Tag Archives: chromecast

CES 2018

This year’s main theme for multi-room products is embedded digital assistants with Google Assistant or Amazons Alexa.

The one and the three from Klipsch will be released with Google assistant.

Altech lansing releases three speakers with Google assistant built-in, GVA1, GVA3 and GVA4.

Bang & Olufsen will launch devices this year with Google Assistant. They will also support other voice assistants when they become available to third parties (Siri) or support multiroom for third-party devices (Alexa).

B&O also announced that 10 of their devices will get AirPlay 2 support, including the Beoplay M3, M5, A9 mk2 and the Beosound range. There will be a software update shortly after the official AirPlay 2 launch.

Smart displays are a new type of products that in some cases could be part of a multi-room music setup through built-in Chromecast support. They do not however have powerful speakers due to their slim design, so a compliment in a kitchen maybe, but not as the main music source in the living room.

JBL Link View is an interesting example with two front-facing 10W speakers and a rear-facing passive radiator for more bass. It also has support for 24-bit HD audio streaming and built-in Chromecast.

Vifas new version of their Copenhagen speaker has Bluetooth, Qualcomm aptX HD audio and Apple AirPlay. It also has a rechargeable battery. With their app Vifa Home, you can play music from Spotify, QQ Music and TuneIn.


Google Home Max with Chromecast and Assistant

google home max

Google Home Max is actually quite a big deal. For the first time, Google releases a speaker that is on pair with the top multiroom speakers on the market in terms of sound quality. Loaded with the Assistant, it has voice commands and is also a hub for controlling other smart home devices.

Home Max is twenty times more powerful than the original Google Home (that has quite bad sound) and has dual 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers for deep bass. It has Smart Sound, where Google uses artificial intelligence to make Max adapt to the environment it is in, the context, and your preferences. Smart Sound automatically adjusts the listening experience to where it is placed in a room. If it is moved, it will tune itself within a few seconds.

home max inside

Home Max supports all the services that chromecast built-in does, so every mayor one, except Apple Music. It also has Bluetooth and an aux port. So if you absolutely must play Apple Music, use those.

To enable the Assistant to play Spotify with voice commands, open the Google Home app, link your Spotify account and set Spotify as your standard music service. Then your ready to control Spotify with commands like “Ok Google, play Dr. Dre”, “Ok Google, what song is this?” and so on.

In some ways it is strange that it took Google this long to release a great sounding speaker. But it is probably due to them wanting to incorporate the assistant and having a large enough ecosystem around it at launch.

As with Google’s flagship mobiles, now the Pixel 2 series, it shows other manufacturers what could be achieved with Google technology and is also a clean version of their vision for the multi-room market. It will probably lead to more chromecast built-in speakers from other manufacturers that follows in its footsteps, with built-in Google assistants as well.

New Marshall speakers with AirPlay, Spotify Connect and Chromecast

With over 50 years in the speaker and amplifier market, Marshall is a well known brand that now enters the multi-room market. They do so with a three-speaker lineup packed with wireless technology. They all have Chromecast built-in, AirPlay, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth. You can also use the (old school) 3.5 mm socket and RCA input.

Marshall multiroom

Acton multi-room is the smallest one. It has one 30 Watt Class D amplifier for the woofer and two 10 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters.

Stanmore multi-room is the middle speaker and has one 50 Watt Class D amplifier for the woofer and two 15 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters.

Woburn multi-room is the beast of the lineup. It has two 15 Watt Class D amplifiers for the tweeters and two 40 Watt Class D amplifiers for the woofer.

Marshall appYou can control the speakers with the App for iOS and Android, directly from casting apps like Spotify and with the on board sound controls. Apart from volume and balance, the on board control also includes a switch with sevens presets for playlists on Spotify and Internet radio stations.


So quite cool speakers from Marshall that are worth considering when adding multi-room to you home.

