ChromeCast, that new piece of tech Google just introduced and everyone is talking about, that little HDMI dongle that sold out in the Play Store in a matter of minutes and is sold out in Amazon and Best Buy as well. In a few days, a lot of people is going to be using this, streaming YouTube videos, movies from Netflix and Google Play, music from Google Play Music and showing pictures from their Chrome tabs to friends without even thinking about it, one click and it’s done. For users, it’s a little piece of heaven, is that missing link we’ve been waiting for such a long time, one where we can not only stream movies and music, but where our devices our independent from that stream and it doesn’t even matter which device we’re using, Android, iOS, PC, Mac, anything goes.
Google wins by having a new service everyone uses, users win by having this process simplified by a million times, so who could be the loser with this? Because there’s always a loser.
In the case of the ChromeCast, the loser just might be the big TV networks that are so jealous of their shows and commercials that are battling a constant fight against streaming and pretty much internet as a whole. They love their set-top boxes with their monthly payments and having people depending on them for their entertainment needs. Well, turns out Google might start eating out of that pie and consumers might start migrating once the service starts to improve even more.
For example, Google showed that Netflix has already updated its app to work with ChromeCast, and now users can stream full HD movies (thanks to some new DRM APIs) from any device to their TVs and Netflix has a lot of content, many people use it to watch their favorite movies and TV shows, 48% of all videos watched online are between Netflix and YouTube and while Netflix is the only partner Google has at launch, you can be sure that they’re talking with every other content company out there to make more and more content compatible with ChromeCast, companies like Hulu, HBO and even channels like AMC, Warner and many others, could start to break free from the chains created by the big networks, who hold the keys to consumer’s living rooms.
Yes, some of those companies could have an issue with ChromeCast, like Hulu for example. Hulu has always battled against people who want to stream its free website service into TVs because they sell that as part of the Hulu Plus service, which costs $8 a month. With Chromecast, anyone could just fire up Chrome and stream it to a TV, without Hulu ever finding out, because the streaming is handled by Chrome itself. Yes, this could be an issue, except for one thing, Hulu is smarter than that and they already said they’re working with Google to bring a Hulu Plus app to ChromeCast, most likely in the same way Netflix does with its Android app, so users can get an “optimized viewing experience”. I don’t know about what you think, but this sounds like Google just won the battle against Hulu and its issues with streaming, with a single service. The only alternative Hulu had, was to block Chrome users altogether, but that would be foolish since Chrome is the number one browser in the world. The same goes for HBO and its HBO Go app, they used to require TV channels explicit approval but with ChromeCast, the TV channels are out of the picture, because people will stream it on their own and it’s not HBO doing all the work.
What if suddenly, AMC creates an app of its own, compatible with ChromeCast and you can watch TV shows like The Walking Dead directly from them on your TV and just paying exactly what you want to watch. With the streaming so easily resolved, companies can start offering their content to users skipping the TV networks, and there’s nothing the networks can do about it, what are they going to do? Stop showing The Walking Dead? They need those viewers! By dropping a show like that, they’re just sending more and more people over to Google’s service which I bet they’re taking a cut out of Netflix’s money for every user who signed up now and is watching movies through ChromeCast.
On top of all of this, Google already has a big selection of movies, TV shows and music, which just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
By talking directly to content owners, Google is creating an “over the top” pay-TV solution, where users pay just for what they want, which is what we’ve been asking to do for years. Evidently, Google learned it’s lesson on GoogleTV, which failed to attract content companies to the platform. Looks like Google instead of working better with TV networks, decided to skip them completely and go for the content itself, which just might be a much better solution for consumers.
In case you were wondering how happy could you be with this scenario, Google showed it perfectly in one of it’s new ChromeCast ads. Check it out: