Boxee has struggled to make a name for itself in the home entertainment market, but things just took an interesting turn. According to a report from TheMarker, Boxee has been acquired by consumer electronics giant Samsung for “tens of millions of dollars.” The figure is said to be less than $30 million, which is the amount Israel-based Boxee was rumored to be looking for. Samsung’s Boxee buy could be a good play that will give the company a solid cloud-based DVR and TV streaming service to bolster its entertainment portfolio. Boxee has raised $28.5 million in capital since it was founded in 2007, and its service has gone through several major changes. Boxee started as a media hub but the service now consists of a set-top box with several compatible video apps, and unlimited cloud DVR service that allows users to stream live or recorded TV to computers, smartphones and tablets.
Boxee will begin shipping its new Boxee Live TV tuners this week according to a post on the company’s blog. The new device is a dongle that provides Boxee Box owners with the ability to watch local broadcast TV stations. The Boxee Box accessory costs just $49.99 and it is likely best for those who have turned to Boxee to replace their cable television subscription, not those who are using it as a supplement. The Boxee Live TV tuner supports the following:
- Social Channel Listings – We’ll show you what’s on, what your friends are watching, and how many people total are watching a show as you flip through channels.
- Sharing – Share the traditional Boxee way on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr AND you can now passively share to Facebook using our Live TV Timeline App – turn sharing on and whatever you’re tuned into will post to your Facebook ticker automatically. It’s easy to switch off too so your friends don’t need to know about your addiction to HSN.
- Edit Channels – Quickly hide channels from your lineup that don’t speak your language or have pissed you off with bad programming decisions like taking Arrested Development off the air. Easily rename WNDHCTA 7.2 to NBC.
- All-In-One Interface – done watching a show on broadcast, easily jump into more episodes from the web. It’s the best of both worlds all on the same remote.
Boxee officially announced the Live TV stick on Wednesday, a $49 USB dongle that will allow users to watch ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in HD without a monthly contract — provided you’re in an area with broadcast coverage. You’ll need to own one of the company’s $179 Boxee Box set top boxes in order to take advantage of the Live TV stick, which means it won’t work on your PC or Mac. We’re big fans of the Boxee Box here at BGR and we’re definitely excited to check out the Live TV stick when it hits store shelves in January. If you’re overeager, you can pre-order a unit now. A few screen shots of the Live TV user interface follow after the break. More →
Spotify now has more than 250,000 subscribers in the United States, Reuters reported recently. The service also now has more than 2 million paid subscribers around the globe. The figures have not yet been confirmed by Spotify, but Reuters said CEO Daniel Ek disclosed the numbers in September. Spotify, which made its U.S. debut in July, offers users free ad-supported access to a library with millions of songs. It also offers a $4.99 monthly option with unlimited streaming and no ads, or a $9.99 subscription that supports offline mode, access from mobile devices, ad-free music playback and unlimited streaming. Its recent partnership with Facebook has been seen as a driving force for its success in the United States. The company also announced on Friday that its service is now available on Boxee. More →
Boxee, the popular online video and TV streaming service, announced that it will be adding a payment system to its streaming platform. The payment system will launch over the summer and will allow Boxee users one click access to paid content including TV shows, TV channels, and movies via a pay-per view or subscription based model. They are currently trying to court content partners willing to make their entertainment assets available to Boxee customers and are offering content owners the ability to package and price the content as they see fit. Boxee, of course, will take a small cut from each purchased item, thereby generating a new revenue stream for the start-up company. Current Boxee users who eschew paid content can breath a sigh of relief as Boxee has publicly stated that the paid content will be optional and Boxee will remain a free service with access to free and ad-supported content. Drinks all around. More →
By now you’ve no doubt heard of the recent Hulu on Boxee situation. Three sentence recap for those who haven’t: Boxee is a media management/viewing/streaming application for Mac and PC that became a popular way for users to enjoy Hulu content on computers or on an Apple TV. Hulu told Boxee to stop serving its content. Boxee complied.
With that out of the way, Boxee released a new early build today and a quick look at the screen shot above reveals that, umm, Hulu content is back. Huh? No, Boxee and Hulu haven’t struck a new deal — Boxee decided to get a little sneaky and add Hulu feeds. Previously, the Boxee team had used some grade A hackery to present Hulu content but now it apparently hopes to circumvent issues of the past by serving up content through publicly available feeds. Why did Boxee do it despite agreeing to remove Hulu content? We imagine the majority of Boxee users had been drawn in by Hulu content and once it disappeared, many of them likely vanished along with it. We understand the need for Boxee to bring Hulu back to its app of course, but we also imagine this little stunt will do more harm than good as the company continues its attempts to hold more meetings with Hulu. What’s done is done though, and it will be interesting to see how Boxee vs. Hulu plays out.
Yesterday, Boxee announced that it was taking its XBMC-based media player into the public Alpha phase, opening up the software to any and all that care to give it a run through. Boxee, for those that aren’t aware, is a one-stop media convergence powerhouse, bringing streaming internet video from a variety of popular sources into perfect harmony with your local and network-attached music, video, and photo collections. In addition to the public Alpha, Boxee revealed a new version of the software that places Joost and iPlayer support next to the current stable of streaming sources that include Hulu and Netflix. Sadly, the iPlayer support is U.K. only, so anyone residing outside of the Queen’s territory will have to search elsewhere for their BBC fix. TIn theory, these new additions make a good service even better, though there are a few caveats. First, the the public Alpha is only for Apple and Ubuntu users. Anyone looking to score big with a Windows machine will have to submit their name for a private code. Secondly, while we certainly think that Boxee is an excellent addition to the field, our tests have revealed a product that could still use a bit of work on the stability front, with frequent freezes and crashes hampering an otherwise pleasant and feature-rich user experience. If you decide to jump on the wagon and download the Alpha, let us know what you think!