Google Introduces $35 TV Streaming Device24 Jul, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey
For years Google has attempted to get into people’s living rooms, with limited success.
That may have changed July 24 when the tech giant surprised consumers and analysts alike with Chromecast, a $35 USB-powered device that streams content from phones, tablets and laptops to any TV with an HDMI connection.
Using Chromecast, consumers can stream content from Netflix, YouTube and Google Play from their devices to their HDTV, with Google promising more enabled apps in the coming months.
“With Chromecast, we wanted to create an easy solution that works for everyone, for every TV in the house,” Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome and apps for Google, wrote in a blog post. “ … Unlike other streaming solutions, you can still multitask — send emails or surf the Web — while enjoying what’s on the TV screen.”
Google is also testing the ability for Chromecast owners to project any Web screen to TV screens.
“This feature is launching in beta, but we’re excited for people to try it out and give us their feedback,” Pichai wrote.
Chromecast can be purchased via Google Play, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com, as well as in Best Buy stores nationwide. Google is throwing in a free, three-month subscription to Netflix for early adopters.
With the failed Nexus Q device and less-than-stellar adoption of Google TV, this may be Google’s best chance at challenging the likes of Apple TV and Roku for a spot in people’s living rooms.
Russ Crupnick, SVP of industry analysis at The NPD Group, said the media box market has seen surprisingly little traction, with only about 6% of consumers saying they own an Apple TV, Roku or similar device.
“I’m not sure it’s price either, as both Apple and especially Roku are at good price points, though $35 is even better for sure,” he said. “It just seems to be some consumer indifference to hooking up one of these things to the TV. Maybe it’s because the folks who want to use services connected to their TV have an Xbox or Blu-ray player already.
“Perhaps Google can engender more success promoting the category just being Google, and certainly Apple didn’t promote the TV product with the same effort they’re known for in iPads and iPods,” Crupnick added.