Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on August 2, 2013.
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on August 2, 2013.
Sookbox is power over your media: Play your videos, music and favorite apps on any television or stereo, all controlled from your handheld device.
Sookbox is a "Geek in a box" - it is "MIT in your home". Wondering what an MIT geek would do to solve the entertainment problem? You would imagine that all media is sourced from one central location. You would imagine that it is all controlled from the palm of your hand. And you would imagine that media would be played on any television or stereo. The answer is a Sookbox, a solution for every home and beyond.
Sookbox Demo from Recent Conference...
Two years ago, the Sookbox founding team gathered in a room on the MIT campus and stated the answer to the fragmented entertainment problem as this: I want to sit on my couch and use my handheld device to say "Goodfellas, family room, go".
Owned content is stored on the Sookbox. Apps (such as a full featured Browser) are run via the Sookbox. Simply choose what you want to do (watch a movie, stream a show, listen to a playlist...), and on what output you want it (family room television, kitchen stereo, master bedroom television...). This is done via the Sookbox app on your handheld, which communicates with the Sookbox itself.
Using Sookbox, you can play a movie on any television in your house, or music on any stereo, using your smartphone or tablet as a remote control.
The Sookbox full-featured Browser is the first of its kind. On the television you see the content, and you control it with your smartphone or tablet. There is no clunky remote or keyboard displayed on your television. The Sookbox Browser uses the native keyboard of your handheld, and a simulated mouse (simply rub your finger across the handheld, and the pointer moves across the television).
The User Interface
Sookbox consists of three products:
Code named "Big Daddy Server", our prototype units are being field tested and soon will be ready for prime time. It is a computer with the Linux operating system that runs our Sookbox software. The current Sookbox BDS has wired outputs for four television zones (HDMI) and 16 audio zones (stereo). It has two terabytes of storage capacity for your music and videos. It is designed for a home with serious entertainment demands - in other words, a home with lots of wiring and zones. Do you already have (or want) a home theater or distributed media system (audio and/or video)? That's who the Sookbox BDS is for.
Other ideal uses include restaurants, schools and offices.
Suppose you don't need that much capacity? Instead of multiple wired outputs, it is simply one video and one audio output. Connect each to your primary television and/or stereo. It has a USB port to easily connect an external hard drive. The Sookbox MS runs the same software as the BDS, and has the same functionality.
Want to add more zones to the Sookbox MS? Then you need...
The Stream Runner is a computer in its own right. It is smaller than a deck of cards. It sits on your wireless network, where it acquires an IP address. Then the Sookbox MS (or BDS) finds it, and automatically creates a new zone - without any wiring. It has a video and audio output to connect directly to your television or stereo. And as the name implies, it runs the stream the Sookbox tells it to. Multiple Stream runners can be controlled by a Sookbox.
The Stream Runner will be able to create a zone outside of your home network. Bring a Stream Runner to your hotel room, plug it into the television, get it onto their wireless network - and the Sookbox at home will find it, and treat it as if it was a zone in your house. In the near future, your hotel might simply provide a Stream Runner for you.
Can you just use a Stream Runner without a Sookbox? Sure - we are working on that as well. It is similar software, though somewhat more powerful to act as a "stand-alone" (as in, without a Sookbox BDS or MS).
The Sookbox novel approach breaks from the traditional paradigm of one controller connected to one device connected to one output. We separate content from control with a framework that enables users to play their media or apps on multiple outputs.
Sookbox creates a Personal cloud. A true cloud means access and control from anywhere to anywhere. And personal means that it is yours: A cloud divided by user, not by service.
Sookbox Founder Dave Sukoff discusses the Sookbox vision at Verizon-MIT conference on the Connected Home...
Most media distribution devices on the market today are dead end technologies. Sookbox is, at its heart, a computer running software. As such, the possibilities for it are nearly limitless.
Our immediate priority (and what we will use the backer funding for) is to get the Sookbox BDS consumer ready. Then the Sookbox MS and the Stream Runner. But along the way, the corollary innovations come to life. Note that these future features might not be part of the version that is released with the backer rewards. However, future feature updates will be pushed to your Sookbox automatically.
Our existing full-fidelity Browser goes a long way. You can do almost anything with it. For example, open the Browser in the family room, go to Hulu.com, play a show, make it full screen, enjoy. But for an even better experience, a dedicated Hulu app can be created. This will allow you to enjoy Hulu (and other services like Pandora, youtube, iheartradio, etc...) in ways that are vastly more powerful: controlled from the palm of your hand, and directed to any zone. We have our development team hard at work creating these apps.
