If you’re anything like myself, it’s not uncommon to have the TV on, iPad propped up and iPhone on hand. The other night was a great example: I was playing Forza 6 on my Xbox One, with Monday Football on my iPad and Twitter going on the iPhone. Thankfully iOS 9 has brought multitasking and picture-in-picture to our favorite tablet, but still having multiple devices going at once can be a struggle.
There is a new Kickstarter campaign that launched yesterday with an eye on simplifying this first world problem. Skreens is a set-top box with up to four inputs that collects all your favorite sources and puts them on one screen. For example, your gaming console, Roku box and DVR can all be shown on one screen.
After just 20 hours, this project has already raised well over three times its original goal. Read on for more details.
The crew behind Skreens has put together a pretty interesting system that it claims is completely lag-free. iOS and Android apps act as a remote, managing the content and sources that are displayed on your HDTV. One of the most intriguing features is the ability to drag and resize each source individually. Every window is shown with a corresponding logo on the iPad screen, a pull of the corner makes the corresponding input larger or smaller. Each input supplies audio, which can be switched by touching the corresponding device within the app.
This ability to combine and adjust sources as needed in theory delivers a more customizable viewing experience. Lets go back to my example from the other night. With Skreens, I would be able to have the Xbox One cover two-thirds of my HDTV, with the cable box and my Twitter feed splitting the remaining third. There is a built-in web browser that handles internet sources at the moment but we’d expect to see native apps at some point in the future if this product really takes off.
Skreens is being marketed towards a wide variety of consumers and rightly so, as more and more users are opting for a multi-screen experience. Other uses include broadcasting on Twitch with multiple sources, or building a customizable workstation by utilizing the built-in HDMI port on a Mac mini. Skreens claims that you’ll have a lag-free experience, which is one of our biggest doubts. There also is not much concrete information on frames per second and how that will hold up under intense loads.
On the technical side of things, each unit has built-in Wi-Fi, dual USB ports and support for HDMI 1.4. The system is powered by a dual ARM Cortex A9 MPCore processor. All together, Skreens is offering four different models as a part of this Kickstarter campaign. The NexusTwo offers dual HDMI inputs for $200 while the upgraded Pro model adds Wi-Fi and Bluetooth audio streaming plus universal control capabilities for $299. A four input model can be had for $350 with the Pro edition coming in at $450.
There is currently 39 days left in this campaign and Skreens has already raised over $92,000, much more than its initial $25,000 goal. This project is slated for delivery in March of 2016.
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