TORONTO – Canadian Netflix and YouTube users looking for a cheap and easy way to stream content on their big screen TVs will finally be able to buy Google’s Chromecast device starting on Wednesday.
Originally launched in the U.S. last July, the small $39 gadget plugs into a TV’s HDMI port and is powered either through a TV’s USB connection or by plugging into an electrical outlet.
The Chromecast doesn’t come with a remote. Instead, users control streaming content on their TV with phone or tablet apps or via the Google Chrome web browser on a computer.
“I think what’s really resonated with consumers is using their personal devices as a controller. That’s something that we bet on and we’ve seen that bet come to fruition,” said Chromecast product manager Raunaq Shah during a media preview in Toronto on Tuesday.
The Chromecast quickly sold out after it was first released in the U.S. and continued to be tough to find in stores.
Shah said that won’t be a problem with the Canadian launch and consumers should have no issues purchasing one through Amazon.ca or the Google Play store.
“It will be easy to get,” he said, and added that Google is also hoping to get the Chromecast in Canadian stores.
“We’re working with a number of (companies) trying to get more partners on board as soon as we can.”
While the Chromecast was first launched in the U.S. with a coupon for three free months of Netflix, that offer will not be available in Canada.
Users can also stream Google Play purchases onto their TV with the Chromecast, watch music videos through Vevo and listen to music via Songza. Another feature — which is currently in beta, so Google doesn’t promise it’ll work perfectly — allows users to beam the content of any Chrome tab onto a TV.
Google recently released a software development kit that allows more programmers to tap into the device and the company said more than 3,000 have signed up in about a month.
“It’s not a couple of lines of code but it’s not something that’s onerous on developers at all,” Shah said.