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Apple envisions new cloud DVR, social space in set-top box

Device may have the ability to start any show at any time and start shows just minutes after they've begun, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.

Josh Long/CNET

Following yesterday's revelation that Apple was in talks to develop a new TV set-top box, more details are emerging about features the device will have.

One of the key features Apple plans to introduce with the device is a cloud-based DVR function that will let users view any TV show at any time, sources tell The Wall Street Journal. The feature would let viewers start a program minutes after it began, similar to a Time-Warner Cable feature called Start Over.

Apple is also reportedly interested in providing access to all episodes from the current season of a show, instead of just a few as it does now.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is also said to be developing a user interface that could include navigation icons like those found on Apple's iPad. The device may include social-media features as well, such as sharing shows on Twitter or Facebook, these people said.

The Journal reported yesterday that Apple had been in talks with cable operators in the U.S. to pitch its $99 streamer as an alternative to the set-top boxes cable subscribers rent. No deals have been finalized, but Apple has reportedly talked with Time-Warner Cable.

Apple, of course has long been rumored to be working on a TV set, a tale that's rooted in some fact. Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted "to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use" and that he "finally cracked it." Since then there's been no shortage of rumors that suggest Apple is still at work on such a product.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the report and will update this report when we learn more.