Android TV Comes to Soundbars

JBL this week announced the first TV soundbar to offer an Android TV experience, complete with Google Assistant support.

“With Android TV now available on soundbars, you can turn your TV into a smart TV,” Google’s Matt Crowley noted. “In addition, Android TV soundbars come with Chromecast built-in. This allows you to instantly stream, cast and view additional content, such as movies, shows, videos and photos from your phone on the big screen for everyone to enjoy.”

“The JBL Link Bar gives consumers an intuitive way to enjoy an amazing viewing experience, along with powerful, rich sound,” Harman president Dave Rogers said in a prepared statement (Harman owns the JBL brand). “We believe in having technology seamlessly integrate with your life, and the Link Bar is a natural progression of that philosophy.”

The JBL Link Bar is exactly what it sounds like: It’s an all-on soundbar—OK, you can add an optional subwoofer as well—that provides Android TV, Google Assistant, and Chromecast capabilities via a one-cable connection to a TV. It also provides three HDMI inputs for adding additional devices, plus an HDMI ARC output.

The JBL Link Bar costs $400. The optional subwoofer is $300. Both are available at and at retail.

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  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    24 July, 2019 - 4:50 am

    <p>The problem is, soundbars, like TVs themselves, are something that you are likely to still be using in 10 – 15 years time, but the AndroidTV probably won't be updated after about 18 months or 2 years…</p><p>I can see my currently "smart" TV becoming a plain old dumb TV, with no network connection within the next year, when Sony stop pushing out their (admittedly now, even sporadic) updates…</p><p>That is the biggest problem I see with IoT in general, these a products that we have traditionally have used for decades at a time and were cheap, but we are suddenly replacing it all with more expensive, "smart" versions that won't be save to use after the 18 months to 2 years. The current neon tube in the garage has started flickering after 20 years of use and I need to get a new one. I won't be replacing it with a more expensive, smart light, because the replacement neon tube costs less than $10 and will last another 20 years, a smart replacement will probably costs at least 3 times as much and will be "useless" after 18 months.</p><p>If they can guarantee security updates for the 10 to 20 year life of the product, I'll think about using smart products, but until then, I'll be sticking with "dumb" products, for the most part, and putting a cheap black boxes, like a FireTV in the chain where applicable.</p><p>We had to replace our dishwasher recently, the old died after 15 years of service. The first criteria my wife had was, that it shouldn't be smart! It was actually hard to find a good quality, high end dishwasher without "smarts". We went with a nice Miele unit in the end. It doesn't automatically order new wash tabs, salt etc. we can't turn it on when we are out (but, there again, we can't put the dirty dishes in or add a new wash tab when we are out and about either), but it does wash the dirty dishes very well.</p>

    • nicholas_kathrein

      Premium Member
      24 July, 2019 - 11:43 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#444662">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>Updates seem to depend on the brand. My Shield TV is still getting updates. No you can't count on it but it's a nice to have while it does get updates.</p>

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        25 July, 2019 - 12:41 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#444743">In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:</a></em></blockquote><p>But the Shield TV makes some sense, it is a box that does streaming TV and apps, "nothing" else. That sort of electronics you would expect to replace in 2 – 5 years. A TV, fridge etc. are devices you generally buy at most every 10 years, when not 20. My old Sony WEGA TV with tube was given to a young family just starting out, when we moved and there was no place for such a big monster, they were very grateful and, after 20 years, it is still working. If that had been "smart", it would probably have been disconnected from the network for 18 of those years.</p><p>Tell me in another 5 years that the Shield is still getting updates and I'll be impressed. ;-)</p>

  • RonH

    Premium Member
    24 July, 2019 - 3:00 pm

    <p>I don't want my TV to be smart. I want what I connect to it to be smart. </p>


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