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Google has launched its Chromecast streaming stick in Brazil, where the device is selling for R$ 199 (about $87.95) through local retailers. That’s a pretty big markup from the $35 pricing in the U.S., but electronics in general tend to be pretty expensive in Brazil. And for everyone keeping score, this newest expansion means that Chromecast is now available in 19 countries around the world, including large parts of Europe, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Canada.

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In Brief

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) would love to offer its customers Netflix. The local ISP decided to make its love for House of Cards and other Netflix shows public with an open letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, which invites Netflix to come to Hong Kong. Of course, it’s unlikely Hastings would be swayed by a letter like this, but he must have enjoyed this part: “At HKBN, we strongly concur with your vision that with strong net neutrality, new services requiring high-speed internet can emerge and become popular.”

In Brief

Google’s Chromecast streaming stick didn’t just get love from ESPN this week: Chromecast users can now also cast from the iOS and Android apps as well as the website of the Anime video service Crunchyroll, Major League Soccer’s mobile apps, and Google+ iOS and Android apps. The latter can be used to cast photos and videos to the TV, which is especially useful if you auto-upload all your personal media to Google+. And we might even see Chromecast coming to Aereo as early as Wednesday.

Medium says it is continuing to experiment with how best to compensate writers, but the recent departure of the contributing editor behind one of its collections shows there is still a tension between Medium the magazine and Medium the open platform Read more »

In Brief

Amazon responded to the ongoing controversy over its decision to limit availability of Hachette titles as the companies try to negotiate a new contract. Now Hachette has responded to that response: In a lengthy statement provided to Publishers Lunch (free) on Wednesday, Hachette said, “It is good to see Amazon acknowledge that its business decisions significantly affect authors’ lives.” It said over 5,000 titles have been affected by Amazon’s tactics (including delayed shipping and lack of pre-orders) and added, “By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors’ books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not.”

Amazon spoke out on its contract dispute with book publisher Hachette, saying it’s unlikely the parties will reach an agreement any time soon. The retailer also said it’s offered to fund half of an “author pool” to mitigate the impact on Hachette authors’ lost royalties. Read more »

In Brief

Turns out Chromecast didn’t just launch in Japan and Australia this week: Google is also bringing its streaming stick to Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal. Combined with the European launch earlier this year and the expansion to South Korea two weeks ago, this means that Chromecast is now available in a total of 18 countries. Google VP of Product Management Mario Queiroz told me late last year that the company intended to launch in “a number of international markets,” in 2014, adding that people were going to be “pleasantly surprised” by the scope of this international expansion.

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