Premium members know I’m adopting Google Cast, through Google Home, Chromecast, and other devices, in my new home. But here’s a secret: you can throw whatever from Android, so even apps that don’t natively support this technology can still be streamed to a screen or speakers.
I will soon write a broader explanation of my use of Google Cast technologies as part of my Paul’s Tech Makeover Series for Premium members. But the brief explanation for this technology is that Google created Google Cast as a way to stream content between mobile devices (and, on the PC, the Chrome web browser) and compatible displays and speakers. This can be embedded or added with an external Chromecast device; these are available in video (Full HD and 4K) and audio versions.
Google Cast / Chromecast is great for a number of reasons but, again, for the sake of time, I’ll highlight just two: it supports multi-room audio for full sound if you want it. wish. And it’s super cheap.
For example, a pair of low-end Sonos One speakers will set you back $ 400, and those speakers don’t even have line-in or Apple AirPlay support, which minimizes compatibility. They also only support certain services, so you can do something like play an Audible audiobook on Sonos. Unacceptable.
In comparison, a $ 35 Chromecast Audio paired with a pair of inexpensive speakers or studio monitors—like this pair of $ 99 Edifier R1280T powered bookshelf speakers I own—Provides better sound quality and a lot better compatibility (speakers have multiple line inputs), and they do so at less than a third of the cost. This is the Google model, my friends. It works.
Either way, if there’s one downside to Google Cast / Chromecast, it’s that not all mobile apps support this technology natively. And this is especially true on iOS, if you’ve chosen the iPhone route. (As you may know, I recently switched from iPhone to Android, and while this issue wasn’t at the forefront of my decision, it played a small role.)
For example, if you open Spotify (on Android or iPhone), you’ll see a Available Devices link at the bottom of Now Player that links to Chromecast and Google Cast (and other) compatible speakers.
Other apps, like Pocket Cast, provide a more familiar Chromecast icon.
Either way, these options allow you to stream or stream the content you are listening to on a set of speakers (or a group of speakers, or a house full of speakers). If you are watching video content, you can also stream that content to your HDTV / 4K UHD TV using a Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra.
As noted, however, some apps do not natively support Chromecast / Google Cast. The one that bothers me the most is Audible, as I regularly listen to audiobooks. There is no Chromecast icon on the Audible Now Playing screen.
But it doesn’t matter. On Android, you can access a Cast icon in the Notification shade which will broadcast the audio or video content you enjoy on the speakers / speaker groups or screens you have configured.
So if you want to listen to Audible on some Chromecast compatible speaker, as I often do, just turn on Cast and choose the speaker (s).
(If you don’t see a Cast icon, you can add it.)
As you can see, I have several choices – this is what it means to “adopt” Google Cast – which include Google Home devices (Kitchen Home and Sun Room Home), speaker pairs connected to Chromecast (Sun Room , Pauls Office), Google Cast – built-in speakers (Soundbar) and whole-home audio (Thurrott All) consisting of multiple sets of speakers.
Then open Audible and start playing. The audiobook will play on the selected speakers, not your phone’s internal speakers. Here is. You can see you’re streaming through an icon in the status bar, and if you pull down the Notification pane, you’ll see the speaker (s) you’re connected to, named by the Stream icon.
On iOS, you’re a little stuck: This operating system supports streaming to AirPlay-enabled speakers (and, through Apple TV, displays) only. And these solutions are very expensive. So if you want to use Chromecast with iOS, you need to use a Chromecast compatible app. Audible, unfortunately, is not one of them.
(It would be nice if you could trigger the screen / audio broadcast from the Google Home app, then select which app to use for playback. But Apple would never allow that.)