As Sookbox gains traction, outside developers will be able to create apps for our framework. At its foundation, our software is designed for this type of open integration.
We created an iOS app that works great on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, and are currently working on an Android app. We also have plans for a Browser-based and Windows 8 app. We are constantly improving the interface, and you'll receive frequent updates to these apps.
In the olden days, people did something called "recording". In the modern era, we will aggregate. The DVR becomes a DVA - and you simply aggregate content, regardless of its source, into one place - your Sookbox. You want entertainment, and you really should not be concerned with where it comes from.
Media is media - and gaming is part of that. Playing games on the Sookbox is a natural extension of its capabilities. Sookbox simply runs a game like it would any app. Play Turbo (our first game created as a proof of concept) on whatever zone you choose. The controller is your handheld. The output is your television.
The Sookbox platform opens up new doors to game players and developers. Sookbox will allow a developer to use all the tools of a smartphone (accelerometer, microphone, touchscreen etc) to let multiple players play on a single screen. The platform allowed us to make our demo game: Turbo, and to use the accelerometer on each player's phone to control a car on the television. Our platform will soon be extended to allow two players to play a game (such as a First Person Shooter) together on separate screens on a single box, with audio distributed on speakers throughout the house.
Imagine being on a road trip - you tell your Stream Runner-enabled car stereo to select the Sookbox playlist (at home) with your favorite driving songs.
The car is likely a later stage use case for the Stream Runner. But using a Stream Runner to get your media outside the home is in the works. As described above, it is an IP-enabled computer. Sookbox sees it as just another zone. It does not necessarily care if it sits in the home network or not - it just wants to run the stream.
Sookbox prides itself on its exceptional team of development professionals. Cutting edge technological innovation is idea driven. It is about a passion for solving complex problems. Here is some information on the team that built the Sookbox Framework:
We have been ramping up our readiness for larger scale production of our product portfolio and will continue to do so with your support. Our core team has a strong understanding and experience in regards to the production requirements for successful product release cognizant of all the product development stages.
Our COO is Kevin Gagliostro. Kevin has over 15 years of professional experience in various disciplines with a passion for successful product launch and strategic market penetration for novel solutions. He has also worked for various tech start-ups and product launch campaigns supporting efforts throughout the various stages of product development life cycle from proof-of-concept to production readiness to supply chain leaning for obsolescence mitigation and cost-down initiatives. Most recently, Kevin was a Product Manager at Brooks Automation. Previously, he was an Integrated Product Team Lead in the Program Management Office at Raytheon for the modernized Patriot. Having worked as a Patent Examiner at USPTO, Kevin is intimately familiar with product IP protection process and has managed the patent filing efforts here at Sookbox. Kevin has a Masters in Engineering Management from Tufts University and a Bachelors in both Physics and Mathematics from Longwood University.
Kevin leads the manufacturing effort, a summary of which is as follows:
Sookbox is on the path for full-scale manufacturing to assure that you will get our products delivered to you as described in this kickstarter campaign. We take this readiness step very seriously, and the added support from kickstarter will only assure that the job is done correctly and expeditiously.
We have been diligently compiling a go to market plan that includes manufacturing, marketing, distribution and customer service. Our team includes seasoned professionals in small and mid-level tech companies that have been through the start-up manufacturing process.
The initial lot of Sookbox BDS was built the old fashion way - essentially our development team put them together by hand. We are very experienced in this methodology, and can get several hundred made. We have additional space and assemblers ready to go.
As we work towards the Sookbox MS and Stream Runner, we are already engaged with manufacturing partners. Thus, we feel confident that the risks are mitigated. We also factored in a cushion to our delivery times to accommodate any unforeseen scheduling delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Sookbox supports most file types, including: MPEG (ES,PS,TS,PVA,MP3), AVI, MP4/MOV/WMA, MKV, ASF/WMV/WMA, WAV (including DTS), OGG/OGM/Annodex, Raw Audio: DTS, AAC, AC3/A52, Raw DV, FLAC, FLV (Flash), MXF, Nut, some ISO.
It depends on the source. If you download a file from a service like Amazon or iTunes, it will not play properly. However, you can play most content via the Browser app. For example, you can go to Amazon.com and watch your content there in the Browser.
- (30 days)