updated 11:10 am EDT, Thu March 13, 2008
Apple TV to become DVR?
Apple may be aiming to eventually transform the Apple TV set-top into a full DVR, new filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office suggest. Submitted in October 2006 but only just made public, the filings depict a unique interface for the Apple TV, able to browse and record live TV programming, in addition to downloading movies and TV shows sold through iTunes. Such features would put the Apple TV into direct competition with TiVo, whose set-tops can not only record TV but buy movies through Amazon's Unbox service. Recently, the company announced that it would support YouTube content, much like the Apple TV.
Also mentioned in the Apple patent is a new remote, an upgrade from the design also associated with iMacs. The concept remote more closely resembles a second-generation iPod nano, and includes an LCD, storage and touch-sensitive buttons. The storage would be used to download programming information from an Apple TV, enabling people to pick programs to record in advance, without sitting in front of their television for several minutes.
When in front of an Apple TV, users would control an interface blending the appearance of traditional program guides with Mac OS X, including a "Dock" interface and the ability to search live listings as well as pre-recorded content. Preview clips would be displayed in a small window while the main feed continues in an angled view.
To date, Apple has not announced any plans for adding DVR functions to the Apple TV.