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Google’s Chromecast may pose threat to smart TVs

Updated : 2014-06-20 19:27

Chromecast may pose threat to smart TVs

By Bahk Eun-ji

Google Chromecast, which made its debut here last month, is gaining popularity and favorable customer reviews.
Chromecast is an adapter ― about the size of a USB stick ― that plugs into a television and allows users to mirror content such as videos, music, photos and apps from a computer, tablet or smartphone onto a TV screen.
Google sold 2.7 million Chromecasts in the U.S. last year and about 200,000 in Korea over the last month. Amid its growing popularity, some experts believe Chromecast could threaten smart TVs because of additional functions they do not offer. 
A smart TV allows users to watch shows and surf the web at the same time.
However, with Chromecast users can easily stream content such as YouTube videos, Google Play movies and apps to the TV.
So far, users have been satisfied with the device.
“I use a mid-level smart TV but still bought Chromecast because it makes it easy to watch YouTube videos. But what’s most attractive to me about Chromecast is that it is much faster than iOS or Android apps and gets updated a lot more often,” said Shin Yoon-seok, an office worker in Seoul.
But, he added, Chromecast is simply an added convenience because he can still send YouTube videos from his smartphone to the TV without it.
“The main advantage of Chromecast for me is that it allows me to use my phone apps instead of the smart TV interface,” he said.
Meanwhile, TV manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics do not think Chromecast will threaten their business because the device has limited functions.
“Like Chromecast, smart TVs provide video streaming, but our TVs have even more features like voice and gesture control, not to mention, social media and various other apps,” an official said.
He said the company actually welcomes Chromecast because it will help make the smart TV market bigger.
However, research suggests that majority of customers are satisfied with Chromecast despite its limited functions.
According to market research company NPD last year, most users (60 percent) only use the device’s video streaming function. Only 10 percent said they use the app function.
In that sense, Chromecast provides adequate functionality for a reasonable price, but analysts say it won’t significantly affect the smart TV market mainly because it’s still small.
“Smart TVs have yet to resonate with customers because they don’t provide a better platform than desktop PCs, tablets and smartphones,” said Jonathan Hwang, a tech analyst at Daewoo Securities.
He also said the smart TV market has failed to attract customers and to grow. “So, Chromecast has had a limited effect on the market,” he said.

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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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