Dish’s new Evolve box aims to bring the streaming good life to your hotel room

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We’ve all had the experience of trying to find something to watch while staying at a hotel, and it’s never easy. Movies are overpriced, and rarely do rooms feature the kind of setup even the most casual of entertainment fans would have back home — Netflix, anyone? Enter Dish Network’s new Evolve streaming box.

Dish wants to make finding good entertainment better — and cheaper– for everyone involved, and the Evolve is the company’s new solution. The Evolve is an Android TV-powered streaming system to be featured in hotel rooms soon, which consolidates streaming apps, live TV, and Chromecast’s “casting” technology all into a single, 4K device. Dish calls its new creation a “set-back” box as opposed to a set-top box like Roku or Apple TV streaming devices, as the Evolve is designed to sit behind a hotel room’s TV.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the Evolve is the built-in Chromecast technology, which allows you to sit back and stream your favorite content to the TV right from your phone or tablet. To be fair, Chromecast tech has appeared in hotels before. However, the pairing of Chromecast with a Dish box is something entirely new, and provides some impressive features beyond what you get with a regular Chromecast, including access to Android TV apps via Google Play, an “advanced” programming guide with features like genre filtering, and channel preview.

In addition, the system allows for 4K streaming (if your hotel happens to boast a 4K Ultra HD TV), while the inclusion of Bluetooth LE (which stands for “low energy”) allows you to pair up wireless headphones for private listening. Plus, the remote hosts dedicated buttons for the Google Play Store, YouTube, and Dish’s SlingTV live TV streaming service for quick access.

Hotels will be able to tailor the Evolve’s UI to their own needs, which can include hotel branding, pre-loaded apps, or curated welcome channels. A private messaging service also allows the guest and hotel staff to communicate. Dish is hoping to partner with hotels to not only create a more convenient and user-friendly watching experience for hotel guests, but also to save space and streamline hotel entertainment by funneling streaming, casting, and live TV into a single system.

The Evolve box is powered by Dish’s Smartbox technology, which is a video distribution technology for commercial businesses — such as hotels — that eliminates the need for multiple antennas over every room. Between the two devices, an entire hotel can be outfitted to accommodate the entertainment needs of all its guests with a simple setup.

Dish will be showcasing the new Evolve streaming system at the HITEC show in Toronto from Tuesday June 27 to Thursday June 29.

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