Google today revealed that it has teamed up with JBL to develop a new hybrid soundbar that’s going to double as an Android TV-powered set-top box as well. It’s called the JBL Link Bar and it’s going to be an audio hub for the living room. Not only will it be the kind of soundbar that one would expect get from a company like JBL, it will also run Android TV which means it will power a smart TV experience for TVs. The JBL Link Bar is even going to come with Google Assistant integration so that users can easily control it using voice commands.
This is the first device of its kind and it’s not going to be the last. Google says that the JBL Link Bar is the “first in a series of hybrid devices that delivers a full Assistant speaker and Android TV experience.” This means that Google will be teaming up with companies other than JBL to launch similar products down the line as well.
It’s also interesting to note that aside from using “Hey Google” voice commands to control media playback, it will also be possible to give Assistant voice commands to play music from the hybrid soundbar even when the TV is powered off. It’s going to hook up to a TV over HDMI with input switching through voice so that users can easily jump between sources.
No pricing information has been revealed at this point in time but Google did say that JBL will start selling the Link Bar later this year in the fall.