Harman Kardon Omni+ with Chromecast and Spotify Connect

Omni+Harman Kardon has upgraded their line of multi-room music speakers and they are now called Omni+. They all have 24Bit/192Khz HD audio, Spotify Connect, Chromecast built-in, Bluetooth and digital and analog input as well.

The previous version, Omni, lacked support for both Spotify Connect and Chromecast which made them almost unusable for most people. Now an Omni+ product, can re-broadcast Spotify Connect to first gen products.

The speakers are set up with the Harman Kardon controller app for iOS and Android.

OMNI 10+ fits small rooms and costs $249.95.

Omni 20+ is for larger rooms and costs $349.95.

Omni 50+ is portable and weatherproof, for use both indoors and outdoors. Has a rechargeable battery. Costs $499.95.

ADAPT+ connects to an existing system and lacks own speakers. Not released yet.

Urbanears Baggen and Stammen

Baggen Stammen

The Stockholm based headphone company is entering the multi-room speaker market with the two colorful speakers Stammen and Baggen. Depending on the color they can be a design piece in your home or a discrete sound system.

Both speakers handle Spotify Connect, AirPlay, Chromecast, Bluetooth, 3.5mm and aux input. Baggen is the bigger one with two 2.5˝ full-range drivers and one 5.25˝ woofer. It costs $450. Stammen is smaller one with two 3/4˝ neodymium dome tweeters and one 4˝ woofer. and costs $350. They both have 3 Class-D amplifiers.

Urbanears Connected app for iOS and android lets you flip through presets, browse internet radio stations, manage multi-room settings and tweak the equalizer.

You can combine up to 5 devices in a multi-room setup. Playing different music or combined in multi mode, which is Urbanears name for party mode.

Urbanears combination of design, good sound and support for both Spotify Connect and AirPlay makes them an interesting newcomer in the market.

Google Chromecast Audio with Spotify


Update December 10, 2015: Google has released the multiroom functionality firmware that enables party mode for Chromecast Audio. Simply group the Chromecasts together in the Chromecast App to play the same music on them. The firmware also includes support for high resolution lossless audio up to 96KHz/24bit.

Google has just announced two new Chromecast devices. One called the new Chromecast that basically is an upgraded version of the existing Chromecast with focus on streaming video. Then there is the Chromecast Audio that is targeted at playing multiroom music in your home. Now with native Spotify support!

Chromecast Audio has both analog and digital audio output through rca, aux (3.5mm) and optical that is connected to a receiver or active speakers (full size or more like computer speakers). This is because Chromecast Audio does not have a built in amplifier that can drive passive speakers on its own.

As the number of chromecast supported apps grows fast, Google has turned its focus to Content discovery, to let you be able to find quality sources that matches your taste. Support for Spotify was also announced which is a great addition. Pandora and iheart radio are two other popular services.

You can play local network music stored on a NAS, computer or a phone by using an App that can play the music from the source and also has chromecast output.

Google also announced the Google Play Music family plan for only 14.99$/month, for up to 6 people simultaneously. It will come later this year.

Chromecast Audio is Googles first Audio Player since the failed Nexus q that costed 8 times more and was withdrawn from the market after a few months. That fiasco led Google to revise their whole strategy for streamers and to focus on simpler and lower prices devices.


Like the previous version, the new Chromecast (not Audio) has a HDMI output and can be attached to a receiver and play music through it without any loss in quality. The optical out on the Chromecast Audio gives the same quality.

Both new Chromecasts supports 2.4 and 5ghz wireless. The signal strength is twice that of the previous version.

The process of casting audio looks the same as casting video and other.

Chromecast Audio has a guest mode that lets your friends connect and share their music in a safe way.


You can have multiple Chromecasts in your home, in different rooms, and play the music you want on them from your smartphone, one at a time. Each person in your home can play music at the same time on different players.  An update that enables party mode, to group players as one and play the same music on them simultaneously, will come later this year.

Where to buy it

All this makes the Chromecast Audio a great entry level music streaming device for its price.

Chromecast Audio is priced at 35$.

