Samsung buys media software company Boxee

Samsung has acquired the media software (and now hardware maker) startup Boxee for $30 million.

The Israeli company had been looking for a buyer for the last few months after it appeared raising for money would be tougher than expected.

“We can confirm that Boxee will be joining Samsung. We’ll have a formal statement on our website later this week,” a Boxee spokesperson said, leaving out any other vital information. Boxee’s 40 employees are expected to keep their jobs.

Since founding in 2007, the company has raised $30 million, so investors will at least get their initial investments back.

Boxee creates media software for desktops and also offers a set-top box that connects to many streaming services and includes the company’s own software for playing local content. Samsung will most likely integrate the software into their Internet-connected Smart TVs into the future.


Rumor: Instagram getting video this week?

Rumor: Instagram getting video this week?Facebook is holding a press event later this week, in which it is expected to announce something big for its platform.

The most cited rumor is that Facebook will update its popular photo-sharing app Instagram to include short video sharing, just like rival application Vine.

Facebook’s event is on June 20th, but the social networking giant has kept details under wraps.

Instagram has been said to be internally testing video and it is unclear whether the update will allow filters for video, as well.

The move would be a direct reaction to the Twitter-owned Vine, which allows users to share six seconds of video footage via iOS and Android and is deeply integrated with Twitter. Despite being much newer, Vine shares have already surpassed Instagram shares on Twitter.


Xbox One will support used games, won’t require Internet connection for Offline gaming

Xbox One will support used games, won't require Internet connection for Offline gamingMicrosoft has caved to criticism from gamers and others in the industry, killing plans to require Internet connection for Offline play and limiting the ability to play used games.

The announcement has come from Microsoft just one week after E3, where the new Xbox One system was unveiled by the company, before the PS4 was shown off to the world. Microsoft’s policies toward playing used games and a requirement of regularly connecting to the Internet were heavily criticized, handing a huge advantage to Sony’s console.

Don Mattrick, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, said that company listened to gamers’ reactions to the new console, and has decided to make some changes.

  • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games
    After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
  • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today
    There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

“We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds,” Mattrick wrote.

Samsung confirms Galaxy S4 Mini

Samsung confirms Galaxy S4 MiniSamsung has inadvertently confirmed the existence of the Galaxy S4 Mini via their own Samsung Apps website.

The S4 Mini, true to its name, has a smaller 4.3-inch sAMOLED display with qHD resolution (540×960, 256 ppi) compared to the new S4’s 4-inch 1080p display.

Under the hood is a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 2GB RAM, LTE radio, 32GB internal storage, 1.5MP/8MP cameras, a 2100 mAh battery and the whole device runs on Android 4.2.x.

Samsung has included their TouchWiz UX interface and their premium suite of apps.

The device is expected to launch in July in Europe.


YouTube live streaming expands to channels with 1000+ subscribers

YouTube live streaming expands to channels with 1000+ subscribersYouTube subscribers with Channels claiming more than 1,000 subscribers might be eligible to enable YouTube Live.

Over the past year, many YouTube channels were able to take advantage of YouTube Live for sports events and music events and so on. Now, YouTube is expanding YouTube Live to far more users.

Basically, if a channel has over 1,000 subscribers and is in good standing, then they are eligible for live streaming. All that needs to be done is a click of an “Enable” button on the Account Features page.

Eligible subscribers can enjoy these key features:

  • You get real-time transcoding in the cloud, so you only need to send us your highest quality stream and we make it instantly available in all resolutions and device formats
  • You can show multiple camera angles, add closed captions, and insert ads and slates
  • Viewers can watch the live stream from any device, get the best quality constantly adjusting to their Internet connection, and can skip back and forth in the live stream


Yahoo to bid between $600 and $800 million for Yahoo

Yahoo to bid between $600 and $800 million for YahooLast week we reported that Yahoo would be placing a bid to purchase video streaming site Hulu.

Today, ATD is reporting that the bid will be between $600-$800 million, depending on what kind of content deal terms it can get from Hulu’s owners, Comcast, Disney and News Corp. (NBC, ABC and Fox on broadcast).

In the past two months, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, PE firm Silverlake, PE firm KKR, Guggenheim Digital and Peter Chernin’s The Chernin Group have all expressed interest if not already placed bids for the video site.

The site is currently jointly owned by News Corp., Disney and Comcast (without any management authority) and it is clear that they will not accept under $1 billion as a straight bid, meaning Yahoo’s offer seems low.


Netflix still accounts for one third of all U.S. Internet traffic

Netflix still accounts for one third of all U.S. Internet trafficAccording to Sandvine, the broadband servicing company that tracks traffic, Netflix continues to account for one third of U.S. Internet traffic, and nobody else is even close.

Netflix’s share of “prime-time downstream traffic delivered over ‘fixed networks'” was 32.5 percent in the most recent report, down marginally from 33 percent in November.

Amazon dropped from 1.75 percent to 1.31 percent and HBO dropped from 0.5 percent to just 0.34 percent. Hulu saw growth, from 1.1 percent to 2.41 percent.

While Netflix is dominant over home networks and Wi-Fi, on mobile devices YouTube remains king. If you are watching a video on your phone, there is a pretty good chance it’s on YouTube, says Sandvine.

Facebook close to buying Waze for up to $1 billion

Facebook close to buying Waze for up to $1 billionFacebook is reportedly close to buying Israeli start-up Waze for a reported fee of $800 million – $1 billion.

The news was broken by business daily Calcalist, reporting that due diligence is underway and a term sheet was signed. Waze specializes in satellite navigation, and uses members’ smartphones to generate maps and traffic data.

In October 2012, it partnered with Facebook to let users share their drive with friends through the social network.

If bought by Facebook, it will be the third acquisition of an Israeli firm by the social giant, after buying Snaptu for $70 million in 2011, and for $60 million last year.