“OK, I want channels 18, 24, 63, 109, 87 and the weather channel.” Many may remember this line from Back to the Future 2. While we may not be there yet, Skreens is bringing us one step closer.
Today, September 22nd, the Kickstarter for Skreens launched. The initial goal of $25,000 was met in around 25 minutes. Let’s get to the big question, what is Skreens? Skreens allows you to display up to 4 different HDMI devices on one screen. You can adjust the size of each video in real time and the built in hardware scaler will adjust the resolution. Skreens will output at 1080p 60 frames per second and pass through the audio, so hooking it up to a receiver would still allow surround sound if the source supports it.
Four sources you say? So you just have your TV divided into four squares? No. You can size and remove or add any of the sources you want. Only want your game console playing? Go for it. Want your cable box to take up most of the screen and to have your game in the corner? Can do. Want a twitter feed on one side of the screen and your favorite show taking up the rest of the screen? You’re in luck, Skreens has a built in web browser.
The possibilities are where things become very interesting. Gaming and streaming are a given area to start in. It could make gaming and watching your favorite team at the same time much easier. No flipping between inputs or checking your phone or tablet. Streamers could use it to adjust their layout on the fly. Beyond this though other thoughts come to mind. One could easily think of ways this would be very useful for work. Also, it could simply help someone get through their favorite shows while they check email or twitter, or whatever other tasks they may need to do. It could simply help the person with little free time to multitask much more easily than they could before.
With the Pro versions allowing audio to be output through wi-fi or Bluetooth (in addition to the main TV speakers) this could allow couples to watch the same TV or parents and children to use the same TV. Looking at the reactions to Skreens on their Kickstarter some mentioned looping in their favorite team’s game locally while they stream so they can keep an eye on it while interacting with their stream. Another idea was to add in a baby monitor locally to keep an eye on their child while streaming or playing a game, etc.
With the flexibility of HDMI inputs and an API as well, possibilities abound. Throw in transparency and Chroma-keying for the pro versions and there are even more options.
What do you think? Does Skreens look like something that would be useful to you? Sound off in the comments below.