Cast macOS and Linux Audio/Video to your Google Cast and Sonos Devices

README.md

Mkchromecast

License PyPI - Python Version node Downloads GitHub release

This is a program to cast your macOS audio, or Linux audio to your Google Cast devices or Sonos speakers. It can also cast video files.

It is written for Python3, and it can stream via node.js, parec (Linux), ffmpeg, or avconv. Mkchromecast is capable of using lossy and lossless audio formats provided that ffmpeg, avconv (Linux), or parec (Linux) are installed. It also supports Multi-room group playback, and 24-bit/96kHz high audio resolution. Additionally, a system tray menu is available.

By default, Mkchromecast streams with node.js (or parec in Linux) together with mp3 audio coding format at a sample rate of 44100Hz and average bitrate of 192k. These defaults can be changed using the --sample-rate and -b flags. It is useful to modify these parameters when your wireless router is not very powerful, or in the case you don't want to degrade the sound quality. For more information visit the wiki, and the FAQ.

You can optionally install ffmpeg or avconv (the latter only supported in Linux, more information here). Linux users also can configure ALSA to capture audio. Note that sometimes the lag between playing a song and hearing may be up to 8 seconds for certain backends.

Tell me more about it

To have an idea of using Mkchromecast from console check this gif.

Mkchromecast provides a beta system tray menu. It requires you to install PyQt5. For more information check the Requirements and Install sections.

This is what the system tray menu looks like:

macOS

Example

Linux

Check these images:

Sonos support

If you have Sonos speakers, you can play whatever you are listening to in your computer with Mkchromecast. To add Sonos support, install the soco python module:

pip install soco

Contribute

If you want to contribute, help me improving this application by reporting issues, creating pull requests, or you may also buy me some pizza :).

paypal

Requirements:

macOS

In order to use Mkchromecast you need the following software to stream with node.js:

  • Python3.
  • pychromecast.
  • psutil.
  • mutagen.
  • Soundflower.
  • PyQt5 (optional if you want to use the system tray menu).

For more control, you need ffmpeg as backend. In that case install the following:

  • flask (optional).
  • ffmpeg (optional).
  • youtube-dl (option if you plan to cast youtube URLs or supported websites).

Linux

  • Pulseaudio.
  • Pavucontrol.
  • Python3 (if using the official debian package).
  • pychromecast.
  • psutil.
  • mutagen.
  • flask.
  • vorbis-tools.
  • sox.
  • lame.
  • flac.
  • faac.
  • ffmpeg (optional).
  • avconv (optional).
  • PyQt5 (optional if you want to use the system tray menu).
  • youtube-dl (option if you plan to cast youtube URLs or supported websites).
  • soco (this module adds Sonos support to Mkchromecast).

For those who don't like Pulseaudio, it is possible to cast using ALSA. In that case the requirements are:

  • alsa-base
  • alsa-utils
  • alsa-utils
  • Python3 (if using the official debian package).
  • pychromecast.
  • psutil.
  • mutagen.
  • flask.
  • vorbis-tools.
  • sox.
  • lame.
  • flac.
  • faac.
  • ffmpeg.
  • avconv (optional).
  • PyQt5 (optional if you want to use the system tray menu).
  • youtube-dl (option if you plan to cast youtube URLs or supported websites).
  • soco (this module adds Sonos support to Mkchromecast).

Install

There are two ways of installing this application:

  1. Using the binaries.
  2. From sources.

Binaries

macOS

There is a standalone application for macOS users. You need to drag it to your /Applications/ folder.

Download the latest dmg here. You need also to install Soundflower.

Homebrew Cask

If you are using homebrew, it is possible to install the binary as follows:

brew cask install mkchromecast

If you find any problem with the application, please report it here.

Linux

Mkchromecast is available in the official Debian repositories. To install it, just do:

apt install mkchromecast

Download the latest deb package here, and install it as follows:

sudo apt -f install ./mkchromecast_$VERSION_all.deb

where $VERSION = X.Y.Z-Rev, e.g.: 0.2.6-1.

This should work in Debian Unstable and Testing. I would appreciate Ubuntu testers as well. If you find any problems, please report it here.

If you experience other problems related to dependencies, please discuss them here or open a new issue.

Additionally, there are two dependency packages for pulling pulseaudio or ALSA dependencies:

apt-get install mkchromecast-alsa (ALSA users)

or

apt-get install mkchromecast-pulseaudio (Pulseaudio users)

From sources

To install Mkchromecast, clone this repository:

git clone https://github.com/muammar/mkchromecast.git

Or you may download one of the stable releases here, and unzip the file.

Arch Linux

Mkchromecast is available at the AUR :

#install with aurman
aurman -S mkchromecast
#install with aurutils
aur sync mkchromecast

If you get the error cannot import name 'DependencyWarning' in Arch Linux, please check issue #31.

