Much of the talk about Apple’s rumored iTV has centered on the kind of content that would be available on it. Recent reports have suggested that Apple wants to offer users a much greater degree of control over broadcast content than currently existing cable plans generally offer. One report last month hinted that Steve Jobs’s goal had been for users to have the option of subscribing to broadcast channels a la carte, a model not currently supported by any cable provider.
Reports that Apple is focusing on content for the iTV have gained new credibility in light of a patent recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent includes references to menu options concerning television shows that have been recorded directly from a broadcast, in addition to those purchased from content providers (i.e., the iTunes Store). In other words, the iTV may be getting DVR.
Interestingly, there were references to this sort of technology in patents related to the Apple TV several years ago. This suggests that the Apple TV, which Steve Jobs famously referred to as a “hobby,” was originally intended to connect to a cable network and have DVR functionality built in. There was speculation at the time of the original Apple TV’s release that Apple was aiming at the TV market, and would eventually make a full-blown HDTV. The original patents suggest that that is the case, and this most recent patent only makes it look more likely that Apple is preparing to break into the TV market. Whether they can make as much of a splash as they made in the smartphone market remains to be seen.[Via Patently Apple]