Chromecast for analog audio only

bearda

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I have two Apple Airport Express devices connected to my network to stream audio to speakers in my house. One's in the bathroom that my wife most uses when showering, and the other's in the kitchen I mostly use when cooking. I've recently switched from an iPhone to a Nexus 4 and have been trying to find a suitable replacement for the one in the kitchen since I can't find any way to use it from my Nexus 4. I'm thinking of replacing it with a headless (no display connected) Chromecast for audio streaming, but I'm not sure if it would work.

I hooked a Chromecast up to my TV last night and it seems like there really isn't any need to see the screen when playing music. It shows album art, but the volume control is still from the Android device and if your TV doesn't support CEC it has it's own independent volume control. It seems like there are more than a few devices out there that will split an analog audio signal off of an HDMI connection, like this guy:
Amazon.com: ViewHD HDMI to HDMI + Analog Audio Converter / Digital to Analog 3.5mm Stereo Audio Extractor: Electronics
HDMI Audio Decoder Converter Digital Audio Embedded HDMI to Analog Stereo Audio | eBay

In the initial ordering frenzy I put in two orders, one from Google and one from Amazon but ended up canceling the Amazon order (long story, Amazon had free shipping but Google's cancellation system sucks). I'm kind of regretting that if I can use this to replace one of the Apple devices. Does anybody know of a reason this wouldn't work (or has tried it and knows that it does work), or have any experience with these types of converters and can recommend a good one?
 
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bearda

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I'm looking to install a second Chromecast in another room with no TV connected, just audio hooked up to the speakers. I could run audio out from my TV, but then there would be a REALLY long cable, the TV would have to be on the whole time, and the speakers in my TV are better than the ones around the house anyway. I just want to use the Chromecast as an audio-only streamer.
 

vansmack

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Does your stereo support Digital Audio (via TOSLINK or Digital Coax)?

You could use this then:
Amazon.com: J-Tech Digital (Registered US Trademark) Premium Quality HDMI to HDMI + Audio (SPDIF + 3.5mm Stereo) Audio Extractor Converter: Electronics

I have two concerns, but they might not be the same as yours. The Chromecast is providing a digital audio signal, and you're downgrading it to analog with the converter you've chosen.

The problem, of course, is that the equivalent digital converter costs more than the Chromecast.

So if you're fine with the analog sound, then yes, your solution should work.
 

Liquidretro

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I just plugged my Chromecast into my Yamaha amp and it will stream audio to it and out my speakers independently of if the TV is on or off. Way better speakers than what the TV has.

My concern with using any splitters would be the HDCP handshake. My bet is the Chromecast is doing HDCP so that it can display netflix, google movies etc for copy protection.
 

bearda

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The speakers I'm using are pretty cheap, so toslink is out of the picture. Analog is the way to go for this setup

I thought of using Bluetooth (and still might), but I'm a bit concerned about the logistics. If I could find the right device it'd be fine, but I need something that could pair with multiple devices in the house and activate only on demand (not like my headphones or car, which seem to connect automatically as soon as they come on). The Chromecast also seems to do a bit better job of arbitration of multiple devices.

The Chromecast would definitely be overkill, but at the current price point it and a cheap analog adapter is not a lot much more than the Bluetooth receiver. I'm just trying to work out if there are any glaring reasons it wouldn't work.

The HDCP concern is a good point. If I can find another Chromecast I may give it a try anyway, it seems like they're pretty easy to unload right now.
 

Camme

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This is exactly the same solution I'm looking for. I would like to have speakers in (almost) all rooms and until now AirPlay was the only alternative. But to buy an AirportExpress for every room (or a speaker with built in AirPlay) would be quite expensive. So Chromecast with its price point would be a perfect solution, if it had analog out.

So the question is if a standard Chromeast dongle with an adapter (HDMI->analog out) is the solution, or if someone, somewhere (google?) will produce a dongle with analog audio out?
 

bearda

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Hmmm I just found this adapter. Pretty cheap.

I would be cautious about any adapter which isn't powered. I almost picked up a much cheaper adapter on eBay before I realized it was bus (HDMI) powered. I don't think the Chromecast is capable of putting out a significant amount of current out for external devices, if any. In the end I decided to play it safe (and go with an adapter that supported optical out for later use) and got the much more expensive J-Tech adapter, but it works flawlessly. I'd look for an adapter that at least has USB power in, though.
 

Camme

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I would be cautious about any adapter which isn't powered. I almost picked up a much cheaper adapter on eBay before I realized it was bus (HDMI) powered. I don't think the Chromecast is capable of putting out a significant amount of current out for external devices, if any. In the end I decided to play it safe (and go with an adapter that supported optical out for later use) and got the much more expensive J-Tech adapter, but it works flawlessly. I'd look for an adapter that at least has USB power in, though.

Ah thanks, didnt think of that.
 

bearda

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I'll try running video through it tonight and seeing if I get the audio or now, but playing content from Google Play Music I had no HDCP handshake issues. It could be that the adapter I'm using is doing the handshake itself, though. That would kind of defeat the point, though.
 

Craig King

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I have to second the suggestion of the Bluetooth music gateway.

They are easy setup, and to use. You either connect automaticaly when you turn on bluetooth with your portable device, or you just select the gateway from the bluetooth menu on the device. Very simple and reliable. Work from anything that outputs from bluetooth.

You could go as high end as a jawbone portable speaker setup, or as simple as a blackberry music gateway/ HTC Media Link.

I think you can find them for about the same price as the Chromecast or cheaper.

Nothing wrong with using the chromecast i just don't think it is really what you are looking for. I have used the HTC Media link and ti was flawless for sending audio out to a analog audio device.
 

frank_cars

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The advantage of Chromecast is you can;

A. Control the music from any device, from anywhere in the house (Bluetooth is about 20ft max)
B. Chromecast is controlled from the device but actually streams music and video directly from the cloud, thus freeing your device for ANYthing else. Bluetooth is typically using the device to do the streaming and then sending the audio to the amp

All in all, Chromecast is a very intelligent solution, especially if you have a whole house / zone 2 music and want to listen even from outside / by the pool etc., Bluetooth is pretty 19th century :)
 

Craig King

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A. What good is controlling what music is streamed to a device across the house if you can't even hear it.
B. That was exactly the reason I suggested bluetooth. The way the OP talked he wanted everything to be local and the ability to control something from a distance is actually a insignificant advantage

I would agree if we were talking about a whole house audio solution, but that isn't how this was proposed. It was simply to provide a way to stream music to a set of basic spearkers in two completely separate locations in a home. On top of that it sounded as they they should function independently.
 

Craig Herberg

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I have tried the Chromecast into a Monoprice HDMI Switcher, with the audio split into a digital coax feeding into a digital to analog converter. No sound. Since the switcher also has an analog audio out, I tried that as well. Still, no sound. This setup works flawlessly with an Xbox 360, so I know it's not my switcher. Video is fine. The same Chromecast works plugged directly into a TV in another room.
 

Devlyn16

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I have tried the Chromecast into a Monoprice HDMI Switcher, with the audio split into a digital coax feeding into a digital to analog converter. No sound. Since the switcher also has an analog audio out, I tried that as well. Still, no sound. This setup works flawlessly with an Xbox 360, so I know it's not my switcher. Video is fine. The same Chromecast works plugged directly into a TV in another room.


When comapring a device that works with one that does not, they need to be compliant with the same HDMI version. Chromecast is HDMI 1.4 compliant.An XBOX 360 is HDMI 1.2 complant. So you are comparing apples and oranges.

Are you sure the HDMI switch is HDMI 1.4 compliant?
 

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