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Speakers

JBL Link Bar brings Google Assistant, better TV sound for $400

JBL has partnered with Google on a sound bar that offers both voice control and Android TV streaming apps.

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In advance of Google I/O, Google and JBL have announced the JBL Link Bar, a sound bar that builds on previous Google Assistant collaborations such as the Link 300 and adds in media streaming. You can now preorder it for $400  (which directly coverts to about £310 and AU$545), at least from B&H, which expects it to become available in the middle of October.

For the amount of smart functionality onboard, including the number of HDMI ports, we expected it would cost in the region of $700 to $800 (about £550 or AU$1,000). So at almost half that, it looks like it'll be a great value.

The JBL Link Bar is an HDMI sound bar and it can control smart home devices and your TV via voice control. It offers three HDMI ports as well as streaming content via Google's own Android TV.

According to Variety, the companies will make a separate subwoofer that connects via built-in Chromecast, which means you can use it for the sound bar or any other compatible speaker on your network. 

Meanwhile, the Link Bar has at least two competitors on the horizon. The first is the Polk Command Bar, which is due midyear for $299 and incorporates an Echo Dot ($20 at Amazon) in the center. The second -- a rumored Sonos sound bar with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on board -- is expected to be announced in San Francisco in June.

First published May 7, 2018 at 9:49 a.m. PT.
Update Aug. 21 at 6:29 a.m. PT: Added price and availability information.

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