Apple’s Set-Top Box May Offer Cloud-Based DVR, iPad-Like UI, Social Media Features

Apple TV

Yesterday, Wall Street Journal reported that Apple may be seeking a less radical path to expand in television than it has contemplated in the past.

According to ‘people familiar with the matter’ Apple is negotiating with cable operators to use Apple TV device as a set-top box.

WSJ has followed up that article with another one, which provides more interesting details about Apple’s vision of the new device.

WSJ reports:

Apple Inc.’s vision for a new device that can be used as a set-top box includes features designed to simplify accessing and viewing programming and erase the distinction between live and on-demand content, people briefed on Apple’s plans said.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company proposes giving viewers the ability to start any show at any time through a digital-video recorder that would store TV shows on the Internet. Viewers even could start a show minutes after it has begun. [..]

Another significant feature of the Apple set-top device is likely to be its user interface, which could resemble the navigation icons on Apple’s iPad. While the design may change, the interface is expected to be easier for people to use than existing cable on-screen menus, widely viewed as clunky.

WSJ also reports that Apple could offer social media features that will allow users to share TV shows via Twitter etc. Apple also wants the service to be accessible from other iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad.

WSJ reports that Apple has been in talks with major cable operators, including Time Warner Cable. Apple is also in talks with content providers as cable operators existing rights over TV content may not cover features such as the cloud-based DVR feature.

The cloud-based DVR feature does sound like an awesome feature as it will finally allow us to watch content whenever we want and hopefully without going through the hassle of recording. It is high time someone disrupts how we watch content on the television. We’ll happily part with our money if Apple does it. It remains to be seen if cable operators and content providers are going to allow Apple to do it.

[via WSJ]