How to stream music to your home speakers or TV
Pump the tunes wirelessly around your house – here’s how.
Whether you’re hosting a party, chilling out with a book, or setting the beat to get the household chores done in record time, music has a way of making everything better.
To get the most out of your music library while you’re at home, a connected speaker sound system allows you to play music in every room.
Even better – you can now do it without having to connect dozens of complicated, messy wires.
Bluetooth vs wi-fi speakers
Bluetooth used to be your only option for playing music wirelessly. This worked by syncing your speaker to the device that was playing music (usually your smart phone).
The drawback of Bluetooth is that your speaker needs to have a relatively un-blocked line of sight to your device in order to work.
If the device is your phone, and you’re moving around the house with it in your pocket, then you’re likely to get multiple drop-outs. Also, with Bluetooth the music will pause if the phone rings or you get a notification.
Bluetooth speakers are often portable and rechargeable, and can be very handy when you’re out and about. However if you’re at home, wireless speakers can be a better option.
These connect to your home wi-fi network rather than directly to a music player, and can still sometimes come in portable options.
Using wi-fi speaker technology also allows you to stream to several devices at once, all over the house and without interruption, as long as there is wi-fi signal wherever you place them.
Many argue that the quality is superior to Bluetooth and that the connection is more reliable.
More than a few wi-fi speakers also often have a Bluetooth component, in case you wanted to take them with you on a trip, or your wi-fi connection goes down.
The following are some of the ways you can stream music wirelessly at home:
If you’re an Android user as well as a music lover, Google Cast speakers will allow you to play music from your phone, tablet or laptop all around the house.
What you can play goes beyond your own library, as Google Cast speakers will stream Spotify, Pandora and even podcasts. Brands like Sony, LG and Philips all sell speakers that are wi-fi enabled and ready to sync with Android devices.
If you still have some old-school speakers that aren’t due for replacing, a small device called Chromecast Audio (not just ‘Chromecast’, that’s a video streaming device) will bring them into the 21st century.
This little disc plugs into the back of older speakers, as long as they have one of the supported ports, giving them the online connection that they need. Chromecast Audio costs around $59 per unit from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman or the Google Play Store.
That might sound like a lot if you need to buy one per speaker, but it’s still probably cheaper than replacing all your audio equipment with speakers that have wi-fi built in.
Apple TV has been around for a few years now, allowing you to connect your laptop, tablet or iPhone to your television. Using AirPlay, you are able to stream music from iTunes or Apple Music to play through the speakers on your TV.
There are also lots of options for AirPlay-connected speakers, with tech website CNET recommending brands such as Bowers & Wilkins, Logitech, and Philips.
Multi-room audio system Sonos has a range of options, from one speaker to a set of several. You can also purchase amplifiers, subwoofers and a device called a PlayBar designed to sit under your television.
Every speaker connects via wi-fi to to allow you to play music around the house.
Once you have the speakers set up, your smartphone, tablet or computer can act as the remote, letting you play thousands of hours of high quality music via iTunes or your music streaming subscription.
You can create playlists, change the volume remotely and move from room to room without missing a beat.
LG Music Flow, Samsung M7, Bose
Similar to Sonos, LG Music Flow speakers allow you to play music simultaneously throughout your home or office by connecting to wi-fi and then being operated by an app or web page.
Music Flow speakers are also compatible with Google Cast and wi-fi enabled Android smartphones and tablets. Once you have subscribed to a streaming service such as Spotify or Tidal, you will have millions of songs at your fingertips (or eardrums, as the case may be).
Samsung's and Bose’s offerings join quite a few others that enable you to buy one or more speakers and enjoy seamless sounds that literally can surround you. You can listen to the same song in every room or set up your speakers to play different tunes around the house.
While the functionality of wi-fi speakers is all very similar, the sound quality, size and the price can differ. Have a chat to your music store attendant about what suits your listening style and your budget, and don’t forget to read online reviews!
What to do with old speakers
If you already spent a pretty penny on a state-of-the-art speaker system and don’t feel ready to let it go, you still have options.
Don’t forget that a simple headphone jack can connect your smartphone or laptop to your speakers and give you better sound than the device can play all by itself.
As well as Google’s Chromecast Audio device, you can also try a Sonos Connect, which can be attached to your existing home sound system to give it wireless connectivity.
With so many options for wireless speakers, there never needs to be an unwanted quiet moment over at your place!
Streaming music wirelessly, either to your device via a streaming service, or to your home entertainment system over wi-fi or Bluetooth, is changing the way we enjoy our favourite tunes. Check out how music streaming is changing our lives, and maybe discover a new way to get a little added spring in your step.