Multi-Room Audio Comes to Chromecast Video, Google Home, and Smart Display Devices

Posted on November 20, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Google Play Music, Smart Home with 5 Comments

Google’s Chromecast Audio devices have long supported multi-room audio, but the firm has finally added this capability to its video-based Chromecast, Google Home, and Smart Display devices too.

I’ve seen multiple reports about this addition in recent days, and I was initially a bit confused as I’ve been using Chromecast’s multi-room audio functionality for years. In fact, this just came up last week in the latest edition of Ask Paul.

“Right now, we have three main sets of speakers that I would consider ‘whole house audio’ (though they are all on the ground floor),” I wrote in that article. “The idea here is we’re having people over and we want music everywhere. Those speakers are in our sunroom, my home office, and in the living room. Each is different, but each is connected to a Chromecast Audio.”

But it turns out that many of the headlines were simply misleading. This is indeed new functionality. And today, I can add many more device types to my multi-room audio group, which is configured in the Google Home app (and is called “Thurrott All” for obvious reasons).

To test this, I added the Chromecast Ultra in the living room, which is connected to our TV, and the Google Home and Lenovo Smart Display in our kitchen. So when I cast Google Play Music to the Thurrott All group, it played via six different speakers (and/or speaker sets). Nice.

I’ve never quite understood why some Google/Chromecast-compatible devices were unable to connect to these groups. But there are still some odd limitations to this system that I’d like to see addressed. You cannot create Google Home speaker pairs, for example (unless you have Google Home Max). And as I noted in my Lenovo Smart Display Review, you can’t cast an Android display to that type of device. For some reason.

Still, a nice addition.


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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Multi-Room Audio Comes to Chromecast Video, Google Home, and Smart Display Devices”

  1. emanon2121

    Amazon Devices with video can not join audio groups. I hate it.

  2. gregsedwards

    Paul, your commitment to Def Leppard is commendable (FWIW, I'm also a super fan from way back).

  3. locus123

    Tangentially related: I wish Google, or someone, made a receiver with 10x Chromecasts built in so those with older "whole home" speaker setups could just plug in the speakers and build their audio groups from there.

  4. swarnock

    I never thought anyone would be able to beat Amazon in this area. I am starting to feel Amazon is starting to get two steps behind as the gap has closed.  But who am I foolin they are still the market leader but with more and more updates like this Google is becoming more compelling all the time.  

    Do I have to buy into multiple eco-systems? (i.e., Google for whole house audio, and Amazon or others for security, etc)?  I am genuinely getting confused on what to do. What bugs me is still a lack of standard in the smart home space. It's something consumers should demand. I truly dislike being left high n dry if I "picked" the wrong one at the start.  

    The photograph is just another example that got me thinking that I may have to armageddon it with Amazon and move over to Google's version of the smart home.  

  5. Jeffsters

    And nobody cares.