JBL’s LINK BAR soundbar incorporates Google Assistant and Android TV, coming “Fall 2018”

Google I/O hasn’t kicked off just yet, but the search giant has already given us a taste of things to come with the announcement of the JBL LINK BAR that incorporates both Android TV and Google Assistant into a soundbar that sits beneath your TV. Google has said that this is the “first in a series of hybrid devices,” so it’s likely we’ll be hearing a lot more about this new type of product later today. 

Unlike the NVIDIA SHIELD, you will be able to make full use of Google Assistant regardless of whether the TV is on or already in use. With 4 HDMI ports that likely consists of three in and one out, the LINK BAR supports HDMI switching so it can behave like an AV receiver that you can control with voice commands. There is also optical audio, ethernet socket, Bluetooth, and a 3.5mm audio socket present on the device. Sound wise; Google is said to be quoting a 100W output for the soundbar, which can also connect to JBL’s wireless subwoofers for more power.

When the TV is off, the JBL LINK BAR will work just like your regular Google Home, listening for you to say “Hey, Google” before issuing a command. And just like the other Google Assistant devices, there is a set of four LED lights on the front of the display to show when it is listening.

If the video above is anything to go by, this could be the push that Android TV has needed. And, by rolling three products into one, Google has singlehandedly tidied up the media cabinet beneath the TV. The only bad news is that Google has given a “Fall 2018” release date, which is a few months away. As for price, it’s likely that the JBL LINK BAR will cost you up to $400, when it is eventually available to purchase.

What do you think of the JBL LINK BAR?

Source: Google (Twitter)

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About the Author: Peter Holden

He's been an Android fan ever since owning an HTC Hero, with the Dell Streak being his first phablet. He currently carries a Pixel 2 XL, Huawei P20 Pro, and a Huawei MediaPad M5 (8.4) in his pockets and thinks nothing of lugging a 17-inch laptop around in his backpack. When not immersed in the world of Android and gadgets, he's an avid sports fan, and like all South Africans, he loves a good Braai (BBQ).