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Samsung buys Boxee, shuts down cloud DVR service

The Boxee cloud DVR and box were to be tightly linked.
The Boxee cloud DVR and box were to be tightly linked.Boxee

After six years, Internet streaming service and set-top box company Boxee will be closing up shop as a result of its purchase by Samsung, announced July 3. The Korean tech giant essentially bought Boxee's talent and ideas to help improve its smart TVs and will not keep the company itself in business.

On July 4, Boxee announced that it will close down its cloud DVR service, which allowed people to record TV programs online, giving them less than a week to binge-watch whatever they had saved.

But customers won't be left out in the cold, company spokesperson Andrew Kippen told us in an email. While the Boxee Cloud DVR set-top box and the older Boxee Box device will no longer connect to a Boxee service, it seems that the company will make sure it has access to other online video and music services that were included, such as Pandora, MLB.TV, and the obligatory Netflix. [See also: 5 Steps to Cut Cable and Enjoy TV for Half the Price]

"We're working behind the scenes to ensure there's minimal impact to people's devices. Apart from the Cloud DVR shutting down, we expect minimal changes," Kippen wrote to us.

Boxee planned to offer both a free and paid DVR service (for $10 per month). Both were to have unlimited recording, but the free service had restrictions on how long recordings would be available and how many hours people could watch per month. But the program was still in beta and had so far been offered for free, so no one lost any money on subscription services. "We've never charged for Cloud DVR," said Kippen. (TV-over-the-Internet service Aereo, in comparison, charges customers $8 per month to record 20 hours online and $12 for 60 hours.)

But with Boxee's $99 set-top box so integrated with a now-defunct online service, customers aren't exactly getting what they paid for. " We will honor our 90 day return policy for people who bought off our website," said Kippen. The devices were also sold in retail and would presumably be subject to those stores' return policies.