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Samsung cans Boxee team and ambitious TV remote-replacement project

Samsung has completely cut the Boxee team it acquired two years ago, according to reports.

Back in 2013, Samsung purchased Boxee – a digital video startup and purveyor of set-top boxes that utilised the cloud for storage. Samsung spent £30 million on the acquisition, and was expected to incorporate the technology into its connect TVs.

At the time, Samsung believed that the purchase would “help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices.”

However, it appears that dream is over. According to Variety, Samsung is ending work on these Boxee features and laying off the entire Boxee team. What’s more, it has also come to light that the team was working on something rather special.

The report claims that Samsung was using its set-top box acquisition to work on an ambitious project dubbed “Perfect Experience”, or PX for short. To that end, it had more than doubled the number of Boxee staff from 40 to 100.

PX was to be a dedicated media tablet that was intended to replace the traditional TV remote control. It was to provide a unified guide and listings of live and streaming content in an all-new custom UI.

PX was to be a communal device that would reside on the coffee table and exclusively run TV-related content. The company would apparently have included the tablet device with all of its high-end TVs – in the US at least.

Initial postponements meant that the PC project missed its intended CES 2015 launch slot in January, and that date soon slipped to 2016.

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The issue appears to have been at least partly down to difficulties with content partners, which were reluctant to sign up to Samsung’s plans of seamless access to all of their content through the PX UI. The project, which was developed in isolation in New York, also encountered resistance from distrustful Samsung executives in Korea.
Of course, we suspect that Samsung’s recent financial constraints won’t have eased matters at all.

The company has thus far refrained from commenting on the story, but it seems we’ll have to make do with our old-fashioned TV remotes for a little while longer.

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