+ Thursday September 19th, 2019

It’s been the subject of a few delays over more than a year, but JBL’s website now shows the Link Bar in stock and ready to ship – if you’re in the USA.

Link Bar dazzled us with a simple idea in 2018 – your HDMI-connected soundbar could actually be your TV’s “smart” heart rather than just occupying the HDMI-ARC port, and Android TV could run it all, paired up with the powerful booming sound performance we’ve come to expect from JBL.

Link Bar ends up a little different to your standard soundbar. It’s got multiple HDMI inputs to switch between, and its own ARC port potentially allowing other devices to control it – just like your TV. There’s no antenna input for live TV though.

It was a great idea. It still is a great idea, it’s just… well, it’s just been so long. In the time between we’ve seen a number of other soundbars launch at the Link Bar’s target price point. I’m not sure I find the Link Bar as compelling as I once did. My own TV has a Sonos Beam under it, and a Roku-powered Telstra TV box running all my streaming apps, and I’m not really looking to change any of that.

Link Bar is only on JBL’s USA site at the moment, listed at USD$400. We’re enquiring with JBL’s local reps about an Australian release.

Source: JBL.
Via: 9to5Google.

Jason Murray   Assistant Editor

Jason Murray

Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!

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Colin Jones
Ausdroid Reader

Yeah… Pass! Yet another manufacturer that doesn’t put real specs out. So doesn’t say what version of Android TV, probably 7! Or more importantly, what CPU and RAM, could easily be a bottom end single core with half a gig so you’re stuck forever using something that takes over half a second to respond to every remote button press! Largely irrelevant anyway – complete show stopper, the Chromecast built in is audio only. And the specs are deliberately written to obfuscate that fact. Highly deceptive. Sub woofer is optional, and at that price?! Overall it’s clear they are selling a… Read more »

Jeni Skunk
Ausdroid Reader

What’s the point in writing about this when it’s STILL not yet confirmed for Australian availability?

Les
Guest
Les

The JBL Link Bar looks like a great idea.

Putting the smart stuff in the sound bar makes more sense than putting it in the TV.

The Link Bar then becomes the central switcher of content, that is voice commanded, and will work even when the TV is off.

Katie
Guest
Katie

I have been waiting since I/O 2018 for this! But I have tried some Android TV solutions in the interim and haven’t been that impressed. Still might lash out for this if the reviews are good and getting one to Australia isn’t too horrendous.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Hi Katie,
Have you tried the Nvidia Shield? There’s a new model of it also expected later this year which I expect will be higher sought after.

Katie
Guest
Katie

I was going to give it a try but then saw this since the Nvidia has been out for a while, if there is a new version though I might wait and compare the two!

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