Streaming online radios to a home audio system can be done in several ways. One option is to spend $250 on a Sonos system that streams music wirelessly over Wi-Fi, while the other option implies a Chromecast and a $10 adapter.
When Google launched Chromecast back in July, it opened the doors for new ways of streaming audio and video to TVs. Basically, what this little HDMI dongle did was make dumb TVs smarter. Mainly, it mirrored content from smartphones and tablets and thus allowed entire families to enjoy online music and videos on a much larger screen. Among the sources of the streamed content, there are Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and the Chrome browser. There is a tiny tiny problem, though. Listening to online radio requires turning on the TV, or it did require that until now. Janko Roettgers from GigaOM used a $10 HDMI to VGA adapter to turn Google’s dongle into a networked audio adapter.
The secret is to find an HDMI to VGA adapter that also has an audio port for 3.5mm jacks. It is known that the HDMI standard enables transport of audio and video over a single cable, hence the need for an audio port. After purchasing such an adapter, things get a lot easier. All you need to do is plug the Chromecast dongle and an audio cable into the adapter, and connect the VGA plug to a notebook or computer running the Chrome browser with the Chromecast plugin. Alternatively, you can connect to the Chromecast wirelessly from an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet or a notebook with the Google Chrome browser and Chromecast plugin.
Next, you need to find a compatible Internet radio app such as Pandora, Rdio, or Songza, and hit Play on the Chromecast icon. The best thing about all this is that you don’t need to keep a TV on to listen to online music. On top of that, you can switch off the device from which Chromecast is streaming music. It goes without saying that you can switch stations or jump to the next song, but this differs from one Internet radio app to the other. Overall, this is a nice hack that enables you to stream online music to your home stereo system with a minimum investment.