Google Chromecast Audio is a popular and relatively inexpensive solution to set up a multi-room system and stream music. When Chromecast Audio is incorporated in speakers, for example, we speak of Chromecast built-in. In this article we explain what you can do with both options and what you can do with them.
What is Chromecast Audio?
The Google Chromecast HDMI stick became extremely popular in a short time to stream videos to televisions without an internet connection, without too much hassle and universal. More and more services quickly built in integration for Chromecast, including services such as Spotify. Google now wants to achieve the same with Chromecast Audio, but purely for music.
Any player / set / speaker with an aux connection can be connected to a Chromecast stick (shown above). The device comes standard with an auxiliary cable and only needs a power source outside of it. You connect the device or speaker and easily set it up via an app on your smartphone. The whole process is very simple, but the smartphone and Chromecast must be connected to the same WiFi network. You can then stream music and audio to your speakers.
Streaming via the cloud
Chromecast Audio works with a direct stream to the source file. The music is streamed from the cloud to your speakers via WiFi. This means that your smartphone or tablet only serves as a remote control that specifies what you want to listen to. So you don’t have to be continuously connected to your speaker from your device – unlike, for example, Bluetooth.
Google’s protocol works over Wi-Fi and supports very high quality audio, including lossless audio.
From Google Cast to Chromecast built-in
Before we explain exactly what Chromecast built-in is, we need to clear up some confusion around the naming convention. Google Cast, the streaming standard that is used in TVs and speakers, will be known as a ‘Chromecast built-in’ from 1 January 2017 . That comes down to a built-in version of the Chromecast dongle that we have known for a few years. That dongle will now keep its name.
The accompanying app with which streaming can be arranged was initially known as the Chromecast app, but was later renamed Google Cast. However, the app has been known as Google Home since November 2016 . You can operate your Google Chromecast devices with this app.
Chromecast built-in / Google Cast Audio
Chromecast Audio goes beyond just Google’s device – it’s a protocol that is supported out-of-the-box by many manufacturers. You can manage the devices via iOS or Android, on a Windows device or on a Mac it is also possible if you use Google Chrome.
Various manufacturers build support for Chromecast into their speakers, so that you do not need the separate Chromecast stick. Sony, LG and Raumfield, among others, support Google Cast / Chromecast built-in. However, support varies from model to model.
Quite a few apps also support Chromecast: Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Qobuz, SoundCloud, Juke and Tidal are just a few. The total range consists of more than 100 supported apps. From these apps you can stream music to all your compatible speakers or a selection of them with one press of the Cast icon.
Ideal as a universal multi-room system
What makes Chromecast Audio so useful is that you can combine all compatible speakers, of all brands, in one app. Any device that is connected to the device from Google – or supports the protocol out-of-the-box, can be combined. In the Google Home app (the umbrella app for Chromecast streaming, among other things) you can see all your speakers that are active on your network and manage all your speakers in one app.
So if you want to create a multi-room setup with speakers from different brands, Chromecast is an ideal solution. It is easy to bundle speakers per room in the Google Home app (formerly the Google Cast app). For example, you can bundle two speakers with Chromecast in “Living” and easily play music on both speakers.