Thursday 18 August 2016

Play Your Music From Your Big Stereo

Recently I covered the idea of setting up your own Plex Media Server to inventory and provide simple access to all the different media you own. Today I want to talk about accessing that and all your streaming music easily and inexpensively.

Streaming music from services like Spotify, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, and SiriusXM is quite common. The variety is great and the subscriptions range from free to a few dollars a month. 

Many people have bought bluetooth speakers to play their streaming music, and they are a great invention. Three issues really prevent bluetooth speakers from completely replacing your home audio solution:

1) Distance - A bluetooth connection has fairly limited range, often you need to be no more than 15-20 feet away from the bluetooth speaker or it loses the signal.

2) Cost - A good quality bluetooth speaker will easily run you $200 or more.

3) Sound quality - Even the best Bose bluetooth speaker can't quite match the sound quality of a full-blown stereo system with multiple speakers and a sub-woofer.

Fortunately there is a cheap and easy solution for all 3 bluetooth limitations.

Buy a Chromecast Audio.

The Chromecast Audio is a small disk from Google that connects to your home WiFi and your home stereo.

Chromecast Audio costs about $45. The device includes a small male-to-male connector cable.
It supports a standard 3.5mm headphone connection, RCA cable connections, or even optical connections if you want to go for the high-end of the spectrum.

One of these choices will definitely let you plug the Chromecast in to your current home theater or stereo system, so you can enjoy your music with rich, full-range sound.

Best of all the Chromecast Audio connects to your computer/media server/smartphone/tablet over your home WiFi, so you can be anywhere in your home (that has WiFi) and control the playlist, change stations, and control the volume. No more having the music cut out because you took one too many steps away.

All this without having to pair your devices to a speaker, and avoiding the annoyance of having to disconnect bluetooth on one device before you can play on the next.

There are a lot of choices for how you can play all your streaming music, but I haven't found a better one yet than the Chromecast for it's flexibility and price.

You can pick one up at Best Buy, or order it online directly from Google by clicking here.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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