Boxee, a relatively small company known for its set-top box that streams media to TVs, has been purchased by Samsung for roughly $30 million. The news comes out of Israeli site The Marker, though Boxee CEO Avner Ronen has declined to comment on the rumor. VentureBeat revealed last month that Boxee was searching for a buyer, but Samsung is an unexpected suitor for the company. According to today's report, Boxee — which is based in New York and has offices in Tel Aviv — will retain its 45 employees following the acquisition. The startup had raised a total of $28.5 million in funding and was reportedly seeking another $30 million before it opted to pursue an acquisition.
It's expected that Samsung will use Boxee's technology in its range of smart TVs. It's not clear how Boxee will be incorporated into future TVs, but the Korean company's smart TV software has long been a sticking point as it has struggled to add features while keeping navigation simple. Samsung's problem is one faced by both TV manufacturers and service providers, and it's one that a long-rumored Apple-made television would aim to tackle.
“This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices."
Boxee's latest product was a major play to replace set-top boxes provided by cable companies. Called the Boxee Cloud DVR (renamed from the Boxee TV), it provided a user interface that far surpassed the outdated software on cable boxes while allowing users to record and access shows from the cloud across a range of devices. The company started in 2007 with media software based on the open-source XBMC project, and in 2010 it partnered with D-Link to release its first piece of hardware, the Boxee Box.
Update: The New York Times' Brian Chen has received confirmation of the acquisition from Samsung, though we're still waiting on confirmation of the $30 million figure. A spokesperson from the Korean company has also tells All Things D that "Samsung has acquired key talent and assets from Boxee,” adding that “This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices.”
Greg Sandoval contributed to this report.