Goodbye Chromecast Audio, we will not miss you
Google is certainly not new to the elimination of projects, services and entire product lines. This time it seems to be time to say goodbye to Chromecast Audio and, frankly, I can't say that I'm going to miss it.
The news comes directly from Reddit where a user said he had spoken with the support service of the American search giant about Chromecast Audio. According to the Google employee, the product is now in a discontinued state and no longer in production.
This news is nothing more than the umpteenth confirmation of the end of the life cycle of Google's multimedia dongle dedicated to audio and equipped with Cast functionality. Many had in fact seen that their order had been canceled, probably because of the lack of availability.
In the US Google Store the Chromecast Audio is reduced to just $15 and, in many other parts of the world like the UK, it labeled as out of stock. Honestly, the Chromecast Audio technology (both through Google's dongle and integrated in some speakers) has not been very successful since the beginning, targeting a very small niche of people.
It was in fact only with the arrival of the Google Home family that the function was widely used and that it reached its greatest audience. Given the presence of a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth on Google Home, many users have preferred to connect the new smart speakers of Big G to their audio systems eliminating the need to purchase a Chromecast Audio.
The hope is, however, that the product has been withdrawn pending a refresh that could be expected for Google I/O in 2019. My personal hope would be to see a second-generation Google Home Mini equipped with a jack socket that could be used both as an input and as an audio device that could replace Chromecast Audio in all respects.
Have you ever used the Cast function with audio only? Do you have a Google Home speaker or a Chromecast fault device in your home?
Just came across this article and had to leave a comment even if it's too late.
Just because the author doesn't know how to use an excellent device like the Chromecast audio, it is a bad product. This is my frustration with Google for killing excellent devices/services.
I have been using this with my AVR and absolutely love it. It is one of the few streaming devices that allows optical out to your music system. It streams pretty high quality audio and for $35 you just can't beat it's value compared to some comparable expensive devices.
I have a pretty high end stereo system. Preamp, class ab amp, magnepans, subs, etc. Running an stereo preamp with no wifi streaming was a nightmare. The chromecast audio was excellent. I stream tidal hifi from my phone to the chromcast audio. Google doesnt have another product to replace this. Ita just that simple. Sure, they didnt sell enough of them, but the ones who bought it are very happy. I now am switching to an Nvidia shield which has chromcast built in to handle my TV and audio.....however it doesnt have an audio out al I am buying a cambridge audi DacMagic xs to output the digital and convert it into analog now. Do you know how much this is costing me? Granted I am replacing an android box with a second Nvidia Shield because it's awesome, but still. My main goal is to simply listen to music easily from my phone to my stereo. The chromecast audio was fantastic but given my situation and the product being discontinued I decided to move to the nvidia shield with chromecast and a DacMagic to handle the audio now. Hundreds of dollars vs. 35 for a chromecast. Its disappointing.
Chromecast Audio was an awesome piece of equipment, that is not easily replaceable. I moved my CD collection to FLAC files on a music server; and I could use UPnP to stream music over wifi to the Chromecast Audio. The CCA had an optical out that I could plug into my Yamaha stereo receiver; BOOM, high fidelity music played to my bookshelf KEF speakers and Omni subwoofer.
Nothing currently on the market, at anything close to the price point, does what the Chromecast Audio did. Bluetooth compresses audio, so you get much lower quality sound than available over wifi. The optical out on the CCA let me use the DAC in my receiver, rather than performing the analog conversion in the (cheap) dongle.
Poor article. Just because you are not interested in quality stereo sound, doesn't mean other people aren't.
I do not know how one could be so critical of Google without saying what Google did well. For starters, the little chromecast audio streamed high bitrate audio to virtually anything it plugged in, and it allowed me to “cast” whatever music I wanted to it. Google is not forcing you to buy these. But I thought this was an excellent product that worked well with Google home. Yes, these technologies are new. But I can setup a home audio system for not even a quarter of the cost of what Bose would charge for, and I can set it up myself. I also use the google home to check my calendar and turn on/off my lights from bed. If you want to say you don’t have a use for it, then fine. But don’t call this it shit when it isn’t. No other company has produced a product to allow 24bit audio streaming with whatever system I want, because google doesn’t just want to limit you to an overpriced Sonos 5. Don’t be ignorant you jackass.
