In high performance gear I would be expecting that the kit would have as few limitations as affordable. Between two streamers of reasonably equivalent audiophile pedigree, I will purchase the one that allows the greatest flexibility in the ways I can interface with it.
With Chromecast (CC), anything playable in a browser window can be ‘casted’ to the hardware. That keeps the hardware viable for the foreseeable future. Also, the manufacturer’s development team doesn’t have to be all things to all people. Further, CC doesn’t rely on wireless technology so audiophiles won’t have to confuse it with inferior Bluetooth and Airplay. Mobile integration becomes easier as there are dozens of apps available, not just the one written by the streamer’s dev team.
CC supports at least 24/96 bitrate, so it’ll satisfy 90% of most music catalogs - online or local.
The manufacturer can, and should if they desire, continue to develop the holy grail of music server software. But if someone out there doesn’t care for what they’re coding, the hardware can remain relevant, and an attractive purchase option as VLC, Plex, even Videostream (to name a few off the top of my head) can step in to support local file delivery via CC to the streamer. In all cases, I would be connecting such a device to my DS, not relying on the streamer’s internal DAC.
It’s a shame that Google is not easy to work with. That’s certainly a real, unforeseen limitation of this technology. I guess I have my answer as to why more aren’t adopting it. Thanks for your feedback, Paul.