Samsung just made an unexpected move to bolster its entertainment portfolio and gain a stronger footing in people's living rooms, acquiring Israeli and NYC-based streaming media startup Boxee for “around $30 million.” The actual figure isn’t known, but the South Korean company confirmed the transaction involved key talent and assets from Boxee, which will help improve the overall user experience across its connected devices.
Such devices include a range of so called smart TVs with internet connectivity as well as their popular smartphones and tablets. It's not clear how Boxee will be incorporated into the future of these products but given the company’s mention of improving the user experience, we can probably assume at the very least their smart TV interface is in for a refresh after being criticised for being impractical and difficult to use.
As part of the deal, the entire Boxee team of around 45 people, including president Avner Ronen will reportedly stay on board as they transition to work under Samsung’s roof.
Boxee started life as a free cross-platform fork of XBMC designed for home theater PCs connected to big screen TVs. Since then the company has released its own streaming box with the help of D-link, secured several content deals, and discontinued its standalone software. More recently with the release of the Boxee TV, the company shifted focus from web and local streaming, to live over-the-air broadcasts and cloud based DVR functionality, while cutting down the number of online video streaming sources to just a few big ones.