Why is everyone flipping for Google Chromecast?

The device is cheap and easily connects the Internet to your TV screen


Jaime Henry-White/AP

Everyone knows that television and the Internet are going to melt together, but nobody knows exactly how. From the Xbox to the Slingbox, from Apple TV to Smart TVs, from Amazon to Twitter to Netflix to your local cable provider, everybody has a dog in this fight. Technologically speaking, the problem of getting the Internet onto TV screens has been solved for years. Yet, the vast majority of viewers haven’t done so. Just as MP3 players existed for years before the iPod, online TV still awaits a “Jesus” device that will simplify and streamline the whole experience, from gadget to content and all points in between.

Could it be the Google Chromecast?

Early reports are hopeful. Chromecast isn’t for sale in Canada, and is sold out in the U.S. But those who did get their hands on one are raving.

It’s not that the Chromecast does anything particularly new, it’s just that it apparently does what it does well, very simply, and for a disruptively low price. While other solutions range from $100-$500, Google has put a $35-sticker on Chromecast. With its dead-simple setup and bargain-basement pricing, Google seems to care very little about profit margins, and very much about controlling the bridge to the last uncolonized screens in our homes. If Google could give Chromecast away, it probably would.

But it’s not just the price. Chromecast provides a fresh take on user input, in that it doesn’t have one. Previous attempts to help viewers navigate TV-screened Internet from their couches have been disastrous. Wireless keyboards and remote controls festooned with hundreds of buttons just seemed like work. Chromecast skips remotes entirely, as Google has figured out that you already have one at your fingertips. The device is controlled by your laptop, tablet, or smartphone — devices we already use while we watch TV. These are sophisticated remotes we obsessively clutch, and they won’t get lost in the couch.

So what’s in it for Google? For starters, Chromecast will stream videos from Google Play and Youtube, but not iTunes content. Also, the device works best with Android devices and Google’s Chrome browser. Beyond all that, if Google owns the pipe, it will find ways to push ads through it. More than anything, if Google becomes the company to connect our TVs to the Internet, some other company won’t be.

Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown


Why is everyone flipping for Google Chromecast?

    • It will get sold in Canada shortly. Google knows from the Nexus 7 experience, that they need to have enough product to bring to market, before offering a product in that market.

      In this instance, the US was the test market. It is doing well, so they are manufacturing more devices, and it will be available here soon.

  1. For what it’s worth, it sounds like if Apple wanted to use the Chromecast SDK to add ‘casting support to iTunes, they could.

    • They never will, because this is just a slightly worse Apple TV.

      • I love my Apple TV, dead simple to use and plays all my content acquired outside of iTunes no problems.

      • but alot cheeper

      • It is not worse, but merely in its infancy. With an open SDK, you can never be too certain about what the future holds.

  2. > everybody has a dog in this fight

    What a ghastly metaphor.

  3. Yep, CRTC is about media/cell/Internet/cable TV cartel and racketeering in Canada. Ottawa operates on the anything for lobby money principle. And Canada media is a cartel, a price fixing anti-competitive cartel. Want it fixed? Demand your politicians fire and fix all of CRTC as they are a cartel facilitator. But will not happen as the media will lobby-bribe the politicians.

    But Ottawa is corrupt to the core in many ways.

  4. This comment was deleted.

    • I went to ChromecastCanada, and was outraged to see you are attempting to sell these things at $85. Come on, $35 for the Americans and more than twice that for Canadians. That’s worse than the book industry! Get real! You think they are going to disappear fast? Not at that kind of a differential.

      • US Shipping + Canadian 2-day Registered & Insured Mail + Import Duties + Taxes + Exchange Rate + Cross Border Banking Fees

        Are you really outraged at us or Google for not working out the necessary legalities to supply official retail outlets in Canada, in which case you would probably get it for around $50 or $60 CDN.

        It’s important to note that at a price point of $35 Google is essentially undercutting Chinese manufactures of its Android based media players which is bold marketing move and sure to shake up the future pricing of any and all streaming media players.

        • “Are you really outraged at us or Google…”

          At you

          There are much cheaper ways to get these into Canada.

    • Total scam wait for google to make these available in Canada, if you want it that badly go to ebay and get it from the usa as opposed to “back ordering” it from this total con-artist

      and godD@mn I hate video adds on this site.

  5. It should be available soon in Hotel rooms. Sports Bars etc. etc.or BYODongle

  6. Google said that they will not push ads on Chromecast.. Its totally ad free

    • I suspect that won’t last, but who knows?

  7. You might not know that Apple’s had a Remote app for iOS for quite a while. I use it to control my Apple TV all the time (searching on YouTube or Netflix without it is tedious). Here’s the site for it: http://www.apple.com/ca/apps/remote/ . So Google didn’t figure anything out on this front, Apple already did that a few years ago.

    • For 35$ ?

      • I didn’t say that it isn’t worthy of note, just that one of the aspects of this device that Jesse singled out as an innovation, isn’t. It’s not a critique of the device, I was just pointing out something that I thought Jesse had missed.

    • Except that Google is actually playing nice and supporting Apple devices as well as any computer that runs Google Chrome…For 35$

  8. It will come to Canada in a few weeks and the price will be around $45

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