JBL Link Bar soundbar with built-in Android TV will be released in Spring 2019 for $400

The JBL Link Bar, which was announced last May at Google I/O, is an interesting device that puts a full-fledged Android TV media player into a soundbar. Despite rumors of a Fall 2018 release, the company wasn’t able to release the $399.95 soundbar and optional $299.95 subwoofer before the year ended. JBL has now announced at CES 2019 that the Link Bar will be available some time this Spring. The 100-watt soundbar will double as a Google Assistant smart speaker, thanks to its far-field microphones, and house 3 HDMI ports for input switching.

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JBL Link Bar possibly started out as a simpler product with proprietary voice control

Google and JBL have teamed up to release an interesting home entertainment device called the JBL Link Bar that combines a TV soundbar, Android TV set-top box, and smart speaker into one product. While trying to learn more about the device, I found this PDF on JBL’s European site and this JBL webpage (cached by Google), that has since been taken down, describing the JBL Link Bar as a voice-controlled soundbar that uses “Hey JBL” as its wake word. It does not appear as though this original JBL Link Bar was ever released, but it may be closely related to the upcoming Link Bar running Android TV. Read more ›

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JBL to release a soundbar that is also an Android TV box and Google Home speaker

It turned out that the new Android TV pendant that leaked last month is only going to be available to developers, but all is not lost for those eager to see new consumer hardware running Android TV. JBL has announced the JBL Link Bar which is a mishmash of several home entertainment devices in one. At its core, it’s a soundbar that connects to your television, but it is also a full-fledged Android TV set-top box. Additionally, thanks to its far-field microphones and its Google Assistant capabilities, it’s essentially a smart speaker as well that closely mimics the functionality of a Google Home. Read more ›

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