Simple Wi-Fi Streaming

The cheapest way to stream audio to your home stereo system is via Bluetooth, we covered that in our last article, but for some, Wi-Fi is far easier. Depending on your house setup, Wi-Fi can have a better range and allow for multiple devices to stream from the same source simultaneously. If you purchase a device that connects to Wi-Fi, it is also far more likely to allow streaming without your phone being connected the whole time, good for your phone’s battery life.

But if you’re looking to connect via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth you’re going to have to up your bidding price a bit. Devices like the Sonos Wireless Receiver cost upwards of $300, but they allow for audio connections via optical, and multiple analogue channels. When considering Wi-Fi streaming also realize that you are most likely going to have to make use of an app that connects to your purchase. Whereas most phones can output audio directly via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi audio connections do not work in the same manner.

Sonos Wireless Receiver
Sonos Wireless Receiver

A slightly cheaper alternative could be the Bose SoundTouch Wireless. It costs less than $200, and allows for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth control via their app. It also has an optical output, and supports streaming from services such as Pandora and Spotify.

Bose SoundTouch Wireless
Bose SoundTouch Wireless

If you happen to have a media player with an HDMI input, there are a number of Chromecast like devices for you to search from. Many of them are better used in conjunction with a TV display, but many can be used without one, especially when just streaming audio.

anycast
AnyCast

Google have both the conventional Chromecast, and an audio specific option which uses a 3.5mm port instead of HDMI (available from Google Store). There are many knockoffs available as well, for example the extremely cheap AnyCast. Amazon also sell their own version, the Fire TV Stick. You’ll require the AllCast app, but it lets you stream music to your Fire TV.

Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon Fire TV Stick

Although not its main purpose, the Apple AirPortExpress supports audio streaming via Wi-Fi, with a 3.5mm jack to plug into your speakers. For those locked into the Apple lifestyle, you may be interested in checking it out.

Sonos Wireless Receiver

Bose SoundTouch Wireless

Google Chrome-cast Audio

AnyCast

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Apple AirPort-Express

Riversong Audiocast

Cost

$$$$$

$$$$$

$$

$

$$$

$$$$

$$

Output

RCA, optical

3.5mm, RCA, optical

3.5mm

HDMI

HDMI

3.5mm

3.5mm

TV Preferred

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Devices

Android, iOS

Android, iOS

Android, iOS

Android, iOS

Android, iOS

iOS / OSx

Android, iOS

Power

Standard 2 prong

Standard 2 prong

Micro-USB

Micro-USB

Micro-USB

Standard 2 prong

Micro-USB

Automation Haus Verdict

If you’re price conscious, and don’t want to go for the Google variants, your best option is the Riversong Audiocast. Priced to compete with the Chromecast, it offers most of the same features, although perhaps not as integrated into Android systems. With their iOS and Android compatible app though, the device can handle multiple rooms at the same time, supports AirPlay, DLNA Play and QPlay. It’s all packaged into a neat puck, and powered from a standard microUSB port.

Riversong AudioCast
Riversong AudioCast