You can actually stream just audio to any device connected through Chromecast. I use Pandora, Google Music, Plex, etc. to stream music to devices with HDMI ports. However the Google ecosystem lacks features that allow me to stream audio to networked devices without using Chromecast.\nThat is going to change.\nGoogle has announced something called Google Cast for Audio. Unlike Chromecast it doesn\u2019t need dedicated hardware for streaming. The technology will be built right into the hardware such as soundbars, speakers, and receivers. Just like Apple\u2019s AirPlay.\nAnd Google Cast for Audio will work just like AirPlay or Chromecast. There will be a \u2018Cast\u2019 button on compatible apps and clicking on that button will start pouring the music through the supported device.\nGoogle has partnered with three leading hardware companies -- Denon, Sony, and LG -- to bring the technology to their hardware. I assume the list of partners will grow with time.\nI have networked A\/V receivers from Sony and Denon. The latter one has AirPlay built in and I have often wished there were an easy way to stream music from non-Apple devices. I learned that Denon will be using the Broadcom audio platform, which is built on top of StrataGX processor and Wi-Fi\/Bluetooth combo, to offer a high-end solution.\nComparison with AirPlay?\nThere is a big difference between the two approaches. With Apple\u2019s AirPlay I can send any data to my receiver, whether it's online or local. There is a ton of of purchased music sitting on my hard drive and I can stream any of that music to my Denon A\/V system without it ever leaving my local network.\nGoogle Cast is different: It\u2019s all, and only, about cloud. My Chromecast pulls content directly from the web. Unlike AirPlay, it will not play any local content. This has been the biggest criticism of Cast from the very beginning. And things won\u2019t be different with Cast for Audio.\nThat\u2019s where the problem starts.\nLet me share an anecdote. We had our wedding anniversary party at a community center. We were planning to bring my whole Denon setup for entertainment. I bought a lot of tracks from Amazon (because I was able to download and save them locally). I was planning on using the ChromeCast, so could control the music remotely with the audio system locked inside a cabinet. The first problem I encountered was the LTE was very poor in that area and there was no WiFi in the Center. There was no way I could use content from my Google Play. So what to do? How to manage entertainment? Chromecast left me high and dry.\nAirPlay came to the rescue. I brought my WiFi router, created a local network and connected the Denon and MacBook to it. I used apps for Denon and Retune to control the music system and manage the playlist from my Android phone.\nI wish I had been able to do that with Chromecast.\nI have a similar set-up at home where I have terabytes of purchased music and movies sitting on my NAS drives. I can\u2019t play any of that data using Chromecast. The only way is to put that huge amount of data in the cloud, which is out of the question.\nDevelopers have been trying hard to add the capability of playing local content but the experience is not optimal. Google could have done it easily with a few lines of code.\nThe problem is that Google doesn't much care about what we do offline.\nGoogle wants us to move everything to the cloud. They are the world\u2019s biggest ad agency: that\u2019s their primary product. They want us to do more things online, and that\u2019s fine. But\u2026 but, it doesn't hurt to give the capability of playing local content for those of us who want best of both worlds.\nSo in my experience, due to offline capability, Apple's AirPlay actually works better between my iPad, MacBook and Denon A\/V system than Chrome Cast when it comes to music playback. But AirPlay isn't perfect either. The biggest annoyance is that it is tightly locked to the Apple ecosystem, which makes its totally useless on non-Apple devices.\nGoogle Cast is an excellent, and much more open solution. Google could flip the switch and Google Cast would become the de facto entertainment solution -- if Google makes the playback of local content a built-in feature.\nWill Google do that? I don\u2019t know, but I wish they would!