Chromecast was first introduced as a video streaming device in July of 2013 with an MSRP of $35. In September of 2015 Chromecast introduced an audio only streaming device called the Chromecast Audio.
Today we are discussing Chromecast audio alternatives because some of you are looking to add streaming capabilities to your favorite devices but for whatever reason Chromecast is not the streamer you need.
These audio streamers do just what the Chromecast Audio does. They grab your WIFI signal from your router and send it to your device. Most likely a 3.5mm audio input plug is used to deliver the audio content to your equipment. If your equipment does not have a 3.5mm plug an adapter plug 3.5mm to RCA plug is usually shipped with it. These WIFI audio streamers will hook up to anything such as self powered speakers, receivers soundbars etc.
We found the following 4 choices to be the best Chromecast audio alternatives:
This will connect old speakers to the net wirelessly using WIFI. Save your old favorite speakers. Now you can enjoy a plethora of web enabled music at the touch of a screen without having to buy new speakers. This will also connect using bluetooth if you wish to use it that way. Setup is easy. Transforming your home theater or stereo system has never been easier. Just add the SoundTouch® Wireless Link adapter and stream music from your home Wi-Fi® or favorite Bluetooth® devices. Download the SoundTouch® app to easily control your music through your phone or tablet. You can even play music all throughout your home by expanding with other SoundTouch® adapters. These streamin audio adapters work in tandem or separately so you can play the same music in every room, or different music in different rooms.
Whole home audio wireless very similar to chromecast but it supports airplay and some things that chromecast does not. It also supports everything chromecast can support. The app for the Audiocast is similar to Sonos. You can tell it to play through the app and not your phone but your speaker needs to have voice recognition. You can turn your phone off and it will still play. You can buy multiple units and sync them all together. There is an app available for it which is called the Audiocast app. You can acces such content as iHeart radio, Pandora, Spotify, Internet Radio, QQ Music, TIDAL – High Fidelity Music Streaming, Your music library, Tune-in, Napster and vTuner. This device uses WI-Fi which has a better sound quality as compared to bluetooth. This device grabs the content directly from the web. It doesn’t grab it from your phone. You can initialize the request for example to play spotify but you can turn your spotify off or your phone completely off and it will continue playing. When adding devices you access the app. It will go through the steps you need to follow for adding devices. You can plug this in to any speaker that accepts 3.5mm plugs.
The desire to enable existing speakers to multi room is recognized by manufacturers. This is apparent with yet another offering by MUZO the cobblestone WIFI Audio Receiver. This also syncs with multiple sets. It plays DLNA, Pandora, Spotify, Tune-in, iHeart Radio, Tidal and many other stations. AirPlay multi-room also supported. This is compatible with Android or IOS with a free app called MUZO player or 4STREAM. The setup is fairly easy. You connect it to your router first to give it access to the net then to your speaker, amplifier or receiver. Use your phone or tablet to configure it to your WIFI network using the app and start streaming your favorite music. You can switch from the app to do other tasks and the music will continue playing. It has integrated music controls directly on the unit such as play, pause, fast forward and reverse. This device like most all WIFI streamers can be connected to others to play the same music in every room, or different music in different rooms The Cobblestone is packaged with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm plug, an RCA to 3.5mm plug, a power supply, Literature and one Cobblestone unit. The back of the unit you have the WPS button, a direct ethernet port, a 3.5mm audio out and a micro usb power port.
Like the rest of these Chromecast audio alternatives the August WR320 does the same. like the name suggests it takes your content from your WIFI router and feeds it to your speakers. Instead of putting your old speakers ao the shelf never to be used again you have the capability to convert them to the latest technology. If you prefer bluetooth the WR320 has you covered also. This is compatible with Android or Apple. Connect multiple speakers in multiple rooms. Play the same music in all the rooms or separate music in each room. This too connects via a 3.5mm audio plug or optical cable.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K offers great value for money, plus a few extras! As the name suggests, the Fire TV Stick 4K, streams TV and movies in 4K. Besides supporting Ultra HD, it’s 80% more powerful than the previous version and also supports HDR, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as Dolby Atmos surround sound.
We love that it also comes with the all-new Alexa Voice Remote. It still has the menu and playback controls, but they have now added power and volume buttons. You will find all the standard features on this streaming stick plus access to Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and all the usual suspects.
Great value for money
Impressive performance and responses are super-fast!
Alexa Voice Remote
Google Play apps aren’t available
The remote features are basic
No Ethernet adapter
Roku Steaming Stick+
The Roku Streaming Stick+ is another impressive alternative. It supports HD, 4K and HDR to your TV and also comes with a voice search remote control. We particularly like the easy to navigate interface and you won’t be spoiled for choice when it comes to the Roku Channel Store! There are over 900 apps listed under their Film & TV category alone!
We are disappointed with the casting as it isn’t as simple as Chromecast but with all the other features, we can definitely live with that.
Value for money
Great performance and powerful WiFi
Huge content selection
There is no headphone jack in the remote
Casting is more complicated than Chromecast
No Dolby Vision or HDR 10+
Apple TV 4K
If you’re an Apple fan, then this one is for you. Although having said that, if you own the predecessor there really is no reason to rush out and upgrade. When it comes to navigating through the menus and Siri voice search, the tvOS software experience is pretty much the same.
Apple TV 4K allows you to stream in 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision and is available in both 32GB and 64GB. On the downside, there is no expandable storage. But as with all Apple products the support is always top of the range, and you have access to all the favorite apps and obviously Apple TV+.
Wide range of apps and great support
High quality picture and sound
Expensive relative to its competition
HDMI cable isn’t included
Nvidia Shield TV
If you’re looking for incredible video quality, then the Nvidia Shield TV is the one you want. It supports 4K UHD, Atmos and Dolby Vision but what sets it apart is its use of AI. When it comes to picture quality, you will battle to beat it.
Nvidia Shield TV provides access to Google apps and services but it’s their gaming that sets it apart. It has everything from Bluetooth accessories to remappable buttons and intelligent backlighting on its remote. The only negative is when it comes to storage – there is only 8GB, so you will probably need to use the microSD slot but away from that it’s a winner!
Incredible picture quality with AI upscaling
Built-in Chromecast support
Expensive relative to competition
Only has 8GB of storage
HDMI cable isn’t included
Amazon Fire TV Cube
This is all about Alexa! But let’s get the standard stuff out of the way first – it supports 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos. The Amazon Fire TV cube take’s Alexa functionality to another level. With eight microphones, asking Alexa to adjust the volume or mute your TV or soundbar, or to change the channel on your cable box has never been easier!! It will even pick up voice commands while your video or music is playing.
Always-on Alexa experience
Controls your TV and all connect devices
Support for 4K, HDR, and Dolby ATMOS Audio
HDMI cable is not included
No Dolby Vision
Samsung AllShare Cast
If you’re looking for a standard streaming device and don’t mind that its only compatible with Samsung products, then you may want to consider the Samsung AllShare Cast. However, it does seem a little pricy considering what you are getting.
Easy to use
Only compatible with Samsung devices
Xiaomi Mi Box S
The Xiaomi Mi Box S supports 4K HDR streaming and at 1080p it runs smoothly but if you’re looking at streaming anything above that, you’re bound to pick up a lag. The built in Chromecast is a great feature, giving you more control over screen-sharing and Google Assistance.
The remote control has a dedicated Netflix, Live TV and microphone button. The microphone button is a great addition allowing you to use Google Assistant voice controls to launch your pick of movies or TV shows.
Value for money
Seamless Google Assistant integration
Performance lags above 1080p