When will Google Chromecast launch in the UK?
Update: The Google Chromecast is now avaialble from Amazon UK for a whopping £59.99, double what we expected it to be. It's still not available at the Google Play Store but it still could and at a lower price.
If you’re obsessed with gadgets and home entertainment, you probably already have multiple ways of watching YouTube and Netflix on your TV. Google’s Chromecast, though, is set to become the de-facto way of streaming web video to the big screen thanks to being easier to use and slicker than your existing smart TV, set-top box or games console.
The HDMI dongle has already launched in the US, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive (see our US Chromecast review). Google has promised it will launch in ‘other countries’ soon, but as of yet, there’s no news on its exact price in the UK or when it will actually launch. See also: Google launches Chromecast TV dongle
PC Advisor spoke to Google to try to find out the launch date but, as expected, hit a brick wall. Until Google officially announces a UK launch date, you’ll only find speculation.
Fortunately, there are some promising signs that you’ll be able to buy a Chromecast in 2013. One is that Google added TV shows to the UK Play Store at the beginning of August. It already offered movie streaming in SD and HD, but the lack of TV shows put it at a disadvantage compared with the iTunes store and Apple’s own Apple TV streamer, which costs £99.
Now, TV shows including Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Walking Dead and other popular series can be streamed for £1.89 per episode, or £2.49 in HD.
The Chromecast can stream video directly from Google Play, YouTube and Netflix, so adding TV shows to the UK Play store could well indicate that the Chromecast will be launched sooner rather than later.
It’s probable that the main hold-up is arranging licencing deals in the UK, which affects Netflix and other content providers. These could include LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer and other catch-up and on-demand services, possibly even Barnes & Noble now that B&N is looking to expand its video streaming service beyond the Nook tablets.
Everything points to a pre-Christmas launch, and we’d be surprised if it gets pushed back to 2014. Some sources have suggested Google might release the Chromecast at the same time as the new Nexus 7, but that now seems very unlikely. Ebuyer.com and Very.co.uk already have the second-gen Nexus 7 available to buy, with PC World and Currys saying the tablet will be in stores on August 28th.
If the Chromecast does sell for £30 in the UK, it’s clear that Google isn’t looking to make a (big) profit on the hardware. Instead, it will want to build as big a user base as possible in order to try to sell it content from the Play store.
As and when we have more information on the Chromecast launch date in the UK, we’ll update this article.