To be truly wireless
For little over a year, Google has been helping us beam stuff from our smartphones to our tellies with a pocket-sized device called Chromecast.
It plugs into any HDMI port and allows Full HD programming to be pulled from your mobile with a little help from a Wi-Fi connection. That means no more wires trailing along the floor, and no more awkward setup procedures.
And, this year, alongside the launch of two new Nexus smartphones, we’ve seen the release of the audio equivalent – aptly called Chromecast Audio, and it only costs £30.
In the box you’ll find the circular Chromecast Audio unit, which is about 2-inches in diameter, a short 3.5mm lead to connect to your speaker, and a power lead to keep everything going.
On the inside fold of the box is a brief set of instructions, letting you know how to get started. It’s very straight-forward, and after you’ve downloaded the app and allowed access to your Wi-Fi network, you’re pretty much ready to go.
Bringing life back to music
The beauty of Chromecast Audio is its ability to breathe life back into the retired hi-fi and the soup-splattered kitchen radio. It plugs directly into the headphone port, and providing you’ve got a Wi-Fi network in range, you can play music through anything.
Actually playing your music is very straightforward. Much like other Wi-Fi operated speaker systems (we’re looking at you, Sonos), you can use a variety of services and play directly to Chromecast. The likes of Spotify Premium, Google Music, TuneIn, Deezer, Pandora, NPR One, Rdio and 7digital are all on the list, as well as your locally stored files like iTunes.
The Chromecast Audio does exactly what it says on the tin. Setup is seamless and for the rock bottom price it’s not to be sniffed at. It's only fault being that you can't connect multiple speakers together, in order to play the same song throughout your home, like you can with Sonos.
We asked Google Chromecast about this, and recevied the (rather abrupt) reply: "This feature is currently not available." So, no movement at the moment, but we wouldn't be surprised if a feature of this ilk arrived in a second gen version of the gadget. Fingers crossed.
Get your own Chromecast Audio over at Currys PC World, or if you fancy it as a free gift, check out the Nexus 5X.