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.

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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