Back in 2009, Boxee was a hot commodity. Taking advantage of the rise of set-top boxes and cross-platform distribution services, the company’s signature gadget became a must-have toy in late 2010. Since its release, however, the box has received hefty criticism; in particular, its creators have struggled to create a product that satisfies both customization-happy hackers and premium content providers.

Therefore, while other set-top boxes are flourishing, Boxee’s service is now a thing of the past. Samsung has purchased the company for $30 million, and it will instead utilize its new asset as a brain trust of sorts rather than a distribution service.

Luckily for Boxee users, the devices will continue to access important apps such as Netflix and Pandora, but the company’s unique service, which allowed users to record shows online and watch them on a nice big TV screen, will be discontinued. Instead of smoothly integrating Boxee into its own offerings, Samsung will employ the company’s tech-savvy minds to help it optimize its own set-top box, which it hopes can compete with major players Roku and Apple TV.

Should Boxee’s users desire a refund, they can get one during the next 90 days. “We’re working behind the scenes to ensure there’s minimal impact to people’s devices,” Boxee spokesman Andrew Kippen told NBC. “Apart from the Cloud DVR shutting down, we expect minimal changes.”

Boxee’s ultimate downfall is a reminder that not every cool-looking tech startup can make it big. It’s a shame, however, that a set-top box that sought to assist online video creators had to be the one to discontinue its product.

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