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We have a budget whole-house audio setup using Chromecast Audio, currently with 3 zones but slowly expanding. One zone is our living room with a traditional home theater 5.1 setup, and the other 2 are basic 2-channel stand-alone amps. The amps are all hidden away in closets, basements, etc. which is great for aesthetics but makes it inconvenient if you don't want to leave the amps on all the time, and the living room regularly needs to change inputs. While I was able to add separate remotes for each amp and an IR extender for the home theater, we found ourselves constantly searching for the remote(s) whenever we wanted to listen to music, which turned out to be more of an inconvenience than we really wanted. As a result, I bought a couple of IFTTT enabled outlets and wrote a Python script called WHACast!

github (dot) com (slash) stealthdave (slash) whacast

(Sorry for the lack of a real link; apparently I'm too much of a n00b.)

The goal of WHACast (Whole House Audio Chromecast Control; very original) is to automatically turn on the amp whenever content is streamed to the Chromecast, and turn it off when streaming stops. It does this by watching each Chromecast to see if streaming starts or stops, and it actually works pretty well. I've had it running on a Raspberry PI in our home for a couple of weeks and it's been pretty stable so far.

It can remotely turn on and off any smart device connected to IFTTT, and can also control infrared remote devices through LIRC. It also works with groups; just add each individual Chromecast Audio to the config file and if it starts streaming either individually or as part of a group it will be detected.

I've only tested this with Linux, but it should work on any operating system with Python installed, including Mac OS X and Windows. As I mentioned, it runs on systems as small as a Raspberry Pi so it doesn't need a lot of resources. It currently only works with Chromecast Audio, but I could probably add support for standard Chromecasts if the demand is there.

The source code and instructions are available at the Github link above. Feedback, bug reports and even feature requests are welcome, although I'm going to keep the scope of this project limited to controlling amps for Chromcast sources. Hopefully others can also find this script useful.

- Dave
 
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