Samsung Buys Boxee; Jumps into Over-the-Top Video Melee

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It probably had to happen sooner or later — and in technology, sooner is always better. A report at TechCrunch cites sources who have told the tech-gazing website that Samsung Electronics has acquired Israel-based startup Boxee for $30 million. Boxee makes a hardware device that streams over-the-air broadcast HD channels and gives users the ability to record the program for later viewing.

The Boxee device is similar to Apple TV from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google TV from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), and devices from other players including Roku.

At a $30 million buyout price, Boxee will just barely repay its early investors with a little left over to share out among employees. The big advantage for Boxee is that it now belongs to a well-endowed parent that can help it build a solid business. For Samsung, the acquisition shortens the time it would take the Korean giant to get its own device into the market.

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