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JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam

“This single-speaker soundbar is the easiest way to add Dolby Atmos to your TV.”

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Dolby Atmos
  • AirPlay
  • Chromecast
  • No EQ settings
  • Bass can’t compete with subwoofers
MSRP $350.00

As the soundbar category rapidly grows, with more and more options and prices, there’s a tendency for these devices to get complicated. Wireless subwoofers, satellite surround speakers, and even voice assistants are all part of the mix now, making your purchase decision harder than ever.

The $350 JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is, by comparison, relatively simple and affordable, and yet it’s still packed with useful features and solid sound quality. Best of all, it offers one of the easiest ways to dip your toes into Dolby Atmos, the immersive, 3D surround sound format that is rapidly becoming a standard for both streaming movies and streaming music.

Is it the right soundbar for you? Let’s check it out.

What’s in the box?

JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam box contents
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

JBL throws in everything you need: The soundbar, a power cable, an HDMI cable, a slender remote with two AA batteries, a set of wall-mount brackets with a mounting template, and a quick-start guide. There’s one small foam wrapper that protects the soundbar, but the majority of the packaging is recyclable.

Design

JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is easy to like: At 27.9-inches wide and 2.4-inches tall, it’s very compact for a home theater soundbar and should be able to sit in front of most TVs without obscuring the bottom of the screen.

Its satin-finish black plastic housing disappears entirely when the lights go down and barely draws any attention to itself when the lights are on. To me, that’s the ideal design for a soundbar.

There are four top-mounted controls for power, volume, and source selection, but you’ll likely end up using the included remote most of the time.

Far too many soundbars require that you give up one of your TV’s HDMI ports, but not the Bar 5.0.

Hidden behind the speaker grille is an LED display that actually scrolls full-text messages or numbers so you can see exactly what’s going on (unlike some soundbars from Vizio, which use a series of colored dots). There’s no way to adjust the display’s brightness, but it automatically turns itself off within a few seconds of any settings changes, so it won’t be a distraction while watching your shows or movies.

The remote is a bare-bones affair. Ultra-lightweight, and with only a handful of buttons, it’s easy to use and comfortable to hold.

My only small gripe is that the labels are small and there’s no backlight, so you may have to spend a few moments memorizing what the buttons do so you can use them when it’s dark.

Controls and connections

JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam controls
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Around the back of the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam, you’ll find a USB port that can be used for music playback from hard drives or flash drives. It also pumps out 5 volts at 5 milliamps, which might just be enough to power a streaming stick like an Amazon Fire TV Stick or a Roku device.

You’ll also need to use the USB port for doing firmware updates. Given that the soundbar can connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, I don’t know why JBL forces you to use the USB port, but I guess you can’t have everything at this price.

There’s an optical input and a pair of HDMI ports. This is a nice touch: Far too many soundbars require that you give up one of your TV’s HDMI ports for their HDMI ARC or eARC connection, and they don’t provide an HDMI input to make up for it.

The Bar 5.0’s HDMI input can passthrough 4K and Dolby Vision HDR, which is exactly what you’ll need if you want to connect a streaming media device that can accommodate these video formats.

As I indicated above, the soundbar can connect to Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz bands), and it has Bluetooth 4.2 for receiving audio streams from a phone, tablet, or other Bluetooth devices.

JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam ports
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Using these wireless capabilities is entirely optional and won’t affect the Bar 5.0’s basic functionality in any way. JBL doesn’t make a smartphone app for this soundbar, so even if you do set up Wi-Fi, it won’t give you any extra settings or controls.

Getting going with the Bar 5.0 couldn’t be easier.

However, I do strongly recommend setting up Wi-Fi, as it offers far better sound quality for music streaming than Bluetooth. More on that later.

If your home Wi-Fi isn’t especially good, or you happen to have an Ethernet cable nearby, there’s an Ethernet port, too.

Setting up

JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam with remote
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Getting going with the Bar 5.0 couldn’t be easier. Plug it into your TV’s HDMI ARC or eARC port with the included HDMI cable, then plug it into a power outlet, and you’re done. If your TV doesn’t support HDMI ARC, you’ll need to buy an optical cable. If you go the optical cable route, keep in mind that you’ll be limited to Dolby Digital 5.1 audio from your TV, because Dolby Atmos isn’t compatible with optical connections.

