We’ve all heard of picture-in-picture. But how about picture-in-picture-in-picture-in-picture-in-picture?
That’s the idea driving SkreensTV, a Boston-based startup that has developed a box that routes video from multiple devices, such as settops, gaming consoles, PCs, Roku units, Chromecast adapters and other video streamers, and displays it all simultaneously on the main TV screen.
Among the applications: playing a PlayStation 3 game while also streaming a movie on an Amazon Fire TV box, or watching multiple football games while also keeping tabs on one’s fantasy stats.
SkreensTV pulls this off by integrating up to five HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) feeds and linking them to a specialized processer and an HTML5- based platform that stitches them together into a unified HDMI output stream. The company has also developed a tablet app that enables the user to customize the TV screen layout by selecting the placement and picture size of each individual feed.
“It’s about control — allowing the consumer to control what’s on the TV,” Marc Todd, the founder of SkreensTV, said.
Todd, former CEO of video-monitoring company IneoQuest Technologies, started work on the SkreensTV concept more than two years ago, believing in a consumer desire for an option that would allow for combining and mixing content from multiple devices without having to manually toggle from one to another.
SkreensTV, a company with about 20 employees, hopes to start shipping the device in the first half of 2015. It is currently pitching the product at Indiegogo, a crowd-funding site, for $399 as part of a pre-order promotion and expects to sell the product for $499 thereafter.
As of Nov. 21, SkreensTV had raised about $29,095 in orders, roughly 15% of its goal of $200,000. Its Indiegogo campaign is scheduled to end Dec. 13.
Todd said he thinks SkreensTV is good for the pay TV industry as it tries to keep viewers engaged amid a growing number of over-the-top viewing options. “If you’re a cable company … you can’t make more subscribers, but I can create more TVs,” he said.
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