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JBL Link Bar Voice-Activated Smart Soundbar with Android TV & Google Assistant (99,96$ or 92,96$)

[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 28, 2013
810 posts
1209 upvotes
Scarborough, ONT

[The Source] JBL Link Bar Voice-Activated Smart Soundbar with Android TV & Google Assistant (99,96$ or 92,96$)

The Source has the JBL Link bar on discount, for 99,96$ or 92,96$ (with PSP).

Info on PSP:
https://www.thesource.ca/en-ca/psp

Examples of partners:
  • Venngo
  • Goodlife
  • Bell customers
  • Bell employees
https://www.thesource.ca/en-ca/brands/j ... /108085041

IMO, this is a pretty good deal, MSRP is around 550, definitely overinflated but at 100, this is totally worth it. It's basically a Chromecast with audio. It comes with Android TV to make your TV "smarter".

JBL website's details on the soundbar:
https://ca.jbl.com/JBL+LINK+BAR-.html

CNET reviews:
https://www.cnet.com/reviews/jbl-link-bar-review/

Not the best score, but for the price, not complaining.
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59 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2010
1053 posts
878 upvotes
Does it have USB to run external local storage under Android TV?
Zoomer: 1 account for family and planning to leave for good in 2023
Koodo too: for a phone and locked to 24 months but was a good deal.
Sr. Member
Sep 28, 2015
784 posts
649 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
Seems to have a very useful feature: HDMI 4K passthrough with 3 in and 1 out (with ARC) and according to Rtings it supports HDR10 passthrough too. So if you TV only has one HDMI HDR input this could be very helpful.

But the issue with smart speakers is that firmware needs to be stable and updated. It does not like JBL will continue to update the software though, and I read some negative comments regarding the stability of the firmware.
Sr. Member
Nov 24, 2006
513 posts
285 upvotes
london
For under $100, this is a good soundbar if you are purchasing primarily for audio purposes. The audio reviews are generally positive. Likely better sounding then the refurbished Bose sound bar so many people on RFD were raving about a few months ago
Last edited by shaolin_x on Oct 17th, 2021 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Guru
Mar 1, 2002
10209 posts
7165 upvotes
Toronto
Reviews are pretty rough, could get it just for the speaker. Dedicated Fire Stick / CC if you want something that works down the road.
Sr. Member
Dec 25, 2012
746 posts
517 upvotes
Kingston
I think this is a great deal at $93. Most of the bad reviews focus around the slow Google assistant. As a sound bar they say it sounds great and I’m a big fan of Google TV. I use an Nvidia Shield on my main TV and currently a Firestick in the bedroom. Was just about to order another firestick for the bathroom TV but instead I’ll use this in the bedroom and move the firestick to the bathroom.
Penalty Box
Mar 23, 2004
30130 posts
10901 upvotes
Angultra wrote: Reviews are pretty rough, could get it just for the speaker. Dedicated Fire Stick / CC if you want something that works down the road.
Keep in mind the reviews are likely also largely affected by the insane reg. price. At 80% off, people might change their tune? I dunno I bought one, apparently the sound is quite good for its size. There's an optional "subwoofer" though unless one can find a similar deal on it, probably not worth getting.

I'm guessing this is a clearance deal, so probably shouldn't dilly-dally on it.
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2008
1124 posts
429 upvotes
Abbotsford
I probably don't need this, but couldn't resist for the price. Thanks OP

I'm curious how the good the android TV is on this device
Penalty Box
Mar 23, 2004
30130 posts
10901 upvotes
FrostyButters wrote: I probably don't need this, but couldn't resist for the price. Thanks OP

I'm curious how the good the android TV is on this device
I believe the Android TV is fine, it's just trying to control it by voice which is seriously messed up--reports of it taking upwards of 10s (!) to respond to a voice command. Don't use it for that (Assistant) and I think you'll be fine.
Sr. Member
Apr 27, 2013
587 posts
866 upvotes
Good deal OP. Don't forget Rakuten 4% on Audio.
Deal Addict
Oct 12, 2008
2224 posts
4796 upvotes
Markham
What a great price, but there are serious drawbacks to this soundbar, even if you're intending to just use it for sound: https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/3/2088 ... s-features

I'm going to take a pass on it (turning on the TV even when I just want to listen to music is a deal breaker), but thanks for sharing an awesome deal OP!
Deal Addict
Feb 2, 2017
1438 posts
1582 upvotes
its not good cause it only works like 40% of the time so you have to pray that its your lucky day that it will turn on. And the sound isn't good. the mic also sucks and it will only here u sometimes

Also android tv is super slow, it has 4gb but doesn't even have usb

Its only saving grace is 4k passthrough so its basically like having a 4k60 hdmi splitter/switcher which is hard to find
Last edited by l1197493 on Oct 17th, 2021 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Newbie
May 23, 2017
30 posts
40 upvotes
Thanks OP. Bought one for myself and one for the parents. They'll be more than happy with it and as long as it's good enough for me I'll keep mine too.
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2008
1124 posts
429 upvotes
Abbotsford
ES_Revenge wrote: I believe the Android TV is fine, it's just trying to control it by voice which is seriously messed up--reports of it taking upwards of 10s (!) to respond to a voice command. Don't use it for that (Assistant) and I think you'll be fine.
Thanks.

Anyone know if this device receives regular Android TV updates?
Deal Addict
Feb 2, 2017
1438 posts
1582 upvotes
the last update was maybe 6 months ago, but the thing is super slow, like 1/2 the speed of Amazon Fire Stick. It even choked on apps like IPTV Smarters. And the assistant isn't functional most of the time so it's better to assume there is no voice control because u might be sitting there for a long time. I think its a combination of a bad mic and it being super slow
Newbie
Jul 26, 2020
11 posts
7 upvotes
How's the sound quality? Is it good for just being a "sound bar"?
Penalty Box
Mar 23, 2004
30130 posts
10901 upvotes
I'm guessing this thing is discontinued hence it being NLA on JBL's site (Canada) and the pricing here. Probably not going to be many/if any future updates. It's on Android 9 I believe but it seems the Achilles heel was the SoC they selected for this--AMLogic S905X--apparently a lot of devices with this SoC have some degree of "issues" with things ranging from CEC problems to just being somewhat limited in processor power. This was probably never a good selection for Google Assistant, they probably just released software with it in there, without the hardware being up to snuff.

Still I think as long as it works fine with you device(s) and TV, and you don't use the voice, it should be good. At the price, one can't complain too much and surely you can return it easily if it don't work out too good.

I don't think it's too easy to find better SQ for the money though. Add in the Android TV and the closest competitor is probably the Roku Streambar Pro, which they don't sell in Canada for some reason. The regular Roku Streambar (the small one) is much worse for sound, and goes for $150 CAD when it's on sale, which is still 50% more than this.
Deal Addict
Aug 21, 2007
3008 posts
2972 upvotes
Which subwoofer works with it? Is it even possible to buy it still?

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