Google's business model is selling customer information to advertisers, governments and financial institutions. I'm sure they just weren't getting enough useful data out of a simple 3.5mm dongle, and the next iteration will be able to listen for conversations and snoop on your WiFi traffic.
Great article, knowledgeable tech guy. You're analysis is spot on; I mean what kind of a square would need some simple little dongle that turns a basic two channel amp into a whole home music system. Don't these Ludites know that it's way better to replace your 8" in-wall speakers with a 1/2" inch table top microph... I mean speaker that can tell you what the weather is like outside your window. Everyone want's to know what the weather's like!
I currently have 4 Chromecast Audio devices in my home (as well as 3 Chromecast video) and they have all allowed me to make my "old" home setup work as a whole house setup. These are used daily as I always have music on. For the price of 4 of these I now have up to 4 zones in my home and patio and can create groups in the same way a $1000+ Sonos setup does. I even travel with Chromecasts so that I can get the same functionality in hotel rooms and other rentals. I have found an adapter that goes from HDMI to VGA and Audio, but that is not an ideal scenario as it requires 5V of power to function and creates a rather bulky setup. The questions I'd like answered is: Were these not selling? Will there be an alternate device that will provide this functionality?
I'm not sure how Google can claim they already have other products that will do what the Chromecast Audio does. Show me another product with an analog audio output that I can connect to my audio system. I use the Chromecast Audio to listen to Spotify, Pandora and Sirius XM through my audiophile-level home stereo. There's not a single Google assistant speaker that can match the sound quality I'm used to.
Thanks, Google. Thanks for nothing.
I am sad to see the Chromecast Audio go. We use ours every single day with dumb speakers in the house. It is a very low cost solution for enabling music streaming to virtually any speaker.
I never really saw much need for the audio dongle. Though as yet I haven't bought into the small speaker/Home devices. I cast my music player to the TV which is connected to my "legacy" speakers or directly to the sound bar.
I'm not convinced with the push for (in my opinion) inferior speakers in every room. Yes I have a waterproof Bluetooth speaker in the bathroom, but don't think I'd need one in the kitchen or bedroom.
Are these systems sound quality actually better than legacy systems with a amplifier and speakers with larger components? It may be that modern electronic hardware is superior to previous legacy technologies. Are we gaining superior quality and convenience, or are we fooling ourselves in thinking that quality is equivalent to or better at the expense of convenience?
For me the convenience factor is not a good thing or strong enough for me to use these products, if I need to use Google Assistant for any reason (Search - multimedia - control smart devices) then I have an already expensive device that is more than capable of performing these tasks, if not better... My smartphone.
Even if I wanted a dedicated device, I'd use my excellent Galaxy Tab S4.
All these "home" Assistant devices are to generate extra revenue. Rather than a genuine design led change that benefits the users, it's tinkering with existing technologies and repackaging them as the next "must have".
The really ironic thing is Google and others know that these devices are a "work in progress".i.e each year will bring a slightly "improved" version that is uncompatible with previous generations. Though what they always fail to mention is that they vastly reduced the quality of speakers etc to start with so that they can claim to be improving them each year.
Progression is not necessarily improvement.
I have a Chromecast Audio connected to a Lepai 2020a amp and my Bose AM-5 Acoustimass speakers. Sounds great. I use a Google Home Mini and Google Play Music to send tracks to it. It works beautifully and we use it everyday. Hopefully, they'll replace it with an inexpensive Google Home Mini without the speaker and just microphones and a 3.5mm jack. Turn your high end Stereo in to a Google Home device. I'd buy that.
Yup, I have a lot of Chromecast audio. At my home there are 3 speakers connected with Spotify audio and in my car there is 1. I love the product and how I can conveniently without Bluetooth connect older yet really well sounding speakers.
I don't quite understand how current offerings are a replacement? I also have Google home and mini but those can't connect to better speakers without Bluetooth, but Bluetooth doesn't sync that well simultaneously in my whole house (6 speakers for multiroom listening)
Over the holidays, Minis were sold at ridiculously low process or given away for free with other hardware purchases. Of course that have a big boost to the numbers of Assistant users, but I also hope that it's an indication of stock reduction and that the Mini will be getting a refresh later this Spring, maybe at I/O.
Yes I use my Chromecast audio everyday works great love it don't use the video on near as often.