The first widespread consumer implementation of picture-in-picture (PiP) can be traced back to the mid-1980s. It’s a common feature on most modern televisions yet despite innovations like dual-view that let two different people watch two different shows at the same time in full screen, PiP never really took off.
A company by the name of SkreensTV is hoping you’ll give the concept another chance. Their set-top box by the same name connects to your television and allows you to view content from a wealth of different sources simultaneously.
Five HDMI 1.4 ports, gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and two USB ports let you connect cable, satellite, gaming consoles, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast and more. The on-screen layout is fully customizable from a phone or a tablet using the company’s app so you can resize and stretch each content window as you see fit with no limits on the number of windows you can have open at once.
The set-top box is basically a mini-computer powered by an ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor with up to 64GB of onboard storage. All video sources are played back at 1080p but it will also work with 4K televisions. Furthermore, audio can be played from your television / home theater system from the program of your choice or multiple people can listen via Wi-Fi headphones or through their smartphone using headphones.
SkreensTV is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo as a flexible funding campaign which means the company will get the money it raises even if it doesn’t meet its funding goal of $200,000. They’re well on their way with more than $13,000 in pledges today alone, certainly a positive sign.
If you’re sold on the idea, be prepared to shell out $399 for a set-top box with 4GB of built-in storage (add $100 to upgrade to 32GB and so on). That’s not cheap which leads me to my primary concern with the device.
This certainly seems like a neat idea that could be plenty useful in the right circumstances yet I can’t help but get the feeling that it’s all a bit too late (and too expensive – plus it isn’t expected to ship until December 2015).
Streaming media is more popular than ever and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are a dime a dozen these days – practically everyone has them, even kids. Heck, you can buy a cheap flat-screen TV for roughly a third of the price of SkreensTV. I know that families with kids isn’t the only target audience but that was the scenario used in the marketing video.
What do you think about SkreensTV? Could you find a solid use for it (console LAN party, security camera monitoring, etc.) or would your funds be better spent somewhere else?