Sony's new whole-home speakers combine Google Cast and Apple AirPlay

Can't decide on the best way to send audio from your phone to your sound system? Now you don't have to.

Instead of making you choose between Apple AirPlay and Google Cast, Sony's latest whole-home speakers will work with both.

The SRS-X77, SRS-X88, and SRS-X99 are the first speakers to include AirPlay and Google Cast, both of which let users send audio from a networked phone, tablet, or computer. The speakers are also compatible with Spotify Connect, so users can beam audio directly from Spotify's mobile apps.

While AirPlay and Google Cast are conceptually similar, they have some important differences. AirPlay transmits audio directly from iOS or Mac devices over Wi-Fi, whereas Google Cast basically sends the speaker instructions to stream the music from the Internet, working with iOS, Android, and the Chrome browser. The advantage for Google Cast is that it doesn't drain battery life and won't interrupt audio if the Casting device gets disconnected, but it only works with the specific apps that support it. AirPlay works with nearly any audio app, including iTunes (and the new Apple Music).

Casting capabilities aside, Sony is also promising multi-room audio capabilities, similar to Sonos' popular line of speakers. Users can download Sony's SongPal app to manage multiple speakers, sound bars, and receivers. (We're not certain, however, if whole-home audio works with Google Cast and AirPlay; we've asked Sony for clarification.)

The SRS-X77 is the cheapest of Sony's new models, at $300 with 40 watts and a built-in subwoofer, but unlike the other models it doesn't support high-resolution audio formats such as FLAC, WAV, and ALAC. For $400, the SRS-X88 has 90 watts and five speakers--two tweeters, two mid-range drivers, and a subwoofer--while the $700 SRS-X99 has 154 watts and adds two super tweeters. They're all up for pre-order now, with late July shipping.

Why this matters: If you're spending hundreds of dollars on speakers, you probably want them to work with as many devices and music services as possible. Combining AirPlay and Google Cast helps Sony cover all the bases, and gives the company a unique selling point over LG's Music Flow speakers and the vast array of AirPlay speakers on the market.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesSonosAirPlayMusic and audioStreaming mediasonyinternetAppleSpotifyGoogle Cast for AudioGoogle

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

TechHive (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?