Google’s Chromecast is one of our favorite ways to watch movies, TV shows, and other content straight from your phone, tablet, or laptop. Instead of having to fuss around with a remote and an interface on your television, Chromecast allows you to beam content directly from your device through the web from nearly any Android (and some iOS) application, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Google Play Movies. Since everything you play is straight from your phone, you don’t have to worry about dealing with menu systems and other services that are difficult to navigate. And with the current generation Chromecast devices only costing $35, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get into streaming videos and music on your devices.
If you recently picked up a Chromecast but are having difficulties hearing any sort of sound from your television while watching or listening to your favorite shows and movies, it can be a frustrating experience. Sure, the Guardians are saving the galaxy all over again on your display, but what’s the point if you can’t hear the killer soundtrack as they crack jokes and defeat evil. Don’t stress too much, though—fixing sound problems through your Chromecast isn’t as difficult as you might think it is. All we have to do is pinpoint the problem causing an error in sound playback, and we’ll be back to your movie night in no time.
Checking Your Television’s Settings
Let’s start with some basic sound solutions to kick things off. Technology is often buggy and imperfect, and this includes when you’re using a device as simple as a Chromecast. Ensure the sound issue isn’t coming from your television by checking your volume level and testing a different device for sound output (such as a game console or a cable box). Also make sure to check the settings of your television to make sure your speakers are enabled, and that your audio output is set to “fixed.” Most modern televisions have a built-in option to disable the television speakers in order to use a home theater or surround sound system. You can also try turning off and unplugging your television for a few minutes, as well as factory resetting your television inside the settings menu of your monitor. Finally, if you’re using a stereo system to power the audio side of your home theater, ensure that your audio system isn’t malfunctioning.
Once you’ve checked your television, try switching your Chromecast to a different HDMI port on your television. Your Chromecast is also powered by a microUSB cable, and so to ensure your Chromecast device is receiving enough power, make sure it’s plugged into a fully-functioning USB port. Some televisions have a “service” USB port built into them; this won’t work on your Chromecast. If you’re unsure whether the USB port on your television is supplying your Chromecast with enough power, you can switch to using an AC adapter. The 4K-supported Chromecast Ultra, meanwhile, uses a dedicated AC adapter, which means you might want to try a different outlet.
Troubleshooting Your Chromecast
After you’ve ensured your device is being supplied with enough power to function correctly, you can also try to restart your device to ensure that it’s functioning properly. To do this, open (or install) the Google Home application on your device, tap the Devices button in the top-right corner of your display to view your currently-available Chromecast devices on your network. Select your device, tap the triple-dotted menu button in the top-right corner, and select Settings. Tap the “More” button to view additional settings, and tap on “Reboot.” This will begin the reboot process for your Chromecast, which should fix any issues with both visuals and sound. Alternatively, you can simply unplug the device from its power source, forcing a reset.
If sound is still an issue from your device, make sure that the volume on your phone is turned up for Chromecast. Though you can control the volume of your Chromecast streams with your standard volume control on your remote, Google also allows you to change the volume of the Chromecast device by using the volume buttons on your phone. Just make sure that you have some kind of content playing from your phone or tablet on your Chromecast, and use the volume rocker on your device to increase the volume as you normally would.
Alternatively, try to stop the stream from your phone or device to the Chromecast and restart the stream. If the sound problem is spawning from the application, restarting the stream will force Chromecast to reload the URL from which it’s accessing the video or audio feed. You can also try force closing the application on your device to see if the problem is coming from the app itself, instead of the Chromecast device. Finally, if you’re streaming from Chrome on your Chromebook or other computer, you can use the built in Chromecast extension to ensure audio is optimized for sound. Tap on the extension in Chrome, select your Chromecast device, and select “Cast this tab (optimize for audio).”
Finally, you may want to attempt to factory reset your device. We have a full article on all the methods for this here, including how to factory reset the device without it being connected to your home network, but the main method for resetting the device uses the Google Home app we already discussed. To reset your device using the app on your phone, tap on the Device icon inside the app and select the Chromecast device in your app. After selecting your device’s settings menu, you’ll want to click on the triple-dotted icon inside the settings to select the factory reset option. Google Home will prompt you to ensure that you want to reset your device; once you confirm your selection, you’ll be able to completely reset your device with preferences to test the audio again.
If you’re still experiencing problems with your Chromecast after you’ve tested these solutions, and you’ve ensured it isn’t another piece of A/V equipment in your setup, the next-best step is to contact Google for a warranty replacement.
Fixing Chromecast Audio Devices
We should also mention some Chromecast Audio-specific tips for fixing your audio streams. The Chromecast Audio is less popular than its older, video-friendly brother, but it’s no less an interesting device and can be great for those who have excellent sound systems and are looking for something that functions better than Bluetooth ever could. Having audio issues on a device made specifically for audio can be a real pain, even more so than the traditional Chromecast device, but you aren’t out of luck if your Chromecast Audio device is giving you a headache. In addition to most of the tips above, here’s a few Chromecast Audio-specific tips you may want to consider with your device.
First, we need to dive back into the settings menu of your device in Google Home. Open up your Chromecast Audio settings as described in our previous section and find the Sounds section. Unlike a traditional Chromecast device, the Chromecast Audio provides you with a new, never-before-seen setting here: full dynamic range. If you’re unsure about whether or not you want to enable this setting, you should leave it off. Full dynamic range is designed for premium audio hardware, like HiFi audio systems and AV receivers. If you’re trying to pump sound through a $30 pair of computer speakers from Amazon, this setting can actually cause distortion and improper volume increases on your device, and therefore, you should leave it off. If you’re having difficulty listening to your music, ensure this setting is disabled.
If you’re still having issues with sound on your Chromecast Audio, you’ll also want to ensure there’s no problem with the 3.5mm cable used by the device. Unlike on typical Chromecasts, the Chromecast Audio uses a modular, analog 3.5mm jack and cable that can be damaged, but also can be replaced. Ensure the cable is pushed into both your receiver or speaker and the Chromecast Audio unit, and also try testing the unit with a different aux cable. If you can’t get any sound out of the device, you may need to consider replacing the unit, as the 3.5mm jack may be dead or damaged.
Like most technology, Google’s Chromecast has its faults, including occasional hiccups and glitches when attempting to stream media. Since your Chromecast device is simply loading a URL onto your television to playback your favorite Netflix shows, it’s no surprise that problems can occur from time to time, and there’s nothing quite as infuriating as the sound on your entertainment cutting out. Typically, this issue can be fixed simply by turning your television off and on, or by switching the USB port powering your Chromecast, but of course, these problems can often have all sorts of causes and fixes, so keep trying our solutions above until you’ve solved the problem. You can do a lot with your Chromecast once you get it working properly, so let us know which fixes worked for you in the comments below.