LAS VEGAS -- What if you put the second screen on top of the first one?
That's the angle SeeSpace's new InAiR is taking, using a small HDMI pass-through box to overlay related information on your TV content. The company is debuting the product at CES 2014, with a Kickstarter launching on January 7.
InAiR analyzes the content you're watching using the company's "Automatic Content Recognition" technology, which can find related social and web-based content, as well as more traditional information, such as a channel guide. The layered interface will work in 3D on supported TVs, but the interface will also work with traditional 2D TVs as well. Navigation is handled using the InAiR app, which will be available for for Android or iOS.
The InAiR can also be controlled using gestures, and SeeSpace says it's compatible with both the Xbox Kinect and Leap Motion. For the Kinect, the InAiR communicates over Wi-Fi as long as you're running an app on either a Windows computer or an Xbox, which the company says it has already developed.
The hardware consists of a small puck that sits between your TV and your video device. It can handle video content from any device, including 3D and 4K signals, although the current hardware only has one HDMI input, so you're limited to using it with only device -- mostly likely your cable box. SeeSpace says it's looking into developing a multi-input InAiR, depending on whether or not the company hits its stretch goals on Kickstarter.
While there's no doubt that social media (particularly Twitter) is a popular companion to TV watching, the big question for InAiR will be whether buyers want that information overlaying (and obscuring) the content they're watching. The overlay concept has the advantage of putting all the information one screen, but for interacting with and writing tweets, I'd have to imagine a smartphone will still be best.
The InAir is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2014 for $99.