It only took 14 months for the JBL Link Bar to launch with Android TV and Google Assistant in tow

It only took 14 months for the JBL Link Bar to launch with Android TV and Google Assistant in tow
The world's first soundbar with built-in Android TV and Google Assistant functionality was formally unveiled in May 2018, put up for pre-order several months later, and... indefinitely delayed in October. More than a year after its original announcement and with pretty much all that initial buzz vanished, the JBL Link Bar is finally "in stock and ready to ship" at the time of this writing from its manufacturer's official US e-store.

Still priced at $399.95, which might seem a little excessive at first glance, the 100-watt powerhouse is decidedly feature-packed and incredibly versatile, doing a lot more than just filling your living room with JBL's "legendary sound." The Android TV-powered soundbar can essentially perform the standard duties of a smart speaker and set-top box as well, controlling your smart home, wirelessly streaming music from smartphones or tablets, and also featuring access to tons of convenient entertainment apps and services.

The native Google Assistant integration means you can search your favorite programs with your voice, while a single cable is required to connect the JBL Link Bar to any TV set and make it significantly smarter. Speaking of cables and ports, you should know this bad boy comes with three HDMI inputs and an HDMI ARC output, easily turning into a 4K entertainment hub for video or gaming devices. 

All in all, this is definitely not what we'd call a mainstream, mass-oriented Android TV device, but we're pretty certain it's still going to appeal to quite a few hardcore fans of the Google ecosystem that can afford it, understand its many benefits and strengths, and can overlook this inexplicably long wait for a commercial release.

In case you're wondering, the Link Bar doesn't appear to be available from any third-party retailers in the US just yet, although B&H Photo Video is accepting pre-orders without committing to a firm shipping date.

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5 Comments

1. hemedans

Posts: 758; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Xiaomi had mi tv bar since 2016? Why you call this world first?

2. scarface21173

Posts: 700; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Did it have official Android TV built in.

3. hemedans

Posts: 758; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Yes Xiaomi is one Of the first OEM to include Android TV in it's Device. Search YouTube "MI BAR Android" for videos.

4. scarface21173

Posts: 700; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Yeah i looked it up on youtube, its not Android TV.

5. Wizzz

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 16, 2013

GAME KNOWS GAME, GAME RECOGNIZES GAME, HANDS DOWN! No DTS:X, DTS Natural:X, DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD, Dolby Atmos or Dolby Vision, it supports none of these video/audio formats and they want $399.00 for a Android TV box with a sound bar with just stereo! Just sell me beach front property at the North Pole with FREE$$$ ice ..!

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