If you have been waiting to get your hands on the Android TV-powered JBL Link Bar, it looks like the time has finally come as the device is now listed on the company’s website as “in stock” and “ready to ship.”
This marks a notable end to the period which has seen the device delayed and delayed and delayed. Those placing an order today can expect to receive the Link Bar within the next few days, according to JBL.
The JBL Link Bar was first announced in May 2018 and was due to become available in the fall of the same year.
In spite of the unit’s release appearing to be on track following the option to pre-order going live in August of 2018, by October the first indications the Link Bar was encountering a delay had surfaced. This was then followed by an official update confirmation in January of 2019 stating it would arrive to market in the spring. However, about a month later reports started to emerge once again citing a new delay and suggesting it would be mid-to-late summer before the device actually became available.
Barring any sudden reversals, it looks like the Link Bar is finally now available. That is, through JBL or Harman Audio, as third-party retailers including Amazon and B&H Photo have yet to switch on their availability.
Besides the repeated delays, one of the reasons this device has garnered so much attention is its unique design and use case. In the simplest of terms, this is yet another soundbar option that you can hook up to your TV for a better listening experience.
What makes it different, however, is the Link Bar also comes with Android TV built-in. Therefore, anyone looking to pick up this unit will immediately be able to take advantage of the app-optimized TV experience offered by the Android TV platform without having to purchase any additional hardware.
As this is Android TV, it also means the Google Assistant is included in the package as well and one that potentially oversees any and all devices connected via the HDMI inputs. In other words, this is marketed as a one-stop solution for those in need of a streaming TV platform, a smart assistant that can also control compatible smart home products, and of course, an actual improved listening experience in general.
All of this in one package does not come cheap as the JBL Link Bar is priced at just shy of $400 in the U.S. This price rises considerably if you want to heighten the low-end as well due to the baseline price not including a separate subwoofer - adding one of them to the package ups the cost by a further $300.
All-in this is currently one of the most expensive implementations of Android TV outside of actual TV sets that come with the same technology built-in. What’s more, the delays the unit has encountered up until now are likely to have raised warning flags for some buyers who may decide this first-generation device is not quite worth the asking price.
Especially considering that in spite of the many delays there hasn’t really been any official explanation given as to why the device’s release kept getting pushed back in the first place.