It was only about five or six years ago that I had the chance to first use a Smart TV, long enough ago that the concept of having the Internet on my telly without having to drill a hole through my upstairs floor to link it to my computer, which seemed at the time pretty amazing.
Jump forward a few years and the concept has never really gotten off the ground to the extent that I for one imagined it would. And with Google's Chromecast now on the market, there's a good chance that Smart TVs have already seen their day (although if Google releases a TV with Chromecast built in then perhaps not.)
At a bargain price of £30 on release, the cost factor is not a major issue, although, like BSkyB, I wonder if the device might be handed out free to subscribers in order to hasten its take up rate and help overcome the initial problem that Google has - persuading media companies to share their content on yet another online device. They've been here before of course with Google TV and has the same challenge to face all over again.
The set up took me just a few minutes (10 in total and I consider myself slow) to glancé at the instructions, unplug my Sky box, plug in Chromecast to both my TV and the wall socket and download the app to my phone, then I was ready to go.
It does protude from the back of the TV by about five inches however - so my TV is a little further forward from the wall than it was before.
However, all in all, setting up the device was easy.
But then, upon using the app it dawned on me just he new this platform is when looking for content. Ok - BBC iPlayer is there - but it's everywhere else too, and it's great to have YouTube which is vast - although it's amazing that it still feels somehow limited in its content still. Netflix is on there too.
What I was hoping for was access to more movies and drama (in the UK, Netflix isn't half the content beast it is elsewhere so this may be a different experience outside of Britain.) What I got was Red Bull TV, which is great, but I know I'd have watched 80's 'classic' BMX Bandits with Nicole Kidman in her first role instead given the choice - although it is a brilliant app for extreme sports fans. Chromecast has some real content population problems at the moment and desperately needs broadcasters to sign up and soon before the Chromecast hype dies down. I raved about the possibilities of Chromecast as a gaming and entertainment device for months - and I still wholeheartedly believe that this could achieve mass adoption and that Google is onto a winner. It just needs to solves this issue. So far the only gaming app I have played included a Tetris knock off - which worked for Gameboy 20 years ago but probably not today. Recent announcements by Google that it plans to invest in content production with Machinima will in some way help develop YouTube, as will the deal last week to purchase the rights to stream all of British Pathe’s back catalogue of films
- all a step in the right direction but there’s still a long way to go for it to boost Chromecast viewing. So while the device and the user experience gets two wholehearted thumbs up from me - I have to tell Google to get a move on with adding to Chromecast, because it wasn't long before I had my Skybox plugged back into my TV again.