Samsung has confirmed the acquisition of Boxee this afternoon, raising eyebrows and questions about what the South Korean-based electronics giant will do with the smaller hardware/software startup company. Both Engadget and TechCrunch broke the news this morning, citing their own reliable sources. Samsung confirmed the acquisition this afternoon with the New York Times, but did not disclose any specific amount.
Boxee has starting taking pre-orders a USB dongle that’ll allow you to watch live TV over-the-air. The USB-connecting device looks like other DTV tuners such as the Pinnacle PCTV and the Elgato Eye TV, with a male USB connector on one side and female coaxial cable connector on the other. The Boxee product even includes an HD antenna, although we’re a bit skeptical about the antenna’s ability to capture digital signals amidst any interference.
Boxee Box’s upcoming 1.5 software update will apparently support live TV tuning via a special USB dongle. The dongle will capture over-the-air local broadcasts from networks such as NBC and FOX, allowing you to watch digital SD and HD television for free. GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers wrote about the tuner integration when he discovered the option in an unreleased Boxee 1.5 update.
Your favorite social TV software Boxee has launched an app for Apple’s iPad. And, along with iPad support added two new features for iPad users. The first is the ability to watch videos living on your PC on your iPad via WiFi connection.
A new firmware update for the Boxee Box brings VUDU flicks to your screen for $5.99 a pop in 1080p with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround. VUDU is offering Boxee Box owners a free credit of $5.99 upon signup for a rental or purchase. Standard-def movies are $2 a pop but why would you?
In case you missed any HD news last week, here’s a wrap up of the more significant stories we came across. Of most significance, FOX finally made some deals with Dish Network and Cablevision to get their channels back on the air, although not without controversy.
In November, VUDU content will stream on the Boxee platform for both Mac and PC users, as well as the Boxee Box by D-Link. VUDU’s movie titles can be rented for $2 for two nights, and the software will be available as a free download from boxee.tv for Windows, Mac and Linux-based computers.
D-Link’s Boxee Box has now become available for pre-order in the US through Amazon and in Canada through BestBuy and Future Shop. Team Boxee says those who pre-order Boxee Box through Amazon in the US will get it before it goes on sale anywhere else. The Boxee Box will have more access to HD content than the PC application (supporting 1080p, H.264 Level 4.1, and 5.1 surround sound) and comes with with a stylish sliding remote. Service on the Boxee Box (Model #DSM-380) shows HMDI, Optical audio, stereo audio, ethernet and two USB ports. Boxee Box is currently available for $199 ($30 off the list price of $229).
Boxee has started its movie library by adding thousands of films from partners EZTakes, Indie Movies Online, Openfilm and MUBI. Independent, cult, art, documentary and short films make up the new content which is available worldwide. All of the movies are free with commercial interruptions, except MUBI which requires pairing accounts.
With Comcast and Time-Warner now moving forward with video paywalls, are the cable companies doing what Hollywood and the music industry couldn’t do? Profit from the Internet… by forcing viewers to keep their cable subscriptions? That reality is coming sooner than you think.
The list of streaming media companies wishing to hop on the iPhone/iPad bandwagon is growing, and you can add Boxee to the list. Boxee CEO and Founder, Avener Ronen has stated that the company is changing its priorities to reflect the popularity of mobile computing, particularly in light of the recent iPad launch. Ronen told the Los Angeles Times that the device is “…perfect for video. You can start watching in bed. And then just take it with you.” He added that having an iPad in hand really changed his view of where Boxee ought to be spending its time.
There was disappointment in December ’09 when the released Boxee beta application dropped support for AppleTV. But, support is now back and already hacked AppleTVs with the old Boxee app just have to run the Boxee beta upgrade via the AppleTV Launcher > Downloads menu.
The big news this week comes in the form of announcements from online services to require subscriptions or fees for certain content. YouTube and Hulu have been part of the talk, although Hulu’s fees are still rumored. Both follow the Wednesday news that The New York Times is planning a subscription program in which a limited amount of content would be offered free, but additional content would have to be paid for.