Google recently unveiled Chromecast, a $35 dongle that is able to stream content from mobile devices to your television. This is Google’s latest attempt to grab a foothold in the TV industry, which it’s going to need to be a part of as its future starts to take shape.
Chromecast is a dongle which plugs into an HDMI on your TV. Apps on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop will then sync with Chromecast, giving you the option to watch content from the likes of YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play on the bigscreen.
Google was initially offering three months of Netflix streaming free for anyone who bought Chromecast. But the company quickly ended that promotion citing “overwhelming demand.” In other words Chromecast was clearly going to sell well enough without such an offer, so why continue offering it.
Indeed, demand was so fierce that Chromecast quickly sold out on Google Play. The $35 price tag (with or without the Netflix offer) is cheap enough to make people make a snap purchase and not worry about whether or not it’s worth buying.
Chromecast is different from Google TV in that it removes the UI from the equation. So rather than sorting through menus on your television and choosing content that way, you do it all on your computer or mobile device and then just choose your television as the output device.
Its most obvious competitor is therefore AirPlay, the iOS-only equivalent from Apple. Unlike AirPlay, however, Chromecast isn’t limited to just one operating system, which is a big advantage.
Looking To The Future
It’s easy to look at Chromecast and wonder what all the fuss is about. Sure, it’s a nifty little device and an absolute bargain at $35, but it’s hardly revolutionary. While this view is true in the short-term it ignores the possibilities Chromecast will offer Google in the future.
The Internet is changing the way we watch TV and consume content of all kinds. Google knows that once cord-cutting from cable companies really takes hold, it will need to already have a system in place to bridge the gap between what consumers want and what television networks need. Chromecast is just the first play in a very long game.