4SeTV Plans $99 Mosaic TV Box

Mari Silbey —  August 13, 2014

4SeTV

Because one video stream is never enough, a start-up company called 4SeTV is planning to introduce a $99 retail box that lets users display up to four TV channels at once on one screen. The company is launching a Kickstarter campaign for the device on August 19th, but it’s also making the rounds with cable operators to see if there’s any interest in tying the hardware to a subscription service. Calling its product “the industry’s first personalized mosaic mode device,” 4SeTV says its technology works with both cable stations and over-the-air broadcasts.

The hardware part of the 4SeTV product is a small box that connects to your home router and an HDTV antenna. (Presumably the box can also be connected to a cable set-top.) You control the video interface through a mobile app, and then have the option to cast it to a networked television set. The company says the software will work with Internet-connected TVs, but also with the Google Chromecast.

I can think of very few occasions where I’d want to watch four different channels at once. But pick your favorite sports season and maybe there are enough times when multiple games are on to make mosaic mode worthwhile. For more info, check out the 4SeTV demo video.

10 responses to 4SeTV Plans $99 Mosaic TV Box

  1. I think you’re mistaken about the cable thing Mari.

    From the FAQ on their page: “We currently support over the air channels only; however, we are working to bring additional sources of content to 4SeTV…keep you eyes out for future updates!”

    For somebody like Comcast that encrypts even basic SD channels, you’d need a cable card to even decode the channels in the first place. I suppose they could offer QAM tuning in some markets, but that wouldn’t work with a lot of the (sports) channels you might want to do 4-up with.

  2. Remember when Comcast said they’d offer eDTA capabilities to CE manufactuers like Boxee to decrypt basic cable? Yeah, they don’t remember either.

    It is interesting (or perplexing) that they’re showing off the device at a cable show…

  3. Who in the world wants this?

    For security cams, certainly. But TV? No way.

  4. I might like to have picture-in-picture (PIP) again, although having shifted to watching most content on-demand instead of from OTA/cable, such a feature seems less useful these days. PIP would probably still be useful for watching for when a delay, e.g. from sports or a political-special, is over.

    No scenario, other than for security cams, comes to mind where I’d want a 4-way-split screen.

  5. Looks like cable to me in the YouTube video since it shows LMN, espn, ion, Universal, etc.

    Definitely could be cool for NFL football season!

  6. Glenn- I’m guessing the early retail version won’t support cable channels, but the company is demonstrating the technology to operators with cable content.

  7. Just use a DVR and watch each show on the screen in full with sound. Why would you want to watch 4 games at once when you could just watch one at a time and catch up on the others during breaks (commercials, half time…).

  8. It’s interesting how PIP has all but vanished in the HDTV era – it was a huge selling point back in my college days selling projection televisions at Sears – I don’t see why TIVO or the cable companies couldn’t offer something like this with their boxes – they already have the tuners and could build a custom interface – I for one, would rather see a preview of all the live tuners on my tivo home screen vs the ‘suggestions’ (which always seems to show something that my toddler would love to watch right now, but is only available through one of the subscription add ons)

  9. I don’t know if I would use one of these at home, but if I owned a sports bar I could see uses for this easily.

  10. On a day like today with the Premiere league, college football kicking off this would help immensely.