Google has finally launched its long-awaited Chromecast media device into the Australian market, giving Aussies a new method to satisfying their ever-growing media streaming habits.
The Chromecast, which resembles a USB stick and plugs into the HDMI port of a TV, will allow users to stream YouTube, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music and other apps straight into their living rooms.
The device will retail for $49 from the Google Play online store, as well as bricks-and-mortar retailers JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith.
Telstra seems to have dropped the ball on the release, despite confirming last February it was in talks with the tech giant to look at stocking the device.
The release could have a big impact on regular television ratings, as the country’s thirst for streamed content continues to grow.
Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi told SmartCompany the Australian market is ripe for devices that bring streaming to TVs in household living rooms, rather than on a computer or tablet.
“We are seeing a huge adoption of smart TVs, at the end of last year there were roughly 3.7 million Australians with smart TVs, and the demand for streaming content is increasing,” says Fadaghi.
“Given that smart TVs functionality can be a bit tricky and the user interface is often better on third party devices, they will be very attractive to those wanting to bring their streaming into their living room.”
While the US version of the device offers content from providers such as movie streaming giant Netflix, the Australian version has more limited partnerships with content providers.
The device currently supports only ABC’s iView service, Quickflix video rentals and Foxtel’s Presto movie service.
Fadaghi says that while the Australian streaming channels are currently limited, Chromecast will still be appealing because it allows users to stream their own content.
“Also the price point is very attractive,” he says.
Chromecast can be controlled from Android smartphones and tablets, as well as from Google Chrome on your PC or Mac, but Fadaghi says the integration with Android will give Google an excellent inroad into the Australian market.
“There are more Android users than iPhone users in Australia, which I think will be to Google’s advantage,” he says.