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Samsung acquires streaming-media startup Boxee for a smart TV push


Streaming-media startup Boxee have been bought by South Korean electronics giant Samsung for a reported $30 million in order to expand its footprint in the smart TV market.

The Israeli-based Boxee produces its own hardware that records content from streaming broadcast channels, allowing users to then watch these shows and films “from the cloud” on a range of deviecs including TVs, computers, tablets and smart phones.

As well as its success in the smartphone market Samsung is the world’s best-selling maker of smart TVs – screens with built in functionality offering access to the internet, video-on-demand services and various apps. Earlier this year it said that the majority of sets it sells will be smart TVs.

The acquisition will mean that Boxee will shut down its cloud-based recorder service on July 10, apologising on a statement on their website: “We realize many of you loved the service, and we’re sorry it won’t be available moving forward.”

How exactly the collaboration will express itself in real terms is uncertain, though in the same public statement Boxee said:

“Joining Samsung means we will be able to work on products that marry the best hardware and software in the TV space, products that will be used by tens of millions of people and will help to shape the future of TV.”

Many industry commentators have speculated that Smasung would take advantage of Boxee’s software, as the South Korean’s in-house user interfaces have often been criticised for their unreliability.

Although details of the deal have not yet been disclosed, a number of Israeli outlets including The Marker are reporting the figure for the sale as close to $30 million. This price has been seen as somewhat parsimonious considering a recent round of funding raised $26.5 million for the company.

In a statement given to the New York Times Samsung would discuss finances, only stating that the company has “acquired key talent and assets from Boxee. This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices.”

News of the deal continues to confirm living-rooms as the major battleground for consumer electronics over the next year. Microsoft’s launch of the Xbox One as an all-in-one media solution and the continued rumours surrounding Apple TV mean killer products for the front room are being chased by all the major companies.