The Google Assistant powers a wide array of devices such as smartphones, smartwatches and smart speakers to name just a few. Google has now added yet another device form factor to the digital assistant’s repertoire – an intelligent soundbar. Google has partnered with JBL to create the JBL Link Bar, a sound bar that comes with Google Assistant integration and also doubles as a full-fledged Android TV box
Announced ahead of Google I/O 2018, the Link Bar is a smart home entertainment device which promises to deliver the high-quality audio experience that is a hallmark of JBL, and blends it with the plethora of features that come courtesy of Google Assistant and Android TV.
The Link Bar is claimed to be the first soundbar that can function as an Android TV set-top box and comes with Google Assistant integration. The new device comes with far-field voice control technology, thanks to a set-up of two integrated microphones, which allows the Link Bar to easily recognize voice commands even from a distance and accomplish the required task. The Link Bar connects to a TV via an HDMI cable, and once both the devices are linked, users can take full advantage of the Google Assistant and also stream their favorite content from different platforms.
A simple ‘Hey Google’ voice command will activate the virtual assistant and will allow users to perform a host of tasks like powering on their TV, play music from a streaming service like Pandora, watch videos on YouTube, Netflix, etc. and do a lot more via voice commands. And just in case you’re wondering, 4K HDR video streaming is also on board, and there is a remote controller too. When the connected TV is turned off, the Link Bar switches to smart speaker mode and functions in the same fashion as the Google Home smart speaker. It also comes with a mute button to shut down the voice recognition sensors.
The device comes with 3 HDMI ports, a service port, an optical in port, an analog audio in port, Ethernet and an ARC HDMI port as well as Bluetooth to handle connectivity. Pricing and availability details are not known yet, but according to a report from The Verge, the JBL Link Bar is expected to go on sale later this fall.