Want to stream internet radio to your home stereo system? You could invest in a Sonos system for $250 or more. Or as GigaOm’s Janko Roettgers discovered, you could spend about $45 and stream online audio to your existing stereo system.
Here’s how it works. The Chromecast is designed to plug into the HDMI port on a TV and let you stream internet media to a big screen while using your phone, tablet, or PC as a remote control.
But if you use an HDMI to VGA adapter that also has an audio output, you can plug the audio cable straight into the input on a speaker or home stereo system. This lets you stream audio to you high-quality speakers without turning on your TV.
All you need to do is fire up your Android or iOS phone or tablet or a PC with the Google Chrome browser and Chromecast plugin, choose a supported app such as Pandora, Rdio, or Songza, hit the Chromecast icon, and tap play.
The Chromecast will grab your audio straight from the internet and stream it to your speaker. You can pause the music or switch tracks or apps using your mobile device. But you can also turn it off and let the music keep playing. Not bad for $45.
Of course, you don’t get some of the features that really make a Sonos (or Beep) cool, such as the ability to stream audio simultaneously to multiple speakers throughout your house, or pick up where you left off in a different room. And the audio quality might not be stellar. But it’s yet another way to make use of Google’s inexpensive media streamer. It’s just too bad Google didn’t include a separate audio output in the device itself.