Apple was recently granted a patent that reveals plans of a DVR function for Apple TV. The patent was applied for on October 12, 2006 and was granted on August 14th 2012. Keep in mind that just because there is a patent for a device or feature, doesn’t mean it will ever make it to market.
However, it does show that Apple has or had at one time a desire to make it’s Apple TV work with cable TV boxes and record content, similar to TiVo. This does seem like an unlikely feature for the second and third generation Apple TV’s, since they have only 8GB of flash storage. The patent was filed when the original Apple TV had a hard drive of 40GB to 160GB.
Whether or not Apple plans to release a future set top box or HDTV with DVR functionality is yet to be seen, but they now have a patent to do so.
Here is a copy of the full patent (no. 8,243,017).
Via [Patently Apple]