Back in entertainment’s glory days, movies weren’t minimized to computer screens and music flowed freely through amps and loudspeakers. To MIT alum Dave Sukoff, devices used “to do what they were best at doing,” and he wanted to bring that sensation back.
With the help of five current MIT students, he developed Sookbox: a black box able to store users’ music, photos and video that they can later play on any television and stereo system around the world, all with the touch of a smartphone or tablet.
The Inman Square-based startup debuted the device at International CES, a week-long consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, earlier this month.
“At CES, we saw a lot of, ‘This is the next largest TV’ or ‘The better Blu-Ray player,’” says Sookbox CTO Cyrus Vafadari. “But we started with the user experience and then we designed the product. We started with the user experience we wanted people to have, and then started figuring out the technology.”
Sookbox’s software can connect a television, stereo system and computer via the cloud. The device also allows users to launch a web browser from their television set to surf the web all while running other media applications.
“It’s a complicated piece of software that we have designed,” Vafadari acknowledges, which could be why the team has already raised $600,000 to date and could receive a couple hundred thousand more dollars through angel investors within the next few months.
Vafadari hints the team has “a lot of cool features down the pipeline,” including a smaller Sookbox model.
Right now, the device is still in beta, and the company is waiting to receive more feedback until they move into full production. As of now, however, so far so good.
“We’ve gotten positive feedback, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much positive feedback,” Vafadari says. “We have a completely new kind of product that isn’t on the market yet.”