Google makes aggressive streaming push with new $50 Chromecast device

For seven years, Google Chromecast has made it easy for consumers to mirror entertainment content from their phones and browsers to their big screen TV. Without a remote control or an onboard user interface, however, the user experience and value proposition has been quite different from competitors like Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV devices. The company is looking to change that this month by introducing a brand-new Chromecast that resurrects the Google TV interface and comes with a remote for easy access to apps without a smartphone (although regular casting functionality is still possible). Early impressions in the media have been largely positive.

Chromecast with Google TV represents a renewed push from Google in the streaming market. Competitively priced at just $50, the new Chromecast offers support for 4K HDR video along with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for home theater enthusiasts. The remote also ties in nicely with Google’s growing interest in the smart home industry, as users can bring up Google Assistant with one button to control smart home devices on the user’s network or simply to search for content across apps by speaking.

Moreover, the remote features a dedicated Netflix button, which conveniently allows users to take advantage of Google’s new marketing partnership with Netflix – offering the new Chromecast with 6 months of Netflix for just $89.99. Google separately offers the new Chromecast for free to new customers of YouTube TV.

The streaming device market is highly competitive with Amazon, Roku, Apple and others fighting for market share. Interpret’s New Media Measure® indicates that Roku leads the market, while Chromecast adoption lags behind Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. Streaming devices from TiVo, Nvidia, and others are also present in the market but with smaller installed bases.

While only 7% of US consumers currently use Chromecast, a new and improved device that puts an emphasis on the leading video subscription service (Netflix is approaching 200 million users worldwide) could give Google a boost; Interpret data also reveals that 65% of current Chromecast users in the US subscribe to Netflix, so there’s clearly a strong affinity for the service with the Chromecast audience.