Frugal Friday: Is the Google Chromecast All it’s Cracked up to be?

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The Man

Happy Friday everyone! Why is it that the week you return from vacation you always seem slammed? We had a great staycation and did some fun things around town, but have been crazy busy this week. To be fair, I could’ve planned our time away a little better as we started work for one of our new clients this week as well as the blog management client I picked up recently started this week as well. Oh well, busy is good as it means more money!

I know that paying for cable tv is considered somewhat taboo in the PF world and while we have it in the Frugal Rules home, I am generally on the lookout for new ways to save money. This is why the recent announcement of the Google Chromecast caught my attention. If you’ve been living under a rock the past week or two, you’ve likely heard of the Google Chromecast and the hoopla around it. If you’ve not heard about the Chromecast, you can check out this insightful post from Yahoo Finance which also has an in-depth video explaining the possible implications of the device.

The article states that they believe the Google Chromecast could potentially be the death of the typical pay cable model of delivering television content. While we’ve seen many other devices aiming at making dents in the cable industry like Roku, Netflix or iTunes (to name a few) this new device by Google takes it a step further by allowing individuals to watch pretty much anything on the internet through their TV by buying the $35 device to be attached to their TV. It remains to be seen just exactly how much content will be available as companies like Apple will likely block their content from being viewed. That said, if the Chromecast does what it says it does it could prove to be a very frugal choice for those looking to cut the cable cord.

Digging a Little Deeper on the Google Chromecast


Of course, Google’s motives aren’t the most altruistic and begs the question of why someone like them would be looking to deliver television content when they really do not develop it at all on their own. The answer to why they introduced the Chromecast, on one level is quite simple – to target consumers. By choosing to use the device, you’ll be giving Google insight into the content that you’re watching. They should be able to then turn around and sell that information to advertisers looking to target consumers more specifically. As an advertiser I see how much of a boon this could potentially be in that advertisers would be getting specific information as to what people are watching so they can target their ads more specifically. It works out great for Google as they’re going to be able to charge more for said information and thus able to add more income to their ad business.

As a consumer, it makes me take a step back and think about what exactly I would be giving up to get content at such a relatively cheap price. I am not naïve enough to believe that we truly have privacy. Recent events have shown us that (surprise, surprise) things we view online and our calls are being monitored by the powers that be. If you don’t want that occurring, then it’s safe to say that you should stay off the web completely…seeing as our business is largely internet driven on several levels we won’t be doing that anytime soon. However, when given some thought, do you want to pay to allow someone to gather said information on you? It already happens on some levels, but do you want to do it on a level such as this? This is not meant to slam or criticize the Google Chromecast, but to have us analyze if it’s truly all it’s cracked up to be. Regardless, it’s another step in hopefully moving us closer to a much more consumer friendly television content platform.

Even though it has been a busy week, I did manage to read a number of good blog posts. If you have some time this weekend, then do yourself a favor and check some of them out!

Blog Post of the Week


What to Do After You’re Debt Free on Common Cents Wealth

If you’ve ever dealt with repaying debt – especially consumer debt then you know what it can feel like to get it paid off. Suddenly, the money you had been using to repay your debt now becomes “found” money with numerous ways it could be used. I loved Jake’s breakdown of different options of what to do with this new source of money. Having gone through this situation personally, I think it calls for an introspective look at what changes can/should be made so you can make your money effectively work for you. I agree with Jake that a decision doesn’t have to be made right away as you want a wise decision and not a fast one. If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, what direction did you go with your “found” money?

Other Blog Posts That Ruled

One Year of Blogging and $100 Giveaway on Eyes On The Dollar

How Do You Analyze Individual Stocks? – Part 2 – The Periodic Check-in on My Personal Finance Journey



Odd Search Terms

Frugal Grandma blog…last time I checked there’s no grannie here!

Is being cheap rude…I guess that depends on who you ask.

10 x 5 cubicle…Sounds like prison cell to me!

Topless service…Sorry, this is a family blog!

Do people scratch their head when someone is crazy…Not at all!

Man pays $350 for a Cronut…Now, THAT sounds crazy!

What shouldn’t I buy from Wal-Mart…How long do you have?



Would you be interested in buying the Google Chromecast given the information they’d be collecting on you? Do you have anything fun planned this weekend?


Photo courtesy of: Eduardo Simioni

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • Thanks for the mention mate. Have a great weekend.

  • I hadn’t heard about Google Chromecast – but I fully admit I do live under a rock most of the time. 🙂 That being said, no, I wouldn’t get it, I don’t think. Too much spying for me, those evil Google people. 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend: we are going to the county fair today: woohoo!

  • I wouldn’t get it, but then again I might be in the minority along with you and I still have cable. Can’t quite give up ESPN.

  • “Why is it that the week you return from vacation you always seem slammed?” That’s because you are. 🙂 That is the absolute worst part about going on vacation – returning and finding you have to work double time to catch up. The Chromecast services sounds interesting. I just want a service that allows me to pick a-la-cart the stations I want to watch. I don’t need 90% of the stations the cable or satellite service packages offer.

