Chromecast vs Chromecast Audio: Which one you should to buy?

Recognize the difference between Chromecast and Chromecast Audio so that you can know which device is for you.

Chromecast VS Chromecast Audio 2017
Chromecast VS Chromecast Audio

When the 2nd generation of Chromecast was announced, two Chromecast items had been announced: Chromecast (Chromecast 2015) and Chromecast Audio.

Even though it sounds basic, it is really not so simple for a lot of potential purchasers, specially, for these who are new to Chromecast, to determine which Chromecast is for them.

This web page will show you the main variations between Chromecast vs Chromecast Audio so that you can make a correct selection.

Chromecast vs Chromecast Audio: HDMI output (audio and video) vs audio cable output only

The significant difference among Chromecast VS Chromecast Audio is the output interface and output signal.

Chromecast has an HDMI output interface. You can connect Chromecast to the HDMI port in the Tv or AV receiver.

Chromecast will output both audio and video to the connected devices.

As a comparison, Chromecast Audio can only output audio by means of  one of the three audio cables (depending on your speaker input possibilities):

  • 3.5mm stereo cable (which is included in your Chromecast Audio box) for analog output.
  • 3.5mm to RCA cable for analog output. It should be extremely low-cost and you almost certainly can uncover it in your old DVD box.
  • Mini TOSLINK to TOSLINK optical cable for digital output. It should cost you around $10 to get one.

Please note, Chromecast Audio only has one three.5mm output port, into which you can insert the 3.5mm end of any of the three cables pointed out above.

You should choose the cable based on your speaker or AV receiver. Usually speaking, digital optical output provides the best audio quality.

So, if your speaker has the TOSLINK input, it is sensible to devote $ten to get a Mini TOSLINK to TOSLINK optical cable.

Chromecast vs Chromecast Audio: for your Television vs for your speaker

For some customers, you may have a AV receiver which accepts both HDMI and audio input (usually digital).  You can connect each Chromecast and Chromecast Audio to it.

But you require know, Chromecast Audio only output audio, there is no video output at all.

Basically, Chromecast Audio is for your speakers only. Chromecast is mainly for your TV.

It is possible to use Chromecast for your speakers as well if

  • the speaker supports HDMI input. This is not common.
  • or the speaker is connected to an AV receiver, which connects to Chromecast.

Chromecast vs Chromecast Audio: does Chromecast Audio provides much better audio high quality?

As described,  Chromecast can also be utilised to stream music if you connect Chromecast to an AV receiver or to an HDMI port in the speaker.

Then, some users may possibly wonder about the audio good quality.

Chromecast does not have a DAC (digital-to-analog converter). This implies the audio quality from Chromecast depends on the device connected to Chromecast, not Chromecast

For Chromecast Audio, it has its own DAC, which will be used  if you use 3.5mm audio cable or RCA cable (i.e., you use the analog output). Of course, if you use TOSLINK, audio quality is up to the DAC in your AV receiver.

The DAC in Chromecast is a AKM AK4430 192kHz 24-bit stereo DAC according to  iFixit’s teardown.  The sound quality should be comparable to most AV receivers with a price tag about $200-$500.

So, in most cases, Chromecast Audio is not the bottleneck of audio good quality.

But it is challenging to say regardless of whether Chromecast Audio delivers far better audio good quality than Chromecast, due to the fact Chromecast does not have its personal DAC and the audio quality depends on the device connected.

Please note, audio top quality is mainly limited by the music (media) source, and your speakers. Chromecast and Chromecast Audio is unlikely a bottleneck for the audio high quality for most customers.

Chromecast vs Chromecast Audio: differences inside

Except the output possibilities, the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio share similar hardware specs. They are becoming sold at the identical price tag ($35).

In the technical side, there are two differences inside Chromecast and Chromecast Audio:

  1. Chromecast has 4GB RAM, while Chromecast Audio has 2GB. As Chromecast Audio does not method videos, the 2GB RAM is enough.
  2. Chromecast Audio has a 192kHz 24-bit stereo DAC. Chromecast does not have a DAC. DAC is not needed for an HDMI output.

So, the distinction of Chromecast vs Chromecast Audio is linked to the different intended usage.

Why Google didn’t combine Chromecast and Chromecast Audio into 1 device?

It sound logic that if Google adds a DAC in Chromecast and drill another hole for audio output would make one combined device of Chromecast and Chromecast Audio. Users will not have a challenging time to make a decision which 1 to get.

But I guess it is wise to release two items, because A lot of Chromecast owners would get confused and make mistakes if Google has combined Chromecast and Chromecast audio.

Remember Chromecast is targeted at mass market, not just geeks. If you have a device with two mutually exclusive outputs, a lot of shoppers will be confused. With two products with diverse output cables, ALL Chromecast device owners know exactly where to plug Chromecast.

Expense is almost certainly an additional consideration. Chromecast is targeted at $35 (you have to think about sales price) in the industry so that it is really affordable in virtually all regions. Current hardware configuration almost certainly is the limit unless Google does not want to make any funds on the product.

Do you have any queries on the differences of Chromecast vs Chromecast Audio?

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