Chromecast Audio Turns Any Speaker With An Audio Input Into WiFi Streamer

chromecastaudioIf you’ve got a nice, wired home audio setup and have been reluctant to spend money on adding streaming solutions like a $349 Sonos Connect or the $499 Connect Amp, Google is hoping you’ll be more tempted to try its $35 Chromecast Audio.

The new device appears to works pretty much the same as Chromecast does for TV. You plug it into the speaker or audio system, connect the Chromecast Audio wirelessly to your phone or tablet, then stream music.

Chromecast Audio will connect to three different kinds of audio input — RCA (the red and white plugs), the 3.5mm audio jack (usually labeled “aux.”), and optical.

The Audio supports the same music apps that currently work through Chromecast, including Spotify and Pandora. From inside those apps, users can just hit the “cast” button at the top of the screen to send their music to the connected speakers.

Google has also updated the Chromecast with a new design — it’s available in three colors and is no longer a “stick” but a disk with a more flexible HDMI connection coming out of it. The company believes this will make it easier to plug into TVs with already crowded backsides.

The new Chromecast, also $35, has three antennas inside and updated support for the latest WiFi standards. Google says this should cut down on playback disruptions.