviewers. Such reviewers may be individuals or panels or institutions to which some credibility may be attached--a trusted source. After selecting a reviewer, the subscriber is made aware of the programs recommended by the selected reviewer."
Verizon's patent application shows how it may display recommended programs.
Verizon did not immediately respond to FierceCable's inquiry for comment. To be clear, Verizon files hundreds of patents a year, and patent applications aren't necessarily an indication of forthcoming products.
Like a number of pay-TV companies looking to keep up in an era in which SVOD services have captivated consumers with elegant user interfaces featuring algorithm-driven recommendation engines, Verizon has been active in the area of interface patents of late.
In its patent application, Verizon said the explosion of on-demand program options make it necessary to develop program guides that go beyond what's on the linear grid at any given time.
"Today's television services provide hundreds of channels to choose programming content from, including movies and pay-per-view events," the filing reads. "In the future, it is expected there will be thousands of channels. In order to make selections when faced with such a multitude of options, a subscriber may go to a magazine, newspaper or website to see what TV programs and movies are recommended. Depending upon their preferences, subscribers may rely upon specific sources for recommendations which have established a level of credibility with subscribers, thus these sources become 'trusted sources' to a subscriber. However, there presently is not a way to see what their trusted sources have recommended while a subscriber is perusing the on-screen program guide."
Verizon also recently filed a patent relating to a video program guide that would list options for on-demand content alongside the usual linear TV program grid.
- read this U.S. Patent Office filing
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