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[Update: Firmware released] LG responds to user complaints, will add Google Home and multi-room support to Music Flow speakers

LG released its Music Flow speakers back in 2015 as one of the first third-party systems to take advantage of Google's Cast framework. However, LG has been slow to implement new features, and buyers were beginning to fear LG had abandoned the products. Now, it looks like all your complaining has worked! LG is adding multi-room audio and Google Home support to the Music Flow speakers.

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Vizio SmartCast Crave 360 review: An admirable stab at a Sonos alternative

When you hear the name Vizio, you usually would think of TVs. Perhaps some of you may even know of its soundbar product line. Whatever your knowledge of the likely-to-be LeEco-owned Vizio may be, we need to discuss this speaker. The Crave 360 is an odd thing that looks like an Amazon Echo, has Google Cast built in, and tries to be a viable Sonos alternative.

But does it succeed in its attempt at the latter? Not quite. However, it is still a nice-sounding, multi-room speaker that has a little bit extra that sets it apart from its run-of-the-mill cousins.

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LG's new SJ soundbar series brings Chromecast, high-resolution audio, and Dolby Atmos

LG has been one of the first companies to adopt Chromecast, then Google Cast, in its speakers and soundbars with the LG Music Flow series, to let users stream music wirelessly and without the need for a separate Chromecast Audio dongle. Support for its line-up has been less than stellar though, with the speakers being seemingly abandoned without firmware updates, no sign of multi-room or grouping to make them compatible with other Chromecast devices and Google Home, and leaving users without any hope for the future (check these threads as two small examples of customer frustration). With that grim asterisk in mind, I can tell you about these new soundbars that LG is showing off at CES.

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Raumfeld adds Chromecast support to all of its WiFi-enabled speakers

German audio firm Raumfeld is known for making some nice (and expensive) speakers with support for streaming services like Spotify and Tidal. Starting today, those speakers also support Chromecast. The update is rolling out to all of Raumfeld's WiFi speakers this very day.

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Google phasing out 'Google Cast' name for connected TVs, speakers

Google Cast or Chromecast? That, my friends, is the question. Seems like today Google is providing an answer, with reports that the Google Cast name is being gradually phased out in favor of Chromecast.

Speakers and TVs with Cast seem to be the main victims (if you can call them that) here - rather than, say, a Vizio TV being 'Google Cast enabled,' it now has 'Chromecast built-in.' It's the same for TVs by Toshiba, or speakers by Sony - they now have Chromecast built-in instead of Google Cast. I suppose that Google has found that the Chromecast brand has more relevance and strength than the Google Cast brand, and that's what has been the driving force behind this change.

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Google Cast API updated with 4K capabilities, other changes

The Google Cast API was updated today with some good changes. Most notably is that it now officially supports 4K casting. Also included in the changelog is that the API supports maintaining a state of cast session, where the new class holds the current status of the stream, a fix to the image aspect ratio, ad breaks, and remote control notifications.

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The Google Cast app is becoming Google Home

Back in March, Google renamed the official Chromecast application as 'Google Cast', and it is now renaming it again. Several users have sent us the below screenshot, showing the Google Cast app informing them that it will become 'Google Home.'

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Variety: Google wants OEMs to turn Cast devices into Google Home devices, with major exclusivity caveat

A week ago, a Chromecast Preview Firmware changed all references of the companion Google Cast app to Google Home. The reasoning for that change seemed simple at the time: presumably you would control Google Home and your Chromecasts from the same app. But a recent report from Variety sheds light on Google Cast's role in Google's smart home ecosystem.

It's no secret that adoption of Google Cast in WiFi speakers has grown exponentially. Cast is a huge step up from Bluetooth speakers in terms of usability (no finicky pairing), and unlike Apple's AirPlay technology, is platform-agnostic. Thanks to the rapid adoption of Google Cast, Google has relationships with numerous companies in the audio industry - relationships it hopes to use for Google Home.

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Exclusive: Google Home will cost $129, Chromecast Ultra will cost $69

Speaking to Android Police, two sources claim that Google will announce its Google Home and the 4K 'Chromecast Ultra' devices will be priced at $129 and $69, respectively, at its October 4th event.

Google Home was announced at Google I/O in May. Our sources also confirmed that the personalized base covers Google showed at I/O will be a feature of the final device. The $129 price point for Google Home matches that of the previously-unrumored Google Wifi, a router that will allegedly be able to create a single, large wireless network using multiple access points. $129 also undercuts Amazon's Echo by a full $40, and though it matches the price of the portable Amazon Tap, it's clear Google has Amazon's flagship smart home product in its sights with Home.

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Onkyo's NCP-302 is a Bluetooth and Google Cast-enabled speaker that also supports Play-Fi, Airplay, has a 3.5mm input

Google Cast has been pretty heavily in the news in the past couple of weeks. We had the new JBL Playlist speaker followed by Vizio's SmartCast Crave 360 and Crave Pro, all of which come with Google Cast capabilities built-in, then we got the Chromecast Preview Program announcement, followed by news of Sony's speakers finally getting multi-room and Hi-Fi audio support. Now there's another speaker joining the fold: the Onkyo NCP-302.

Behind that sexy name lies one of the most interesting Google Cast speakers we've seen to date. We knew Onkyo was a Google Cast partner (it has been listed on the site for a few months already), but we didn't expect it to come out swinging with its first product.

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