The major tech press reviews are in for Google’s new streaming device, Chromecast with Google TV.
And the consensus is that the market-leading incumbents, Roku and Amazon, should really get to know that awkward name.
“After using it for a while, I'm questioning my loyalty to that Roku,” wrote Wired.
According to Gizmodo, Google’s reinvented next iteration of Chromecast has “instantly catapulted Google to the front of the streaming dongle wars with a $50 device that’s smarter and easier to use than pretty much anything else out there.”
Adds CNET: “It's not as simple or rock-solid as Roku, which we still like better overall, but it's certainly more capable, especially for voice.”
Meanwhile, Next TV sibling publication Tom’s Guide headlined its review, “Chromecast with Google TV is the best streaming device I’ve ever owned.”
Chromecast with Google TV is the first Google device to capitalize on the popularity of Android TV, which the tech giant has steadily proliferated in licensed pay TV set-tops and smart TVs, as well as cadets from companies ranging from TiVo to Nvidia to Dish Network.
Google is rebranding Android TV into Google TV. And Gizmodo’s only quibble with the new device is the product name.
“By tacking 'with Google TV' onto the end, not only did Google make the name clunky and unwieldy, Google buried the main attraction. Google TV should be front and center, Chromecast is really just a supporting player,” the tech pub writes.
Roku is the dominant connected TV device platform in the U.S., with Amazon Fire TV ranking second. However, as these platforms evolve their business models, expanding their demands for subscription and ad revenue share, as well as access to user data, they’re increasingly at odds with major programming suppliers over distribution.
AT&T’s HBO Max, for instance, still doesn’t have support on either Roku or Amazon Fire TV more than five months after launch.
Google, however, is focused on proliferating its Android TV/Google TV platform and is offering more favorable terms to streaming companies. All of the major services are currently available in the Google Play Store, which is a major component of the Android TV platform.
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