How to stream Spotify to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and digital radios
Spotify may have launched its iPhone and Android apps, but how about streaming the Spotify sounds to other devices in the home, such as games consoles and digital radios? After all, many of us have expensive speaker systems connected to the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, while the speakers found on the average laptop give even Barry White the nasally whine of the Bee Gees.
Although the Spotify software itself doesn't support streaming to other devices, it's perfectly possible to do so with the third-party software, Jamcast. What's more, the Jamcast software is completely free of charge and (unlike the iPhone/Android software) you don't need a premium Spotify account to take advantage.
I set this up on my Xbox 360 over the weekend and the process could barely be easier:
1. Download the Jamcast software and install it on your PC.
2. Open Jamcast, click the devices tab and check that your Xbox, PlayStation or digital radio/receiver appears in the list. If not, click Find and it should appear.
3. Fire up Spotify. Jamcast essentially broadcasts the output from your PC's sound card to other devices on the home network, so check you've got no applications such as email clients running in the background, or be prepared to have your listening interrupted by "you've got new mail" jingles.
4. Turn on your Xbox and choose Music from the My Xbox section. Select Jamcast from the list of networked devices, then select Playlists and Virtual Soundcard. Click play, and after a few seconds delay, you should hear Spotify streaming through your console's speakers. (Note that the instructions may vary slightly for other consoles/devices).
Jamcast is beta software and the streaming experience isn't perfect. The stream suffered from the odd audio wibble and drop out during our tests. A post on the Jamcast support forums claims this is down to the PC struggling to sample the Spotify audio quickly enough, which could be a particular problem on low-powered laptops and netbooks.
There's also a five to ten second delay between the sound emanating from your PC and the sound coming out of your console/digital radio, so don't panic if it doesn't kick in immediately.
We also struggled to get Jamcast running on our test digital radio (the Revo Pico RadioStation), which recognised the Jamcast Virtual Soundcard playlist, but flatly refused to play it. Others have had more success with digital radios, judging by the forums.
And what about those of you in Apple land, who are unable to install Jamcast? Several online forums suggest it's possible to stream Spotify using a combination of the $25 Airfoil software and Apple's Airport Express devices. Note - I haven't tested this, so proceed at your own risk.
Let me know on comments below if you've found any alternative/better ways to stream Spotify to non-PC devices.