I'm not usually one to plug commercial products, especially those of corporate giants like Google.
In this case, I am because I was stunned that someone like Google would come out with an inexpensive mass market product that solved what I thought was a need/want somewhat unique to me.
You all know what chromecast is, and it certainly makes sense in these days when nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet and a bigscreen flatscreen TV.
At first glance Chromecast audio would seem to be a dumbed down version at the same price, so why bother?
So here's old Maxx with a decent old school stereo in the basement mancave. A few years ago I mounted some outdoor speakers up under the eaves and ran speaker wire down to the basement amp. I'm somewhat hip to technology, so my music collection has mostly been converted to mp3, and now I could run playlists on the basement computer through the amp and listen to music out on the patio. For the record, I don't much like headphones or earbuds, and bluetooth speakers get awfully pricey if you want any kind of decent sound.
When I got a tablet, I started considering how I might remote control the basement computer so I didn't have to run up and down stairs to change lists or go to Pandora or whatever. I'm sure I'd have got that done eventually, but forgot all about it when I saw an ad for Chromecast audio. It works off my wifi, with line audio outputs instead of hdmi. Plug it into a tape input on my old amp, and voila, I can sit out on the patio and control whats playing on the stereo via the tablet. I even have control over volume once I've set the base level on the amplifier. For parties, anybody with a smartphone can jump in with their own songs or streaming service, provided I set the device so anyone can use it without passwords (Yes, I know, security. I don't normally have it set for "open" use, and its powered down when I'm not actually using it.) Since all my computers are on the network, I can use music files on any of them without moving them to the tablet first.
I know there's a lot of other ways to skin this cat with headphones or bluetooth speakers, but I was pleasantly surprised that google came up with something that was a simple plug-in retrofit to the somewhat odd old school setup I already had.
P.S. for those concerned about my neighbors.... my yard is big enough, and the layout of house and garage kind of screen the patio off. I have to have it pretty loud for the neighbors to even notice. I checked. Closest neighbor is 100 years old and almost deaf, so its even less of a problem.