JBL’s latest soundbar is the audio company’s first to support Dolby Atmos, and it’s taking a novel approach to its rear speakers that might make it a more convenient device for your living room. Rather than relying on running cables to your rear speakers, or using wireless rear speakers that need to be plugged into the wall for power, the JBL Bar 9.1 has entirely wireless, battery-powered rear speakers.
The two speakers charge by being plugged into the main soundbar unit, but when you want to use them, you can detach them and place them behind where you’re sitting. JBL reckons you’ll get 10 hours of playback from a single charge, which should be more than enough time to make it through most movie marathons or Netflix binges. Both the soundbar and rear speakers include upward-firing drivers that bounce sound off the ceiling to make it sound like it’s coming from above you.
If you want to stream content to the soundbar, then you’ve got a choice of Bluetooth, as well as Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2. In addition to Dolby Atmos, the bar also supports the Dolby Vision HDR standard. Along with the soundbar and detachable rear speakers, there’s also a 10-inch powered subwoofer as part of the system.
The JBL Bar 9.1 will be available starting in Spring 2020 for $999.95 in the US.
Update January 6th, 12:40PM ET: JBL has issued a correction on its press release to say the JBL Bar 9.1 will cost $999.95 in the US, not $899.95 as originally stated.