The lack of Chromecast support on Sonos speakers in 2020 is infuriating

Sonos One
Sonos One (Image credit: Android Central)

I bought a lot of tech in 2019, but looking back on the year, one of the things that stands out the most to me is that it's the year I finally purchased Sonos speakers. I started with a Beam (opens in new tab) for my apartment's living room, and I also have two Ones (opens in new tab) on the desk in my office.

It's been a blast finally having Sonos sprinkled throughout my home, and between the incredible audio quality and fantastic user experience, I haven't regretted getting the speakers one bit.

Unfortunately, it's not all sunshine and rainbows.

There will never be any such thing as a perfect gadget. There's always going to be some sort of flaw, missed feature, or a design choice not everyone is a fan of. I get that, I really do. However, the lack of Chromecast support on any of Sonos's speakers is downright baffling and something that's starting to get on my nerves.

Especially with the Sonos One and Sonos Beam, these speakers are so great because they don't restrict you in the way you can listen to your music/podcasts. Alexa support was offered from Day One, allowing you to talk to the digital helper to stream your favorite music and add Sonos speakers to groups with your other Alexa-enabled devices. AirPlay 2 is a big win for iPhone users that want to send their phone audio to their Sonos, and with Google Assistant support that was finally added in 2019, you can also use it for voice commands to get content playing.

Sonos Beam

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

On top of all that, you can always fall back on the Sonos app to find virtually endless music and podcast providers to stream from. Overall, it's a fantastic setup and one that's unmatched.

With Sonos being so open to these different assistants and standards, it's hard not to get frustrated by the lack of Chromecast support. Casting technology has been around since 2013 when the first Chromecast was introduced, and it's the go-to method for streaming content from an Android phone to a speaker or display.

Sonos works with just about everything else, so why is Chromecast still absent?

Casting works with just about everything. You can cast a YouTube video to a smart display, your Spotify playlist to a Google Home, and even your Oculus Quest gameplay to a TV. I'd wager to say that the act of casting content from one device to another has been engraved in a lot of our brains, so it's jarring to come across something that doesn't support it here in 2020.

I had high hopes that Chromecast support would be added to the Sonos One and Beam when Assistant integration was added, but that never happened. Yes, you can talk to the Assistant on these speakers just like you would a Google Home, but it's impossible to add them to a Google Home speaker group or cast anything to them.

The lack of casting on Sonos speakers isn't something I used to think about, but since I started using YouTube Music as my music streaming service, that's when it started to stick out.

Sonos One

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Back when I used Spotify, I'd send music to the Sonos Ones from my Android phone using Spotify Connect — one of the most ingenious inventions of recent years. With YouTube Music, there is no easy way to send songs from the YouTube Music app (or any other streaming app for that matter) to Sonos speakers. Sure, I can use the YouTube Music integration in the Sonos app, but it's a considerably worse UI compared to the actual YouTube Music one.

As such, I've resorted to starting YouTube Music on either my iPhone or iMac and using AirPlay to send the music over. It works fine for my workflow since I do have a few Apple devices, but if I had just an Android phone and a Windows computer, it'd be a very different story.

When you see things that way, Sonos speakers become a lot less open and care-free than you might be led to believe. Listen to a lot of music but don't have Spotify? You better hope you have an iPhone so you can use AirPlay, otherwise you'll need to rely on the Sonos app or talking to a digital assistant. As someone that greatly prefers managing music from the dedicated app that was made for it, that's not an ideal experience.

