JBL Link Bar adds Android TV to any TV
4.3Overall Score
Name: JBL Link Bar
Price (RRP): $599.95 and optional sub-woofer at $399.95
Manufacturer: JBL

The JBL Link Bar adds Android TV to any HDMI equipped TV or even a dumb PC monitor. Oh and the sound is great too.

Why add Android to a TV? Well, the JBL Link Bar is really a 2.0 soundbar with an HDMI ARC connection to a TV or monitor. It adds the latest Android TV OS apps like Netflix, Stan, 7Plus, iView and SBS on demand.

GadgetGuy put the JBL Link Bar through its paces, and it performs very well for the right user.

JBL Link Bar

Website here

Price: 599.95

Content

With Android TV, you can download apps (Australian list here). These include popular subscription streaming apps like Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Foxtel Go as well as free-to-air TV – 10 Play, 7 Plus, ABC iView and SBS OnDemand. There are also specific apps for news, sport and music (Spotify and more).

JBL Link BAR

But a caveat – not all Android TV apps appear to be available – we have reached out to JBL to ask why.

So, from a content perspective, Android TV blitzes the rest – in a very big way. And while the JBL Link Bar does not have a TV tuner you can stream live TV over the Internet (data charges do apply unless you have unlimited packages). Streaming 1080p content requires only 5Mbps so even the lowest NBN tier should suffice for movies and music. JBL, however, recommends at least the 25Mbps NBN tier.

HDMI ARC

Note: for all operations, the Link Bar stays on.

If your TV has an HDMI ARC (audio return channel) port and supports CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) you can control the sound and more from your TV remote.

What this means is when you turn on the free-to-air TV the sound will automatically come from the JBL Link Bar.

But in reverse – you want to display content from the Bar to the TV you have to select the HDMI port on the TV – no big deal as every external box like Roku, Telstra TV, other Android TV boxes etc., needs to do this.

It also supports 10-bit colour (if your TV does).

Sound Quality

The 100W JBL Link Bar is 2.0 – meaning left and right. It has four x 44 x 80mm racetrack drivers and two x 20mm tweeters. There is an optional wireless $399.95, 300W 10-inch sub-woofer (frequency response 35-120Hz) for 2.1 sound.

Volume peaks at 85dB (very loud) with some harshness but is very good at up to 80dB.