Light Reading

Boxee Bids Adieu to Cloud DVR

Alan Breznick

Changes are already afoot at Boxee following the surprise announcement on July 3 that Samsung Corp. is to acquire the Israeli streaming video startup.

In a somewhat ironic Independence Day message to its customers Thursday, Boxee announced on its website that it will shut down its relatively new network-based DVR service on July 10 as it shifts gear to join the Samsung fold.

That service, which launched in the fall of 2012 and is now available in nine markets across the U.S., enables users of Boxee's new Cloud DVR set-top to record, play back and store programs on a hosted platform.

Boxee, which has about 2 million customers for its over-the-top (OTT) video service, has been offering both free and premium versions of the cloud DVR product. For the premium version, which costs $9.99 a month, the company provided subscribers with unlimited storage of their program recordings forever. It also allowed users to tap into their recordings on their TVs, PCs, media tablets and smartphones.

But now Boxee, while reassuring customers that "we're working behind the scenes to ensure there's minimal impact to your devices," says its cloud DVR subscribers will lose all access to their existing recordings after July 10. "We realize many of you loved the service, and we're sorry it won't be available moving forward," the company said in its statement confirming the Samsung deal on its website.

The looming shutdown of Boxee's innovative network DVR product is a clear sign that Samsung cares more about the startup's user interface than its services and devices. In its own statement confirming the deal on Wednesday, Samsung said the acquisition "will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices."

In particular, look for Samsung to seek to incorporate Boxee's user interface on the consumer electronics giant's new lineup of smart TVs and cable set-top boxes. Although a late entrant into the cable set-top market, Samsung now supplies digital boxes to Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks.

In their respective statements, Boxee and Samsung only hinted at what's to come. "Joining Samsung means we will be able to work on products that marry the best hardware and software in the TV space, products that will be used by tens of millions of people and will help to shape the future of TV," Boxee said.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
7/7/2013 | 6:22:40 PM
re: Boxee Bids Adieu to Cloud DVR
Almost all of the US MSOs already have or are shortly coming out with cloud DVR built into their set-top boxes. Comcast announced one about a month ago, Cox with their Fanhatten media device is also doing cloud DVR.

I don't think they have much interest in the ETSI NFV group.
User Rank: Light Beer
7/5/2013 | 11:01:18 PM
re: Boxee Bids Adieu to Cloud DVR
What advantages would it offer over a Hulu like delivery model ?
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/5/2013 | 5:07:02 PM
re: Boxee Bids Adieu to Cloud DVR
It will be interesting to see if the MSOs actively engage in the ETSI NFV initiative. One of the first use cases (under the Access NFV umbrella) is a virtualized set top box, which would provide the benefit of a cloud-based DVR, no doubt.
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