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Do groups play in sync, and can I manually setup speaker or cast groups?

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  • Do groups play in sync, and can I manually setup speaker or cast groups?

    Hi,

    I'm relatively new to Google Home and currently evaluating this plugin. I now have 5 Google Home devices. 1 Hub and 4 minis. I have reserved their IP addresses in my DHCP server and manually added them to the Chromecast.ini file. All seems well so far in regards to the plugin being able to send TTS to all of my devices.

    The problem... When sending TTS to all devices, they all play at different times. And since a number of them are within earshot of one another, it's annoying.

    I'm assuming I can send TTS to a speaker group, and that if I do that they will all play in sync. Is this correct?

    If so, I would like to know how to be able to set that up without the Bonjour service. In the user guide, it appears that a Cast Group shares an IP address with an actual device, but the IDs are different. This makes me think the ID is required to work with groups. Since I'm manually editing the ini file, I don't know my device IDs. Are IDs required for casting to a group? If so, is there a way I can retrieve the IDs w/o the Bonjour service?

    I have not actually created any speaker groups yet. I wanted to first figure out the proper procedure for manually adding a group to this plugin.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Could someone that uses Bonjour and has groups, please send me a snippet of your Chromecast.ini file?

    I read that a recent change to the plugin now uses the group name as the "id". So, I tried adding my speaker group under [CHROMECASTS] with a bogus ID but a name value that matched the group, but that didn't work. Wondering if there is a separate section for groups.

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    • #3
      There is no separate section for groups, and you can use whatever you want for the id. What is important is that you set type=Google Cast Group and that you use the correct port.
      On my system the port for a group is 43018 but I'm not sure if that can change or not. (For a single device the port is always 8009)
      The IP address needs to be the IP of the device that manage the group, I don't know how to find that information without Bonjour. Also be aware that this IP can change based on devices being online or not.

      So your ini should look something like this:

      Code:
      [CHROMECASTS]
      12ab40a8-89e8-4a3a-a94d-ac5e77f1f288###ipaddress=192.168.1.153
      12ab40a8-89e8-4a3a-a94d-ac5e77f1f288###port=43018
      12ab40a8-89e8-4a3a-a94d-ac5e77f1f288###name=My Group
      12ab40a8-89e8-4a3a-a94d-ac5e77f1f288###type=Google Cast Group
      12ab40a8-89e8-4a3a-a94d-ac5e77f1f288###enabled=True
      12ab40a8-89e8-4a3a-a94d-ac5e77f1f288###tts=True
      12ab40a8-89e8-4a3a-a94d-ac5e77f1f288###online=True

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      • #4
        Hi spud,

        Thanks for the reply. I tried what you suggested but the plugin always reports that the group is offline even though I've specified True in the ini. The Online checkbox is unchecked and I cannot check it, and Test is grayed out. I'm assuming I have a value wrong, either IP or port.

        Does only 1 device "manage" the group at a time? And that device can change if it goes offline? If that's the case, this may be impossible w/o the Bonjour service. If you manually switch one of your groups to a different device's IP, does it stop working?

        I'm hoping I can send to any device IP and the magic here is determining the port. Upon googling, it seems you are right and the group port numbers can vary. Are you aware of any network tools that I could use to determine this information on demand, vs running a service?

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        • #5
          What debug logs do you get when you start the plugin? I suspect it tries to connect to the ip/port you provided in the ini, fails and then mark the group as offline.

          I have never tested a group without bonjour, but I believe only one chromecast acts as the "manager".

          Why don't you want to run the bonjour service?

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for the reply, spud. Yes, there are errors regarding connection to the manually added group:

            ERROR No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 192.168.x.x:42236

            I tried a different port than you had mentioned earlier because I noticed someone else on the internet needed to use 42236. Neither worked, obviously.

            I don't want to run bonjour because I was hoping it wasn't necessary, don't fully understand what it does, and therefore don't fully trust it. It's just another layer of complication, and I've read about it causing people problems or not performing correctly. I much prefer manually specifying information vs installing more software to automatically determine that information. One would think after determining that information once, the service wouldn't be needed again. Perhaps that's not the case with Google Cast Groups, which boggles my mind.

            I may end up having to give in, but I'd like to probe a little deeper first.

            Do you have any inkling on how it is determined which device is the "manager"? I created my speaker group on my phone, if that matters at all.

            I assume whatever bonjour is doing is complicated and significant enough to not bother implementing "discovery" within this plugin, correct? It sure would be nice if the plugin could do the discovery on its own. I read something about sending UDP packets to 239.255.255.250 port 1900, but I got nowhere when trying to do that with some networking tools. (https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/doc...mecastDG76.pdf)

            For anyone with groups up and running:

            Have you ever observed the IP address of your groups change, and if so, did the port remain the same? If you unplug the device that has the same IP address as your group, does both the IP address and port change for the group, or just the IP address?

            Would you be willing to verify only 1 device can accept the group cast by turning off bonjour and manually editing your ini file to have your group target a different device's IP?

            Much thanks!

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