Neither Google Assistant nor Android TV is exactly new. You’d see one or the other in this or that new smart product. In fact, Google Assistant is pretty much part and parcel of the Android TV experience. But what about a non-TV Android TV with Google Assistant device? Well, that’s the rather unconventional proposition that the JBL Link Bar made with the first ever Google Assistant-enabled Android TV soundbar. With pre-orders now starting, it’s finally time to see whether people will actually buy that idea.
The JBL Link Bar is deceptive in appearance and name. Unless you look closely or read pieces like this, you’ll pretty much presume it’s a plain ol’ soundbar made by JBL. On closer inspection, however, the inconspicuous Google Assistant logo on top hints at what it truly is: a smart TV without the TV.
Instead of simply providing better quality audio to a smart TV, the JBL Link Bar is the one that actually brings the smarts to the TV. Along with the better quality audio, of course. Depending on your choice of smart TV platforms, Android TV may or may have all that you need and want in connected entertainment.
That said, it’s really all about Google Assistant, to be perfectly honest. With this JBL product, you’re practically getting a soundbar, a Google Home, and an Android TV all rolled into one. All you need is an actual TV.
The JBL Link Bar will set you back $399.95. Definitely not cheap but if you have a favorite non-smart TV you’re reluctant to let go of, it’s still a cheaper option than buying all of the pieces mentioned above. You can pre-order one now from B&H Photo with shipping scheduled to start on October 16.