The new Chromecast is priced at 35$.

You can buy them now at the Google online store.

The old Chromecast gets spotify

The owners of the 20 million Chromecast units already sold will be glad to hear that the old Chromecast gets Spotify support in an upcoming firmware update within a few weeks.

Moto Stream

Moto Stream

Turn any speaker wireless by connecting Moto Stream to its receiver, which lets you stream music from smartphones, tablets and computers within 300 feet / 90 meters.

Up to five people can be connected as a collective DJ. Hiest it if you don’t like the music that is playing.

The streaming is done by either Bluetooth or NFC. Moto Stream is connected to the receiver by 3.5mm – RCA or 3.5mm – 3.5mm.

As a Bluetooth and NFC adapter, it simply plays what the connected device is playing without the need for any specific app or in app functionality.

Moto Stream looks a bit like Googles failed Nexus Q. In fact both Moto Stream and Chomecast can be seen as better priced and niched offsprings to Nexus Q (Google owns Motorola that makes Moto Stream).

Motorola sells it here.

Spoticast brings Spotify to the Chromecast

Update: Spoticast has been removed from Google Play.

Update 2: Spoticast is avaliable on an alternative source.

The android app Spoticast brings Spotify to the Chromecast before Spotify themselves have done it. Just download the app, login with your Spotify account and connect to your Chromecast. Screenshot_2014-05-18-17-29-44 Then switch to spotifys own app where the music you choose will be played on the chromecast. Screenshot_2014-05-18-17-30-05 You don’t need a Spotify premium subscription to use it. If you want to control the volume, set focus on the Spoticast app and use your device volume up and down. This should be a signal to Spotify that they need to get in the game and develop native Chromecast support instead of just focusing on their own Spotify connect technology.

Google Chromecast

Follow this link to read about the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio.

Maybe you remember the failed Nexus Q device and wonder how the redesign of it is going? Well, here is your answer, the Google Chromecast. It´s a device that is attached to an HDMI port and plays content from you android device or you PC. The price is 35$ which is 1/10 of the previous Nexus Q.


It is capable of playing Youtube, Netflix, Google Play music and most content that can be played in a Chrome PC tab. The intended usage scenario is to attach it to a TV.

So how could this be used for playing music in a multiroom setting? Lets say that you have receivers in two rooms with HDMI input (and decoding). You could then attach the Chromecast to those ports and then send content to it that would be played through the receiver.

For now, the music sources are limited to Google Play Music, Google Play Music All Access, Youtube music videos and anything that could be played through Chrome on a PC, like Spotify web player.

From a music only perspective, it would have been better if Google also had a dedicated audio output like a toslink or a standard 3.5mm. But most TVs has audio out options that can be inserted into a receiver that can’t handle HDMI decoding. There are also a myriad of converters that can be used depending on the requirements. Like this HDMI to VGA & Audio Cable if you just want audio or have an old display without HDMI.

Chromecast has sold very well and that will probably make more third party providers want to incorporate support for it in their apps.

Google has the Google Cast API for developers that want to incorporate support in their existing apps or new software solutions. Google claims that in some cases it can be as little as 200 lines of code to get it working.

Google Chromecast is powered by the Marvell ARMADA 1500-mini chip that is capable of handling the following formats (Which does not mean they are activated in Chromecast):

-H.264 high profile @ Level 4.1, 4.2 and 5
-VP6/8 SD & HD

-Dolby Digital (AC3)
-Dolby Digital Plus
-Dolby TrueHD
-DTS digital surround
-MPEG1 Layer 1/2/3, MPEG2 Layer 2, AC3, E-AC3, HE-AAC v1L2 & v2L4, MPEG2-LC
-MP3, MPEG audio
-AC3 & DTS encode over SPDIF

Update Mars 2014
The Android app for the  music service Rdio now supports Chromecast. You can also play local network files on the Chromecast through the android apps AllCast and LocalCast.

Update May 2014
Spotify is supported through the Android app Spoticast.