Google launches Chromecast in UK, Europe; tackles Spotify in Nordics

Google launches Chromecast in UK, Europe; tackles Spotify in Nordics

Summary: Google takes its Chromecast war for the living room to Europe, finally making the dongle useful in the region.

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Google's device-to-TV casting dongle Chromecast has arrived in Europe, along with local content deals and the Google Play Music and Movies in the Nordics.

Available for £30 ($50) in the UK or €35 elsewhere, as usual the Chromecast is still more costly in Europe than in the US, where it retails for $35. However, the Google dongle will still be considerably cheaper than Apple's £99 Apple TV and, perhaps more importantly, it comes with local content support.

The Chromecast dongle plugs into a TV's HDMI port and is powered by the set using a USB cable. It can be used to cast content through a device from the web, YouTube and a few third-party content services. In the US third-party services include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora Radio and HBO GO.

When Chromecast launched in the US about eight months ago, some eager Europeans took to Amazon to purchase the dongle and while it made it possible to cast websites or YouTube to TV from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, it lacked third-party content support for the continent.

That all changes with today's official Chromecast launch in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway.

In the UK, Chromecast launched with support for the BBC's iPlayer. In Sweden, for example, it's launched with Netflix, and could also launch in future with HBO Nordics. In France, there are content deals in place with TV Pluzz and SFR TV with CANALPLAY coming soon, while Germany will have Watchever with Maxdome joining in future.

Google also launched Play Music and Movies (but not TV) across the Nordics today, which should bring its content at least up to par with the App Store, which has also been slow to release new video content in the region.

The expanded availability of Chromecast follows Google's international launch of an the Cast SDK to allow developers to build support for the technology in their own apps, websites.

The SDK allows developers to build Cast into existing Android, iOS, and Chrome apps to held define what to stream.

Read more on the Chromecast

Topics: Google, Hardware, EU, United Kingdom

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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10 comments
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  • What happen to "Don't be Evil" motto?

    Google is restricting the Chromecast API to only platforms and devices that they choose. There is no technical reason why they can't open the API to everyone so apps can be built in multiple platforms. For example; you cant create a Windows 8 app. Why? -- because someone at Google is being "Evil".
    Sean Foley
    • How is this different

      From any company deciding what platforms it supports?
      Boothy_p
    • Weird definition of "Evil" you have there...

      And IE (for example) only runs on Windows. So by your own argument, does that make MS "evil" too?

      I think your definition of "evil" is rubbish.
      Zogg
  • Mono, an Android/Chromecast music app

    Check out Mono, the Android music app. Works with Chromecast for YouTube videos, Soundcloud tracks, local audio files (on the phone/tablet) and for the casting of images. Also many more features. http://mono-cloud.appspot.com
    milleph
    • Mono is now free

      Free for life for those registered before June 1st, 2014
      milleph
  • Suggestion to UK friends .... don't waste your money

    I have a Chromecast ... and yes, it was cheap ... but it barely does anything.

    Contrary to what some Google fanboys claim, fact is this "cheap" device has NO APPS. 100% of the so called apps must be installed in an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The apps are not installed in the Chromecast itself. If you don't have an iOS or Android device, then all you have is a (mostly) useless device. So that cheap gadget is actually more expensive once you factor the cost of the smartphone or tablet.

    Casting from Chrome is HORRIBLE. The video quality is just acceptable (not that good, sometimes pixelated) and the audio is ALWAYS out of sync by no less than 500ms. Also, the video is cropped in all 4 sides ... so watching a web video set to full screen will not show (or cut in half) the text on subtitles.
    wackoae
    • What about "casting" from the Chrome browser?

      https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/2998338?hl=en-GB

      "To cast from Chrome, you must have the Google Cast Extension installed on your Chrome Browser. Learn how to install the Cast Extension here."

      So it looks as if you can also use an ordinary PC running Chrome - no Android / iOS device required.
      Zogg
    • Aha! A list of supported apps!

      https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/3006709?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=2994292

      "Chromecast is compatible with Wi-Fi-enabled Android 2.3+ smartphones and tablets; iOS 6.0+ iPhones, iPads and iPods; Chrome for Mac® and Chrome for Windows®; Chromebook Pixel, HP Chromebook 14, Toshiba Chromebook, Acer C720 Chromebook and Acer C720P Chromebook."

      And the minimum system requirements are here:
      https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/3209990
      Zogg
  • If it doesn't do LoveFilm

    or Prime(something or other) as it's now called then it's a complete waste of time.

    Sure it's cheap and wow yes it can cast your mobile screen onto the TV. OH wow just what the world has been waiting for.

    But considering that you can buy a HOB computer that will do all this and considerably more for admittedly closer to £100 ... and considering that anyone that has bought a new smartTV or will buy a new smartTV (and why would you buy a TV that wasn't smart?) will actually get almost all of the functionality of the Chromecast.

    So the only people that will buy this are those that are poor ... which makes me wonder if they'll be able to afford the NetFlix payments ... so what we get is Youtube and BBC iPlayer ... what a bargain for £30
    Pastabake
    • It doesn't do LoveFilm...good!

      So it's a waste of time because it doesn't the one tv service that you use...genius.
      That's probably because amazon have release there own box which costs £100, plus the lovefilm app is terrible, when i stopped my subscription you couldn't even watch anything from your phone

      You don't have to be poor to get a chrome cast just sense that its a better deal than all the £100+ options that do the same

      A lot of people have been waiting for this because of how simple it is to use, for me its the fact I plug it straight from the living room tv into my bedroom tv and not have to deal with a box full of wires.
      mjh158