audio 'casting' options these days?
New here - first post - been struggling with a couple of different casting devices over the last year-ish.
Is there a 'Gold Standard' for this hardware at this point, or is it fading out of existence in favor of some other mode?
When I first looked for a way to get wireless audio going around the house, "Audiocast" pucks caught my attention, perhaps due to review fakery on Amazon, and of course Amazon isn't going to mention Chromecast Audio, so I didn't know they existed. I'm forever renovating so my speakers are always on the move. I bought two AudioCast pucks, spent many hours trying to get them to do just about anything, and found I badly needed to be technical-Mandarin-proficient in order to get support...eventually Amazon refunded me and told me to keep the damned things. They look very much like Chromecast Audio pucks. (If anyone wants them, they're free for the price of postage - PM me.)
Then I read something on a forum somewhere referring to Chromecast Audio pucks. Google seemed like they'd have been a better bet from the outset, for support as well as design. I ordered two...just a couple of months before they were discontinued, as I learned here much more recently.
Once I got over the initial-installation hump, the CA devices worked, most of the time, and were more reliable, but that's not saying much. It's worse than ever now: devices are connecting to wifi and per someone's post of the LED color/blinking-code-chart, they should be good to go, but Chrome can't find them when I click on the cast button. If it had been just ONE that couldn't be found, I'd assume it was a new failure, but it's both.
They never worked quite right with Pandora, in a way that made me suspect some kind of code sabotage, but I've not run across other complaints about this. One puck (nearest WiFi router and PC that I would use for controls) would be casting as expected, while the more distant one would drop out. Swapping the pucks doesn't move the problem - it's always the more distant location. If I do nothing, about 20 minutes later it will gurgle and sputter gradually back to life, very slowly, and very painful to listen, but if I'm up on a ladder or covered with dust, I'm not so inclined to go across the house to futz with my laptop to get things returned to normal. Repeats ALL day. When I could pause my work and walk back across the house to the PC, just stopping and restarting the Cast destination would return things to normal...for the next less-than-hour. Repeat ad nauseum.
But none of the above paragraph's problems happened, EVER, with Google Play Music. Thing is, though, GPM holds all kinds of mysteries for me. Tech support seems non-existent to the free users, and I'd (wrongly) assumed it would have to be better for a subscriber. I subscribed about ten days ago, and got ZIP when I tried to get some longstanding questions answered. One is the complaint/question as to why the length of a typical station's playlist is absurdly short: within a couple of hours I will hear the same tunes repeated. Doesn't seem to be any option to 'shuffle'. Doesn't seem to learn anything from my thumbings, up/down. And many oddities happen when I add my iPhone to the mix: ghost streams of formerly-selected stations will start playing, sometimes three different streams at once. Music regularly continues to play when laptop is sleeping...yeah, there are a lot of mysteries.
All this came to a head yesterday when CA devices just couldn't be located. The usual (not to say acceptable) remedy has been to reboot my laptop. Did that twice - still no devices. It rebooted on its own for some reason last night, and just now, I noticed that the CA pucks had been located again. I started Pandora right away, and...boom - they vanished.
So yeah, if all of this was to save the hassle and time spent managing the movement of wired speaker connections, I am deeply under water in terms of wasted time spent troubleshooting and writing stuff like this. Is this just...how it is? What hardware works best for this?