Smart speakers the likely cause of Chromecast Audio’s untimely demise

Chromecast Audio
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Dear friends, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of a beloved gadget: Chromecast Audio. Yes, Google has decided to end production of the handy little dongle and is throwing its own line of smart speakers — and the entire category in fact — under the bus as the reason for the decision. The news first appeared on Reddit as a rumor, but a Google spokesperson confirmed it to Digital Trends:

Our product portfolio continues to evolve, and now we have a variety of products for users to enjoy audio. We have therefore stopped manufacturing our Chromecast Audio products. We will continue to offer assistance for Chromecast Audio devices, so users can continue to enjoy their music, podcasts and more.

In recent months, there has been an explosion of ways that people can transmit their favorite tunes from their phones and tablets, wirelessly to a speaker. From whole home audio systems like Sonos to the inexpensive Bluetooth speakers on Amazon, the number of situations that actually require a device like the Chromecast Audio is probably dwindling. We can only think that sales of the device must have been really slow for Google to discontinue making it.

Nonetheless, for people with non-WiFi, or non-Bluetooth speakers and hi-fi systems, the Chromecast Audio stood out as an incredibly effective — not to mention affordable — option for listening to both local and streaming digital tracks. When we reviewed it, we loved how easy it was to use, the fact that it could handle multi-room audio, and of course, its price. For Android users especially, it was very handy, and tons of companies built support for casting into their apps to take advantage of it. Even iOS users, who already enjoyed AirPlay support on a variety of audio products, jumped on the Chromecast Audio train for its supreme convenience.

Those days are now gone. We would like to say it’s a great time to pick up a Chromecast Audio for cheap, but that might be very hard to do. BestBuy, Walmart, and Target — the three main retailers that carried it — are all showing zero stock on their sites, as is Google’s Chromecast Store. Google’s Canadian online store still has it — though at the regular price of $45 CAD — while BestBuy in Canada has it on sale for $20 CAD.

Movies & TV

The show cost how much?! The priciest original series on Netflix

Netflix has spent big bucks on original series, which might be part of the reason why its subscription pricing is going up. Here's a look at some of the priciest series from the streaming service.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Deals

Amazon knocks $50 off the Sonos Beam soundbar and smart speaker

If you're looking to add some oomph to your home audio setup, then through February 3, the Alexa-enabled Sonos Beam is on sale for $50 off, bringing this excellent sound bar down to just $349 on Amazon.
Home Theater

Dolby’s secret recording studio app may soon exit stealth mode

In secret testing since June, Dolby's stealth recording and social network app may soon be ready to make an appearance. Dolby 234 blends unique noise-canceling tech with Instagram-like audio filters.
Deals

Need a smart speaker? Amazon knocks $50 off Sonos Beam soundbar with Alexa

If you're looking to add some oomph to your home audio setup, then through February 3, the Alexa-enabled Sonos Beam is on sale for $50 off, bringing this excellent smart sound bar down to just $349 on Amazon.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Home Theater

Ikea’s Symfonisk Sonos speaker coming in August, priced to “reach many people”

If details in a newly released video are true, we could be looking at Ikea's new Symfonisk speaker collaboration with Sonos to be in stores as soon as August. And the price? Within reach of "many people."
Deals

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for January 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

Spotify adds artist-blocking feature, despite its denials

Though it continues to claim you can't do it, there is plenty of evidence that Spotify added an artist-blocking feature to its platform, making it easy for users to never hear a specific musician or band.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on Hulu and what’s leaving in February 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for February 2019, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming…
Deals

Save up to $100 on the Sonos Beam, Sub, and Playbar before game day

With the big game less than two weeks off, now is the perfect time to upgrade your home theater. Whether you're hosting a party or kicking back by yourself, Sonos is offering nice deals right now on a few of its top-rated audio devices…
Features

Netflix’s rate hike is a good thing. Wait, wait, hear us out

Upset at Netflix for raising its rates? We don't blame you. Nobody likes to pay more for anything -- even if they love that thing. But you really should be thanking the streaming entertainment giant. The hike in prices is a necessary and…
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.