Media

Apple’s vision for a set-top box blurs the distinction between live and on-demand videos

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Apple reportedly plans to build a new device that replaces its current Apple TV and blends live and on-demand content. The Wall Street Journal, following up on a report yesterday, said today that the new set-top box from the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant will simplify how we access and view TV content.

Apple is in talks with cable companies to allow consumers to use Apple TV as their main set-top box and use it to view TV shows stored on the Internet. One cool feature is reportedly similar to Time Warner Cable’s Start Over. It will allow someone to start watching a show from the beginning, even if it has just begun playing at its scheduled time.

The device is expected to have a user interface resembling the navigation icons on Apple’s iPad. That design is subject to change, but the interface is expected to be easier to use than current cable TV user interfaces. Users will be able to share TV shows through services like Twitter. And Apple wants users to be able to access shows from iPhones or iPads. Apple declined comment on the matter to the Wall Street Journal.

It is reportedly in talks with Time Warner Cable as well as other entertainment companies that own their own TV content. That’s because entertainment companies may have to extend additional rights to enable Apple to deploy its box. Apple has had trouble getting those rights so far. The set-top box is part of Apple’s plan to succeed in the living room and make its Apple TV product into more than a hobbyist’s curiosity. Apple’s sales of Apple TV have been weak to date, at least in comparison to its iPhones and iPad sales. Any deal with the cable companies will be hard to achieve because of the fear that Apple would dominate the industry in the future.