What do you look at when streaming music? Vinyl gives us a big black spinning disc and cover art. CDs, a booklet. For streaming, front panel displays like those found on the AURALiC Aries G1 or the Naim Uniti Atom, as nice as they are, don’t impress as much as a $35 Google Chromecast’s HDMI output splashed six feet wide across the wall by a projector.
For Roon, we can already tap the Google Chromecast for a room-filling now playing screen but the requisite HDMI splitter’s TOSLINK output – needed to peel off digital audio for a DAC – probably isn’t the lowest in electrical noise or jitter.
Further, a Mac or PC’s display port tethers Roon to the computer’s USB output. One that likely won’t compete on sound quality with more luxurious Roon Ready network streamers like the aforementioned AURALiC or, my favourite for 2018, the Innuos ZENith MKII SE.
What to do?
Rolling out to Roon users today is Build 354. The update sees the Roon server separate the ‘now playing’ screen from its audio endpoint (or zone) for independent dispatch to any Google Chromecast or web browser.
Clicking the ‘Displays’ tab in Roon’s settings panel shows us all Chromecasts connected to the network and gives us an IP address to paste into any browser window.
One or both can be optioned as display outputs for ANY Roon zone. Activation is a matter of clicking the volume icon on any Roon zone, then clicking the TV icon that appears to the left of ‘DSP’ and manually starting one or more displays. We can stop them in the same way. Or have them auto-start with zone playback.
This allows me to listen to Low’s Double Negative via the ALLO DigiOne, Hegel H590 and Harbeth Compact 7-ES3 but have the associated ‘now playing’ screen (see header image) sent to a Google Chromecast connected to a projector that puts a six-foot-wide image on my lounge room wall. The
DigiOne does the audio, the Chromecast the video. Neat.
Further information: Roon