Google either has an overnight success on its hands with the inexpensive and simple Chromecast — or it grossly underestimated demand for the $35 Internet video device, which plugs into the back of an HDTV to deliver YouTube, Netflix and other content.
The device was listed as out of stock at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com, less than 24 hours after the Internet giant announced it at a press event in San Francisco. On the Google Play store, Chromecast devices are listed as having a wait time of three to four weeks for shipping.
One reason for the apparently strong initial demand: Chromecast buyers are eligible to receive three free months of Netflix’s streaming video service for a limited time.
Chromecast promises an extremely simple setup process, offering out-of-the-box support for YouTube video; Netflix’s streaming service; and movies, TV shows and music purchased through Google Play. Instead of a dedicated remote control, the Wi-Fi-based device works with smartphones, tablets or computers with a Chrome browser to control browsing and playback.
The device’s “cast” feature — for which Google is setting low expectations by saying is currently “in beta” — slings web pages, video or music from a Chrome browser tab on a PC to the TV.
On Thursday, Amazon listed Chromecast as its bestselling product in the television and video products device — with the $89 Roku 3 Streaming Player and $95 Apple TV in the next two spots.
Amazon.com lists several resellers offering Chromecast devices for a substantial markup of $64.49 and up.