Chromecast circle

Chromecast – the $35 dongle that allows you to stream Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and your Chrome browser to your TV – is such a runaway success that it’s getting harder and harder to purchase, and it looks like the free Netflix deal has been cancelled due to the high demand.

Initially Chromecast has been available through the Google Play Store, Amazon, and Best Buy, although it’s now impossible to obtain Chromecast from any of these retailers in a timely manner or at a reasonable price. I’ve been monitoring the situation since I placed my order yesterday with Amazon, and the Play Store is currently displaying an estimated shipping time of 3-4 weeks. Amazon isn’t even offering to sell the Chromecast itself anymore, and is instead relying on third parties which – of course – have jacked the price up, in some cases over $100. Best Buy is no longer offering to ship Chromecast anywhere, and it’s not showing as available in any brick and mortar stores near me.

Your mileage may vary, however, as multiple reports have cropped up around the internet indicating that some Best Buys have jumped the gun and have started selling Chromecast early. Googler Melissa Daniels was on the case, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if an internal memo has already circulated to all Best Buy retail locations with instructions to pull the product off the shelves until the “official” release date (whenever that is!).

Adding to consumer frustration is the fact that the offer for three free months of Netflix is now nowhere to be found – it’s not on Amazon’s product page anymore (understandable, since Amazon itself isn’t selling it anymore), and it has also disappeared from the Play Store product page. After a brief chat with a Google Play phone representative, I confirmed what other people have been speculating: so many Chromecasts have been sold already, that Google has decided to cancel the free Netflix offer. According to the person I spoke with, it’s still valid for anyone who saw the offer while placing their orders, but it won’t be offered to any new purchasers going forward.

Wow. Did anyone think that this thing would be such a hit?