“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,” Jessica E. Vascellaro and Sam Schechner report for The Wall Street Journal.

“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,” Vascellaro and Schechner report. “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. Apple’s device also may create space on the TV screen for social media features, such as sharing TV shows through services like Twitter Inc., the people said. Apple also wants users to be able to access content from the device on other Apple products like iPhones and iPads.”

Vascellaro and Schechner report, “Apple wants viewers to be able to access all episodes of current seasons of TV shows, whereas existing video on demand services from cable operators generally often offer only a few episodes of a current season. Apple’s proposed device would also provide access to older seasons of shows, which are already available through Apple’s iTunes media store.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The post-DVR era can’t arrive soon enough. Bring it on!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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Apple in talks with U.S. cable operators over transforming Apple TV into set-top box for live television – August 16, 2012