  • Thanks for the mention!
    I’m definitely keeping my eye on Google Chromecast! We have a Roku box now with Hulu/Netflix but I always keep my eye out for something better!

  • Alexa says:

    I don’t have cable now but I would definitely consider getting Google Chromecast. I wouldn’t mind watching a show or two every now and then and I don’t think anyone can beat that price.

  • John, I think us giving up our paid TV was the real beginning of death for the cable companies. Forget Google, if we can live without it, anyone can! That being said, I really don’t care if Google knows what I watch on TV. I’m sure they already know everything about me, and I’m pretty boring, so who cares. If I was watching porn or how to build a bomb, maybe it would be different. I’m very interested to see what becomes of this, but I also don’t want to go back to watching lots of mindless TV, so we’ll see. Thanks for including me in your list this week. Have a great weekend.

    • John says:

      I am interested to see what comes of it as well, it’s very interesting to watch from an advertising perspective and the potential gold mine it could give to advertisers.

  • I’d probably be fine with them collecting my info since I don’t watch that much TV anyways. However if they could keep cost low I’m sure a lot of people might be in favor of it.

    • John says:

      That’s exactly what they’re banking on Chris. People will look at the cost and not think about all the data Google can collect from them.

  • E.M. says:

    Thank you for the mention John! I really like your analysis of Chromecast. Honestly I haven’t heard of it yet, but cable is included in our rent, so it’s not something I’m very concerned about. Even when we move, I think we will make do with Netflix/Hulu or Roku. It really creeps me out how much is known about us just by tracking our cookies and data over the internet. I don’t like the thought of Google using information that way, but of course they will. The average consumer is probably not taking that into consideration either.

    • John says:

      Not a problem E.M. You’re spot on with the Chromecast. Many people will not think about the data collection and just look at the price. I know they know pretty much everything about us anyway, but I am not too excited and paying them to do it too!

  • I wouldn’t care about Google collecting slightly more information on me than they already do. I can’t understand what makes Chromecast any different then Roku or Apple TV though, other than the fact that it is a little cheaper.

    • John says:

      I don’t know much about Roku, but Apple is going to steer you towards what they want and is more expensive. The Chromecast is cheaper and pretty much would allow you to get anything – as long as the producer doesn’t block it. It’s pretty safe to assume that Apple will block their content though.

  • Glad to hear you’ve been busy! Like you said, it means more money. I’ve been busy as well with our renters switching and the site.

    We also have cable, but I actually have it on my “to do” list this weekend to give them a call and an ultimatum. For over a year I was able to get internet, cable in two rooms, DVR, and a ridiculous number of channels for about $100 a month. Part of that cost is built into our renter’s bill as we tell them they will have cable and internet provided. Ours recently went up to $160 or something and the only way I could get it back down was to get rid of DVR and drastically reduce the channels. It seems a bit ridiculous they can’t lower it since I’m month-to-month and can leave anytime. I plan on switching to satellite if they don’t lower it. Should be interesting since I’ve never had satellite, but honestly I think long-term these costs are all going to drop drastically because of stuff like Google’s Chromecast. Content is becoming cheaper in general and a lot of shows seem to be making much more revenue through product placement, which I think is the future of advertising.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    • John says:

      Ouch, I hate it when they do crap like that! DirecTV will try stuff like that from time to time, but overall, we’ve had decent luck with them for the three years we’ve been with them.

      I agree that things like the Chromecast should help lower costs. I don’t know if it’ll be the Chromecast or not, but something will come along that will help deal a bigger blow to the content industry. As an advertiser myself, you’re spot on about product placement. We’ve always had it and it’ll only become more of an influence.

  • Isn’t that similar to Apple TV? From what I understand you can watch streaming with the Apple box, but I don’t know if there is a fee. Google knows what I browse for all day so I don’t mind if they know what I watch too, like Amazon suggestions, it can be helpful sometimes if you are not a shopaholic.

  • Untemplater says:

    Cable is so expensive but it’s something I haven’t cut out of my budget. I use one of those bundle packages that includes cable, internet, and phone to save but it’s still nowhere near cheap. Chromecast sounds intriguing but I agree Google will totally use it for compiling data for targeted advertising and such.

    • John says:

      It’s not something we’ve cut yet either Sydney. It’s really our entertainment and I can’t live without college football. We run a tight ship otherwise, so it all balances out.

  • Thanks for the mention!

    I’m really excited about the chromecast. The more standard cable competition the better. I’ve been streaming netflix and hulu rather than cable and I would love to see if it improves things.

  • Mr. 1500 says:

    Google is getting friggin’ crazy powerful. Phones, maps, self driving cars, Glass, TVs, etc. As you inferred, at the core they are an advertising company. All of the services they offer are a medium to sell an ad.

    I can even think of use cases for the self driving car. Here is me talking to my GCar in 10 years:
    Me: I’m hungry for tacos. What mexican restaurants are near.
    GCar: Well, there is a Google Offer for 20% at La Hacienda tonight. Would you like me to take you there? Also I looked at your Google Calendar and noticed that your anniversary is tomorrow. Would you like me to do a search for flowers online?

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