JBL first started taking orders for what they were billing as an “all-in-one” home entertainment system complete with both Android TV and Google Assistant. Unfortunately, a delay kept consumers from getting the device, but now the JBL Link Soundbar is finally here.
The JBL Link Soundbar is at its basic level a speaker that lets users fully embrace a Google world by connecting Android TV to your television and bringing Google Assistant into your living or media room. In effect, the sound bar is a speaker for Google Home that sports Android TV. You can stream videos and apps through the sound bar while also using Google Assistant to control your big screen and your house without having to switch away from either your cable box or Blu-ray or DVD player.
The sound bar comes with three HDMI pass through inputs, which allows Google Assistant to display its responses on the screen while streaming. It measures 40 inches in length, so it takes up a bit of real estate but it’s not obtrusive. The sound bar houses a pair of 0.8-inch tweeters and four “racetrack” drivers that measure 1.7 inches by 3.2 inches. A 100 watt amplifier powers the speakers. The sound bar comes with a Toslink optical audio input, so you can use it with TVs or receivers that don’t have HDMI, but if you’re looking to stream Android TV, you’ll need that HDMI cable. The sound bar is also Chromecast compatible and it supports Bluetooth if you’re wanting to play music from a smartphone or other mobile device. Alternatively, there’s a 3.5mm analog stereo input if you have other audio gear you prefer to use.
The JBL Link Bar is priced at $599.95. It’s not going to compete with a full-blown sound system, but the quality is good enough that unless you’re exceedingly picky, you’ll be more than pleased. Plus the addition of having both Android TV and Google Assistant makes it a good investment.