Today Google has launched a lot, but the Chromecast Audio is a new product which has been a long time coming and this may be about to disrupt the market place for in home audio playback. Currently there are a few ways to play audio in the home including Sonos, AirPlay and Cast speakers. All of which brings even more confusion.
Cutting to the chase, the Chromecast Audio turns any speaker into a smart speaker using a 3.5mm cable, which is included and a power cable for the Chromecast. Playing audio is simple as well, (I’m detecting a trend?) just press the Cast button in Google Play Music or Spotify and you’re all set.
Choosing one depends on which platform you have, Sonos is one of the most popular systems right now as it works across iOS and Android and is pretty simple to set up. Sonos also sells a device like the Chromecast Audio called Sonos Connect, but it cost $350 and the Chromecast Audio is $35.
AirPlay is an Apple specific system which is actually quite like the ‘Cast’ ecosystem. However it is a bit more costly to set up as you need a AirPort Express, which are around $70/£70.
Compatibility, Specs and Availability
If you want a cost effective way of getting audio to speakers in your house, then the Chromecast Audio is probably the best choice as it works with Android, Windows, Mac, ChromeOS and iOS. One thing to mention is that the Cast API doesn’t work with the stock Music app on iOS.
The Chromecast Audio has a 3.5mm jack and a Micro-USB port. Also included is 802.11ac WiFi for fast streaming with 2.4GHz an 5GHz. It costs $35 in the US and £30 in the UK