Why Google's Chromecast is a hit with consumers

What's behind the success of Google's Chromecast dongle/set-side box? Price? Timing? The Google brand? Or will the Chromecast be a flash-in-the-pan?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Early reports suggest that Google's Chromecast media streaming dongle/side-set box has been a hit with consumers, with the device selling out, and the device now rarer than hen's teeth.

See also: What's right (and wrong) with the Google Chromecast

So, what made the Chromecast a success with consumers?

  • Luck
    Never underestimate the power of pure luck in the success (or failure) of a device. Hitting the market at a time when there are few distractions, and at a time when consumers are more receptive to new ideas, can mean the difference between success and failure.
  • Price
    At $35, the Chromecast dongle is cheap. Dirt cheap. You can easily spend more than that on an HDMI cable.
    In a market where other devices have price tags ranging from $100 to $500, we now have a streaming device that is available for a bargain basement price.
    Google has broken new ground with the Chromecast, and it will be interesting to see how others respond.
  • Scarcity
    How many Chromecasts did Google make? Was there huge demand, or just limited supply?
  • Simplicity
    The Chromecast is a simple device. It has an HDMI port, and a power input port, and that's it. Once it is connected to the TV, you're instructed to download the Chromecast app that takes you through the set–up process, all of which takes a few minutes.
  • Streaming from the browser
    One of the coolest features of the Chromecast is that it can stream content from a tab in the Chrome browser.
    This means that consumers are freed from having to rely on specific apps being available for the device, and can stream anything they have access to from a browser.
  • The Google name
    Most consumers are aware of the Google brand, and this gives the company a leg up over lesser-known competitors such as Roku. The popularity of its search engine, its web-based services, and of Android has put Google onto a strong position.
  • Hole in the market
    Despite the Apple TV, the Roku, and games consoles such as the box and PlayStation, both of which have been transformed into streaming devices, the living room is still up for grabs. There are still hundreds of millions of TVs out there not connected to the vast ocean on online content.

Some things to keep an eye on:

  • Future sales – With the demand continue, or was it a flash-in-the-pan?
  • Competition – What will be the response to the Chromecast?
  • Price war – Will the Chromecast lead to a price drop across the market?
Editorial standards