Quickflix, Pandora jump onboard as Google's Chromecast launched in NZ
New Zealanders just got yet another new media option.
Google's Chromecast – already a favourite with parallel importers – launched locally today.
Chromecast ($61) is a thumb-sized gadget that plugs into an HDMI jack on your TV*. It lets you wireless stream content from a smartphone, laptop or tablet to a normal television.
For best results, it should be used with a service with a Chromecast-compatible app.
Video streaming service Quickflix NZ and internet radio outfit Pandora have been the first to announce local support. And of course Google's own Play (which sells music and movies) and YouTube are onboard. Expect more announcements.
An industry insider (hint: he doesn't work for Netflix): helpfully tells NBR, "Chromecast does not automatically work with Netflix US in NZ. It’s to do with Google’s own DNS settings, which are baked into the Chromecast device. It can probably be worked around but it’s another level beyond normal DNS-tweaking and Unblock-us" (though see also Vikram Kumar's comment on the subject below). By contrast, it's relatively easy to set up a US account on a $149 Apple TV device, allowing you to access the US version of the Apple TV interface that includes apps for the likes of Netflix and Hulu.
NBR travelled to Quickflix' Auckland office to see a Chromecast in action (see gallery top right). It all seemed very user-friendly. A review unit is on its way, so stay tuned to see how that goes.
Beyond being the first to support the low-cost Chromecast, Quickflix also announced its premium pay-per-view movie and TV series season pass features have been extended to Playstation 3 and 4.
There's a content battle also raging, of course, but Quickflix – which was also the first to Android, smart TVs and game consoles – continues to set the pace in New Zealand, making itself available through as many hardware platforms as possible.
* It also needs power via a USB jack, which can connect to a power outlet in your wall or (if it has one) a free USB jack on your TV. There's also a dongle option to plug a Chromecast directly into a USB slot on your TV, which takes care of power as well.