Python

To install python requirements use the requirements.txt file shipped in this repository:

pip install -r requirements.txt

Note: if this step fails, maybe you need to run the installation with sudo as shown below. However, before installing using this method verify why a regular user cannot install these requirements.

sudo pip install -r requirements.txt

Linux users can try to install these python requirements using the package managers coming with their distributions.

Example for Debian based distros:

sudo apt-get install python3.6 python3-pip python3-pychromecast python3-flask python3-psutil python3-setuptools python3-mutagen python3-gi vorbis-tools sox lame flac faac opus-tools

Note: if python3-pychromecast is not available in your repository, follow instructions in #9.

Soundflower (macOS users only)

For installing Soundflower you can check https://github.com/mattingalls/Soundflower/ and just download the latest dmg file.

If you have Homebrew you can use brew cask as follows:

brew cask install soundflower

By default, the sample rate in Soundflower is set to 44100Hz. If you desire to stream at higher sample rates follow the instructions in the wiki.

Note: re-sampling to higher sample rates is not a good idea. It was indeed an issue in chromecast audio devices. See this thread. Therefore, if you want to go beyond 44100Hz you have to capture the sound at a higher sample rate.

ffmpeg or avconv

The easiest way of installing ffmpeg is using a package manager, e.g.: brew, macports or fink. Or in the case of Linux, e.g.: apt, yum, or pacman.

macOS

I will briefly describe the case of Homebrew here. First, you will need Homebrew installed in your machine:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

Once Homebrew is ready, you can install ffmpeg. As stated in the ffmpeg website, and for being able to use all audio coding formats in Mkchromecast, it is better to install ffmpeg with the following options enabled:

brew install ffmpeg --with-fdk-aac --with-tools --with-freetype --with-libass --with-libvorbis --with-libvpx --with-x265 --with-opus

Mkchromecast does not support avconv in macOS.

Linux

As I use Debian, the way of installing ffmpeg is:

apt-get install ffmpeg

or avconv

apt-get install libav-tools

Audio coding formats available with parec, ffmpeg and avconv backends

Audio coding format Description Notes
mp3 MPEG Audio Layer III (default) Lossy compression format (default bitrate: 192k)
ogg Ogg Vorbis Lossy compression format (default bitrate: 192k)
aac Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) Lossy compression format (default bitrate: 192k)
opus Opus Lossy compression format (default bitrate: 192k)
wav Waveform Audio File Format Lossless format (HQ sound)
flac Free Lossless Audio Codec Lossless format (HQ sound)
PyQt5

These Python bindings are needed if you intend to use the system tray menu. Sometimes pip is able to install PyQt5 andpip install pyqt5 is enough.

If this does not work for you, I suggest you to install it using a package manager.

macOS

Example with Homebrew:

brew install pyqt5 --with-python3
Linux
  • Debian
apt-get install python3-pyqt5

or if you desire it you can do it yourself from the sources.

Updating

To update Mkchromecast sources, just get into the cloned directory and:

git pull

or if you prefer it, you can just pass the --update argument to Mkchromecast:

bin/mkchromecast --update

If you are using the macOS application:

  1. Click on Check For Updates.
  2. If there are new versions, you will be prompted to download the latest dmg.
  3. Replace the mkchromecast.app in your /Applications/ directory.

Linux users need to either perform a apt-get upgrade or download the latest deb here, and dpkg -i mkchromecast_$VERSION_all.deb.

Usage

Audio

Get into the cloned Mkchromecast directory and execute:

bin/mkchromecast

This will launch Mkchromecast using node.js (or parec for Linux users), and will do the streaming part together with the mp3 audio coding format. node.js works decently but the server may tend to fail under certain circumstances. In such a case, Mkchromecast is able to restart the streaming/casting process automatically. So, some hiccups are expected.

Note: most of the steps described herein are the same for macOS and Linux users. However, if you launch the command above in Linux, the process is less automatized. In Linux, you need to select with pavucontrol the sink called Mkchromecast to stream unless you are using ALSA. See the wiki for more information. tl;dr?, just check the gif below.

Example of using mkchromecast

Note: the cast process is independent from the selection of the pulseaudio sink. This means that Mkchromecast will tell the cast device to listen your computer but no sound will be heard until you select the sink. For ALSA users, this does not apply.

Using the ffmpeg backend with Mkchromecast installed from sources

Below an example using mp3:

bin/mkchromecast --encoder-backend ffmpeg

With ffmpeg you can modify the codec:

bin/mkchromecast --encoder-backend ffmpeg -c aac

change the bitrate and sample rate:

bin/mkchromecast --encoder-backend ffmpeg -c mp3 -b 128 --sample-rate 31000

check the section Soundflower (macOS users only) for more about sample rates.

