Telstra to bring Chromecast to Australia?

10 February 2014

A new report suggests Telstra is in ‘secret conversations’ with Google to bring the web giant’s Chromecast dongle to Australia as a way to popularise its Bigpond streaming services.

According to The Australia, the country’s largest telco is working on making several of its key Bigpond-branded content service compatible with the Chromecast — an affordable web-connected dongle which connects to a TV via an HDMI port.

Google released a software development kit (SDK) for the Chromecast platform last week, giving all developers equal opportunity to create Chromecast compatible services. The problem for Telstra is that the Chromecast dongle is not available in Australia at this time.

This has fuelled speculation that Telstra will either partner with Google to distribute the Chromecast in Australia, or that the telco could be planning the launch of an all-new digital media player which would incorporate Chromecast functionality.

An open door?

Backing Google’s Chromecast media play would pose an interesting challenge for the Aussie telco. On the one hand, the super-cheap dongle has the potential to open a door to a multitude of new customers to its Bigpond IPTV offering, and increase subscriptions for services like AFL streaming and Foxtel.

But the Chromecast dongle will also serve as a constant reminder to the same customers of the services they could also access, like the popular US movie service Netflix. A tech-savvy user will be able to access services outside of the Bigpond stable of products without too much difficulty.

Free music services will also be available, and without requiring any clever tech workarounds.

Hopefully, this is exactly the sort of incentive Telstra needs to try and match the cost-effective offerings from overseas-owned service providers.

Source: The Australian

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