This whole situation is nothing new, but now that Spotify is out of my life, it's become very apparent to me how much of a damper this puts on anyone who uses a different streaming service and has an Android phone. It's a combination that doesn't play well with Sonos, and I'd love to see that change sooner rather than later.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • I'd buy more Sonos speakers if they did. I've currently got a beam with 2 Play:1s as surround satellites, and that's fine because I can send things to my TVs chromecast. But having a Sonos setup has shown me that it simply can't play everything I'd want without the chromecast, so I haven't bought more speakers.
  • I've bought a Chromecast Audio. I believe the Beam has an AUX port (haven't yet, but soon to buy) so i'll use that to add it to by speaker group. Stuck when it comes to the ONES though. Massive oversight. Is being able to Chromecast something that can be added via a firmware update? Or is it hardware related?
  • The beam doesn't have an aux port, it just has a hdmi arc input and comes with a female hdmi to make optical audio adapter.
  • Didn't casting work in the Play Music app when that launched? Seem to remember them making quite a thing about it. Which makes me think it's a software issue...
  • I can cast to my Sonos Beam and Play 1's using Google Play Music, but YouTube Music is STILL missing this. YouTube Music still isn't ready to replace Google Play Music.
  • Yes, this. And just the fact the author didn't mention it shows how little research was done for this piece.
  • The Play music "casting" was something half baked probably forced from the app instead of the Sonos speakers, that's why it was impossible to add them in groups with other Chromecast supported speakers and the behavior was different than truly supported speakers.
  • Yes it did! My wife has one in her office. I used to use it when I was down here. I just came down to work on the furnace and thought to myself, "maybe I'll listen to some music on the sonos!". I'll be hoodwinked, I can't do that anymore! What's worse, I HAVE TO USE THE SONOS APP, but I can't log in to my wife's account, and it won't let me do anything as it's forcing an update, and I can't/won't log in to do it! W T F??!? I will NOT be buying anymore of these. Darn shame, it sounds great!
  • I find attaching a streaming device to a streaming device illogical. No matter how you look at it.
  • As others have said, you can cast from Google Play Music, but also Amazon Music, and I would presume others too (I don't have multiple accounts with the various services to test). Seemingly the only complaint is that casting from YouTube Music is not supported by Sonos at this time. But YouTube Music is still a mess, so it's not that surprising, and may even be a Google issue rather than a Sonos issue. Perhaps more research required here??
  • It's a Sonos issue, those apps are implementing an app based casting that simulates the initial behavior because Sonos is not implementing the Chromecast protocol, if Sonos supported it then it would be system wide in any app as any other Chromecast speaker and you could even group them with other non Sonos speakers, which is what Sonos wants to avoid because they think they're special.
  • It "might" be a Sonos issue. It might also be that Google doesn't allow Sonos to use Chromecast. I would assume Google have the ability to exercise control here.
  • What would you expect from a company that pushes obsolescence in order to boost sales independently of the negative environmental effects...
  • How is obsolescence pushed when every single one of their products still works and is supported? There was a time where first generation products had to use the "S1" app rather than the "S2" app but even that has been squashed. They all work on the S2 app now. Sonos has an incredible amount of market competition so just like any product that falls into that category, you can't just believe every article you read about it. You gotta read between the lines. Plus, you can't expect wifi-based devices to stay technologically relevant for much longer than 5 years. If the average person listed off every single wifi-based device that they use daily that is over 5 years old, that list would be very short if it even existed at all.
  • Well today's news puts a potentially different spin on this...
  • That's the exact reason why recently when I decided that I needed a new soundbar and subwoofer, instead of buying a Sonos one I decided that it was the moment to move to a Sony with Chromecast support and to just sell my Sonos Play 1 and 5 to replace them with new Chromecast compatible speakers... The Sonos app simply sucks as a forced replacement for the real music services app and until they add Chromecast support they don't deserve any Android user money, we're paying the same than others to be treated as second class buyers. No, thanks, my money is worth the same.
  • Time to update this article, just change 2020 to 2021 and nothing else has changed
  • I just purchased a Sonos One SL to fix the problem I have. You see, I have multiple Google speakers throughout the house, but I have to buy a subscription to play music to all of them at the same time through Youtube Music. Or at least that's what I understand and I don't have time or want to fuss with every tech gadget out there(and I'm not paying a subscription to everyone and their cat). So I thought SONOs! Perfect! An agnostic device for this non apple house! NOPE! I was wondering why I couldn't "Cast" to the speaker from my favorite music app -- all of my TVs and Receivers do...? Why should I have to give up more of my privacy and why must I install yet another app on my phone? Insane... It's going back to the store. Bye Sonos! Just make a good wifi speaker. Let someone else make good media player software(and it is waaaay better)!