Remember back a few years when the idea of a Chromecast was new? Remember how great it was when one of the apps you really liked finally got around to adding support for it? I do. I remember thinking how much simpler and cleaner this way of watching digital content on the TV was compared to what was currently available.
Fast forward and it feels like almost everything is ready to cast out of the box.
From streaming services to cable TV apps to embedded video players on random websites: most things can be cast to a Chromecast these days. And Google is even working on a fix for the stuff that has stubbornly not added the support via tab casting in Chrome.
TV’s and receivers are showing up left and right with Chromecast built in as well, but this really just the final stages of Chromecast growth. With a television’s inherent “stay put” nature, having a connected dongle isn’t really a thing many people worry about. Having it built right into the TV is great, but definitely not a barrier to growth.
It is safe to say Chromecast has arrived.
Chromecast Audio, however, is still in the maturation phases. Being launched about a year and a half ago (October 2015), adoption has been a bit less aggressive up front for an industry dominated by Bluetooth speakers.
Bluetooth has its advantages, for sure. Mobility is the biggest one. I can’t have Chromecast Audio headphones out on a walk, for instance, because there would be no solid wifi connection. Until that changes, Chromecast Audio is relegated to the home and office.
However, in the home and office settings, Chromecast Audio is far superior. From sound quality to ease of control, multi-speaker setup, and simplified connections, using Chromecast Audio has been a treat for me personally.
Speaker Makers Are Getting On Board
We are finally coming to a time when speaker manufacturers, for both wireless and wired units, are seeing the worth and ease of including Chromecast Audio abilities.
Just take a look at Google’s Chromecast Audio site: there are tons of speakers already leveraging Chromecast Audio and many more coming. We’ll have the latest speaker from Jensen in the house to look at very soon. The number of speakers being built with Chromecast built-in is growing very rapidly.
Because speakers can tend to be more portable that TVs, this growth segment is very important for Chromecast Audio. As I said above, I can plug a Chromecast into my TV and not think about it again since I don’t move my TV or take it to anyone else’s home.
Speakers tend to travel, though. I own two wireless speakers that live at my home and at the office. And, up until recently, I just used Bluetooth with them. But, with Sony’s new line of Chromecast speakers, I can keep the same portability and have all the benefits of Chromecast Audio as well.
That’s why growth in the hardware segment is so much more important for Chromecast Audio than the standard Chromecast. I listen to music via Google Play Music or Spotify. That’s it. There aren’t that many software hurdles for Chromecast Audio for me, and I’d bet that is true for many users.
Chromecast had many more software barriers to clear, and it has done so. Chromecast Audio has needed speakers with its services built-in so that the ecosystem could grow. It looks like that time is here. With the sheer number of devices showing up with Chromecast Audio, I think it is safe to say that it has arrived. Perhaps not as fully as Chromecast, but it is coming.
I think there is a future where most, if not all wireless speakers not only come with the familiar Bluetooth mode but with a networked Chromecast Audio mode as well. Time will tell, but I think the future of Chromecast Audio is very, very bright.