Lauren Goode

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Samsung Acquires Set-Top Box Maker Boxee

Boxee has gotten its buyer.

boxee-cable-feature

Samsung just confirmed in a statement to AllThingsD that the Korean electronics giant has acquired the Israel- and New York-based maker of set-top boxes.

“Samsung has acquired key talent and assets from Boxee,” a spokesperson for Samsung said. “This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices.”

Boxee’s quest to find a buyer — or raise another big round of funding — was reported two weeks ago by AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka. A representative from the company confirmed the buy-out and said the company would issue a statement later this week.

The startup, which is led by Avner Ronen, first launched as a software platform that allowed users to stream TV content and other video to their PCs. In November of 2010, it produced a hardware box, in collaboration with D-Link, that connected to TV sets to stream the same content to TVs.

Due in part to the relatively new existence of set-top boxes for Internet video, but also due to the company’s approach to its product, Boxee raised the ire of cable companies and proponents of the traditional cable industry, who were skittish about premium programming being streamed on the Web.

Over the past few years, Boxee has failed to gain as much traction in the set-top box market as Apple TV and Roku have — which basically split the U.S. market in half, according to the NPD Group.

Last October, Boxee launched a new, cloud-based DVR box that also promised to transmit unencrypted cable — a nod to the draw of over-the-air programming — despite Boxee’s insistence over the past few years that consumers were cutting the cord and turning to the Web.

As Kafka reported, Boxee has raised around $30 million since 2008. First reports about the Samsung acquisition put the buying price at $30 million, which, if accurate, makes this deal not exactly sweet for Boxee.

Its most recent funding round was more than two years ago, when it picked up $16.5 million.

For Samsung, acquiring Boxee’s assets could potentially bolster Samsung’s home-entertainment offerings, as consumers slowly but surely transition to “smart” Internet-connected TVs.


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