You also can set the host ip manually which is a useful option when having more than one active network connection or when the automatically ip detection fails:

bin/mkchromecast --host 192.168.1.1
Other examples with Mkchromecast installed using the debian package

To cast using parec and wav audio coding format:

mkchromecast -c wav

There is also an option to change the bitrate, and in this case with ffmpeg:

mkchromecast --encoder-backend ffmpeg -c ogg -b 128

and another one to change the sampling rate:

mkchromecast --encoder-backend ffmpeg -c ogg -b 128 --sample-rate 48000

Note: to use avconv just replace from ffmpeg to avconv in the commands above.

Using Mkchromecast from the system tray

To launch it:

bin/mkchromecast -t

or

mkchromecast -t

The system tray application can perform all the actions from the aforementioned commands. To get an idea, please check the Youtube video here.

Playing Youtube URLs in Google Cast devices

You can play Youtube URLs (or other sites headlessly from the command line:

bin/mkchromecast -y https://www.youtube.com/watch\?v\=NVvAJhZVBT

To use this function, you need to install youtube-dl. In macOS, this can be done with homebrew: brew install youtube-dl. In Debian based distros: apt-get install youtube-dl.

Note: you may need to enclose the URL between quotation marks, and only URLs over https are supported.

Playing source URLs in Google Cast devices

You can play any source URLs headlessly from the command line:

bin/mkchromecast --source-url SOURCE_URL

This option is useful for:

  1. Casting using MPD in the case you have already a http streaming source.
  2. Casting a radio station. A list of stations to try: https://ponyvillefm.com/servers

Example:

bin/mkchromecast --source-url http://192.99.131.205:8000/pvfm1.ogg -c ogg --control

As it can be seen above, the codec has to be specified with the -c flag.

Note: .m3u or .pls are not yet supported.

Controlling the Google Cast's volume and pause/resume options

You can control the volume of your Google Cast device by launching Mkchromecast with the option --control:

bin/mkchromecast --encoder-backend ffmpeg -c ogg -b 320 --control

This will allow you to press u and d keys for volume up and volume down respectively.

The system tray has a window with a volume slider to do volume up and volume down.

High quality audio

Mkchromecast lets you cast using 24-bit/96kHz high audio resolution. This is the maximum chromecast audio capability. The supported codecs are: wav and flac. In spite of the fact that aac can use 96000Hz sample rate, the bitrate corresponds to that of a lossy data compression format. Therefore, the following combinations can achieve this 24-bit/96kHz capability:

  • wav + 96000Hz sample rate.
  • flac + 96000Hz sample rate.

References:

Video

You can now cast videos to your Google cast using Mkchromecast. This feature works both with node and ffmpeg backends and from command line. In the future, they may be a graphical interface for this process. See this project.

  • Cast a file from your computer to your chromecast:
bin/mkchromecast --video -i "/path/to/file.mp4"
bin/mkchromecast --video -i "/path/to/file.mp4" --encoder-backend node

Note: the format of the file can be whatever is supported by ffmpeg and not exclusively mp4.

  • Subtitles
bin/mkchromecast --video -i "/tmp/Homeland.S06E01.Fair.Game.1080p.AMZN.WEBRip.HEVC.DD5.1.x265.mkv" --subtitles /tmp/Homeland.S06E01.Fair\ Game.HDTV.x264-BATV.en.HI.srt
  • Set the resolution
bin/mkchromecast --video --resolution 4k -i /path/to/myvideo.something --subtitles /path/to/my.srt
  • Cast from a source url:
bin/mkchromecast --source-url http://commondatastorage.googleapis.com/gtv-videos-bucket/sample/BigBuckBunny.mp4 -c mp4 --volume --video
  • Youtube Video
bin/mkchromecast -y https://www.youtube.com/watch\?v\=VuMBaAZn3II --video

Killing the application

To kill Mkchromecast when you run it from console, just press Ctrl-C or q key to quit (when --control flag is passed).

When launching from system tray, use the Quit button in the system tray.

More help

To get more help:

bin/mkchromecast -h

or when installing the debian package:

mkchromecast -h

Known issues

General
  • Mkchromecast's versions lower than 0.3.7 cannot operate with newer versions of pychromecast.
  • When casting videos using the node backend, it is not possible to use neither the --subtitle nor the --seek flags.
  • When casting to Sonos the only codecs supported are: mp3, and aac. I won't give wma support. Apparently there is a way to play wav, and ogg that I will try to implement later.
macOS
  • Mkchromecast v0.3.6 cannot connect to selected chromecast when there are more than one available. In that case, you need to use the application from sources or build the application as shown here.
Linux
  • When using parec and lame encoder, the delay between audio played and listened can be up to 8 seconds. I suggest you to use something different than mp3.

You can also check the FAQ for more information.

TODO

  • Verify all exceptions when the system tray menu fails.
  • Sonos: add support to different available flags.
  • Sonos: add Equalizer in the controls.