Hey Google — Why is there a display on the stereo?

I have also connected to the Kii Three speakers to the Google Home/Assistant universe.

Google has this fast-moving trend to start and kill things. One of the gadgets that Google killed recently was the Chromecast Audio. This little disk-shaped device provided audio only Here is the Chromecast Audio next to the Kii Control.


It has a 3.5mm output jack with an embedded Optical digital output which was a simple, clean way to cast audio to almost any audio system. While mine still works great with the Kii Control, there is more we can do.

Since we already spent “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a few Dollars More” we take the audio game up a notch and also enable the RoonLabs Display features on the system. Roon provides a display output to show the current music playing with the option on selected tracks to display real-time lyrics.

I set this up using $35 third generation Google Chromecast and a 23in HD computer monitor I already owned. Plug the Chromecast into the monitor and power, and it becomes one of the output devices for casting video and AUDIO! Remember I said a few dollars. Adding a $25 HDMI audio extractor with Optical output and I now can cast YouTube, Soundcloud and others to the combo of the Display and the Kii Three speakers.

So for the price of an HDMI display, a Chromecast, and the HDMI audio extractor we have access to a broader array of video and audio sources in our systems.

Of course “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” part of this is that most of the services we are connecting with may not provide CD quality or lossless audio streams so you may want to temper some of the audio quality expectations from these sources. The family is finding access to YouTube and SoundCloud very satisfying. We are also checking out the Deezer HiFi service.

You can use Google Play Movies but remember that the Optical input on the Kii Three speakers is stereo only, not surround sound.

A third use case for me is to connect the display directly via a second HDMI port to the Music Computer in my system.

In closing, we are dealing with moving targets as there are numerous announcements and improvements and interchange agreements going on around us. For example, SONOS has Alexa and soon Google Assistant interfaces. A couple of smart TVs may be able to do some of what I have written about already. We may be able to do all of this with a single input!

Apple has released Apple AirPlay 2. There are now more possibilities to connect Siri to the stereo!

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