As widely expected, Google has formally – and finally – announced its Chromecast device in Australia.
Google has at least announced its availability - you don’t seem to be able to actually buy it yet. Go to Google Australia’s website, go to the Chromecast page, then click on ‘buy now’.
It sends you to a page giving you a choice of US retailers, including Google Play. Click on one of them, and it says “Chromecast is not yet available in your country.”
You would think a company like Google would have ironed out such glitches before launch, and no doubt they will be soon. Google Australia has announced it will be sold in Australia at JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith.
Chromecast is small (77mm long - like a big USB stick) cheap ($49) dongle that plugs into any HDMI slot on your TV, and receives video content streamed wirelessly from any Android device in proximity. It adds to the many streaming techniques already available, but its low cost and ease of use will vastly increase the number of Australian households that stream video to their TVs.
Chromecast in its native mode will support YouTube, Google Play content and music-streaming service Pandora. Content providers such as Quickflix and TV stations are developing apps. But that is not needed for basic viewing. Chromecast can display any content from an Android Internet windows, allowing virtually any content to be streamed to it.
The device has been available in the US since July last year, and its Australian introduction has been widely forecast ever since. Google has been steady rolling it out to more countries, and it is now available in most countries in Western Europe. Japan was announced at the same time as Australia.
The main reason for the staged rollout has been Google’s strategy of cutting deals with local content providers. These include BBC iPlayer in the UK; France TV Pluzz and SFR TV in France and Watchever in Germany.