This startup can make your smart TV seem like an utter waste of money

Smarter idiot box.
Smarter idiot box.
Image: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
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For those of you gloating over your Smart TV, there is bad news. A Bangalore-based startup is undercutting the bragging rights that come with your device by providing an all-encompassing interface that allows a user to connect any television set through the HDMI port to any other device wirelessly.

What started as an effort to reduce the number of wires needed to connect a device to the television has morphed into Teewe, made by Bangalore-based Mango Man Consumer Electronics.

The product, much like an Apple TV or a Roku device, connects to the home WiFi network and allows you to watch content stored on other devices, on YouTube or anywhere else online. The main advantage of Tewee is its price—compared with Apple TV (Rs7,500) or Roku (Rs4,300), Teewe is much cheaper at Rs1,999. It will begin retailing at the end of this month.

Teewe is the brainchild of Sai Srinivas from IIT Kanpur and Shubham Malhotra from BITS Pilani. The co-founders have got the backing of some prominent names, such as Arun Seth of British Telecom, Piyush Goel of Palaash Investors and Kavin Bharti Mittal, the founder of Hike Messenger.

Here is how it works. An app that can be downloaded to an iPhone or an Android phone acts as the user interface for the device. Once the device is connected to the TV and the app is loaded on your smartphone, you can use the phone to browse through a video or play it on the television. The same can also be done through a laptop.

Image for article titled This startup can make your smart TV seem like an utter waste of money
Image: MangoMan Consumer Electronics

While a Smart TV can also boast these features, Srinivas says Teewe offers a better experience. “Smart TVs are expensive and using the television remote to navigate through the internet is tougher than using the application on the phone,” he explains.

Srinivas already sees great potential for his product. “If you are hosting a party at home and want to play music from someone’s phone, all you have to do is cue the music through the app and create a playlist from his phone,” he says.

While the device has been developed and designed in India, it is being manufactured mostly out of a unit in China. The team started working on an early prototype last year and manufacturing began in April. The company is working on a pilot project with Airtel to provide the device to Airtel broadband customers.

If all goes well for Teewe, the sheen might come off highly marketed Smart TVs.