If you’re listening to music from your phone while you’re out in the car, or while you’re commuting home on the train or bus, it makes sense that you should share it with everyone in your house once you get there. With that as our criteria, we’ve built a short list of five of our favourite Android apps that take streaming music, radio and audio out from your earphones and pipe it into the real world through your house’s wireless speakers and your TV.
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If you’re looking to control your music from your phone, but have it broadcast to your entire house, then you have a huge range of possibilities for your choice of wireless music system. One of the longest-lived and most diverse systems is Sonos, which has an excellent Android act that acts as a hub for your many different music streaming services. We’ve chosen it because you can start with one small Sonos Play:1 speaker and expand your multi-room setup to even include a set of Play:5 speakers in stereo mode or a Playbar soundbar and Sub.
Spotify is the music streaming service of choice for the majority of Australians, and the Android app has only become better in the four years that the service has been available. You can throw Spotify to your various smart home devices using the Google Chromecast protocol, or you can connect it directly to wireless speakers that support the Spotify Connect service. Best of all, if you don’t want to pay for the premium subscription — useful if you want to share your account — then there’s a free, ad-supported tier available as well.
iHeartRadio connects you to any of hundreds of different internet radio stations — including all of your favourite local and regional Australian radio stations — live. It also works as a convenient hub for your radio show podcasts, so you can catch up later, and you can build your own bespoke radio stations based on your favourite music artists and tracks. With its support for Google Chromecast, you can just connect it to your compatible TV or wireless speaker and do away with the need for an old-fashioned radio inside your home.
Google Play Music / Chromecast
If you have a relatively recent television or wireless music system, chances are you’ll be able to share audio from your smartphone with these devices wirelessly whenever you’re on the same Wi-Fi network. Everything — including a big list of compatible apps — runs through the Google Chromecast app. Google Play Music, for example, has integration with Chromecast that is just about the best possible, and there are compatible apps for smart TVs too that include album art to give your music a little more life and colour.
If This Then That (IFTTT)
This is one that you might not have thought about in the past. We all already use Wi-Fi and GPS on our phones all the time, but the number of apps that take advantage of geofencing and location-aware services is small at best. Using an If This Then That recipe, you could use any one of your music streaming apps, and using a series of triggers — like GPS location, or connecting your phone to your home Wi-Fi — to begin playing music on your multi-room home sound system, or even just from your phone to a single Bluetooth speaker in range.