Google Debuts $35 Chromecast TV Video Streaming Device
Continuing its attempt to become a force on every device from smartphones to tablets to televisions, Google today debuted both a new Nexus 7 tablet and, in a surprise, a $35 device to stream video and other content from any device to televisions.
The big news was the Chromecast device, a $35 USB stick that hooks up to a TV and allows videos, photos, and other content to be streamed in real-time to televisions. It’s Google’s latest attempt, following several failed tries, to bring its brand, content and, in the process, its lucrative ads to the vast audience of TV watchers.
Sundar Pichai, the Google senior vice president in charge of both the mobile operating software Android and the Chrome operating software for netbooks, said in an interview that Google wanted to solve the issue that only 15% of people, by its reckoning, know how to view online content on their TV. That’s despite many settop boxes from Apple, Roku, Google itself, and others, which have not sold in huge numbers. Google needs to find a way to play in television if only to reach a large audience that to date has been beyond its reach.
Pichai said the Chromecast device will remain distinct from Google’s not-very-successful Google TV initiative, which includes both devices and TVs outfitted with its software for accessing online content on the TV. Chromecast is for easily “ flinging” video, photos, and other material to the TV without much hassle, he says. By contrast, Google is still betting that Google TV devices and TVs will remain appealing for full TV experiences. “There are times when you want an immersive experience on your TV,” he says.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that Chromecast will hold much greater appeal than Google TV if only because of the low price. “The price alone will get people to try it,” says Greg Sterling of Sterling Market Intelligence. “It undercuts all the settop boxes” from Apple, Roku, and others. “Google didn’t really make a case for Google TV. This gets them a much bigger user base.”