Qplay, the video streaming startup helmed by TiVo co-founders Mike Ramsay and Jim Barton, announced over the weekend that it will be shutting down.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce Qplay will be closing. Our last day of service is next Friday, July 25, 2014,” the company announced on its blog. “We truly enjoyed bringing you the best videos from around the Internet. We had fun building and using Qplay and hope that you did too. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to keep developing and running the service.”
Qplay said it will offer refunds to customers who purchased one of the company’s $49 TV Adapters through July 25 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time. All TV Adapters will stop functioning on that date, “so please responsibly recycle your TV Adapter,” the company noted, offering a list of local venues that support electronics recycling.
“We did our best, and we’re sorry this is the end for Qplay. Farewell,” said the company, whose Web site now shows a YouTube video of “Happy Trails” from The Roy Rogers Show. To further this showing that there’s apparently no hard feelings about having to say good-bye, the Qplay blog post announcing the news pays homage to So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish, the fourth book in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy book series, and the message left by the dolphins before they departed Earth prior to the planet's demolition to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
Qplay’s life was short. The company, founded in 2012, emerged from stealth mode in February of 2014 by launching a streaming platform that initially relied on a small, TV-connected streaming adapter that linked up with an app for the iPad.
Instead of optimizing its service for Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO and other premium streaming sources, Qplay tried to make it easy for users to stream currated, personalized “Qs” of free OTT video from places such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Instagram, allowing users to create a “virtual” channel that would play back on the TV without interruption.
Qplay shifted its strategy in June, announcing that it hoped to expand its base by extending support to the Google Chromecast while continuing to offer its own hardware. But that strategy apparently was not enough to keep the company afloat.
Qplay’s financial backers included Redpoint Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.