JBL has designed the Bar 5.0 to be compatible with all three major wireless smart home ecosystems, which is brilliant.

But don’t be too alarmed: If you plug an Apple TV 4K, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, or any other streamer that supports Dolby Atmos into the soundbar’s HDMI input, you can still get Dolby Atmos sound — you simply won’t get it from any sources that are plugged into your TV directly.

Chromecast, AirPlay, and Alexa

JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam display
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

JBL has designed the Bar 5.0 to be compatible with all three major wireless smart home ecosystems, which is brilliant. Better yet, you aren’t forced to choose one; the soundbar can be added to Google Home, Apple Home, and the Alex app, and you can switch back and forth between all three if you choose. Most folks will pick just one.

I found it only took a minute or two to add the Bar 5.0 to Google Home so that I could use Chromecast, and setting it up as an AirPlay 2 speaker took only seconds.

Going through this process is easy and totally worth it for the improved audio quality but it’s also very handy if you already own a smart speaker. The Bar 5.0 won’t let you talk to Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, but it can be controlled by all three if you have another way to issue voice commands.

Sound quality

JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam delivers clear, well-balanced sound that can easily fill a medium-sized bedroom or living space. A simple and easy room calibration function lets the soundbar adjust its settings to match your room’s specific acoustic properties.

Unfortunately, even though you can adjust the Bar 5.0’s bass properties, there are no other EQ settings for the treble or midranges.

But while it’s miles better than your TV speakers, the lack of a dedicated subwoofer means you may need to keep your expectations in check.

All things considered, the bass response is very good. You can adjust the amount of bass via a five-level setting, but even at level five, you won’t get the kind of rumbling low end that we tend to associate with dedicated home theater systems.

It’s not a deal breaker by any means. There’s still more than enough power in the low end to enjoy action movie soundtracks. It can even surprise you at times: In an early scene in Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise Of Skywalker, Kylo Ren has his first meeting with Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine’s voice resonates with otherworldly power and seems to come from all around the room. It’s thrilling and lets you believe that Ren might just be a little intimidated by Palpatine’s menacing presence despite his show of bravado.

Unfortunately, even though you can adjust the Bar 5.0’s bass properties, there are no other EQ settings for the treble or midranges. Likewise, there are no preset sound modes for movies, music, speech enhancement, or nighttime, which have become fairly standard on the newest soundbars.

As a result, the louder you push the volume, the more shrill the higher frequencies become, and there’s not much you can do to fine-tune it. I found level 19 on the volume scale to be the sweet spot. It’s loud enough to really immerse you in the content, without getting painfully sharp in the highs.

One of the Bar 5.0’s highlight features is its support for Dolby Atmos. Technically speaking, it uses Virtual Dolby Atmos, which means that instead of possessing up-firing drivers that bounce Atmos’ signature height channel sounds at you, the soundbar’s five racetrack-style drivers combine to create a simulated height effect.

No, it’s not as effective as a dedicated Dolby Atmos soundbar like the Sonos Arc, but you can definitely tell the difference, especially when you toggle the Virtual Dolby Atmos processing on and off using the remote.

With Virtual Atmos on, the soundstage becomes wider and taller. Sounds don’t quite zip around the room the way they would with dedicated Atmos speakers, but it really is a more immersive experience than you’d get with a non-Atmos-capable soundbar.

Speaking of Atmos, I strongly recommend finding a way to stream Dolby Atmos Music to the Bar 5.0. This is easiest when using an Apple TV 4K.  Not only does the Tidal app deliver Atmos Music (if you subscribe to Tidal’s HiFi tier), but soon, the Apple Music app will do the same.

And listening to Dolby Atmos Music tracks is a joy.

As an experiment, I played The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights four ways using Tidal: First with Bluetooth, then with Chromecast, then with AirPlay, and finally a Dolby Atmos Music version via the Apple TV 4K.

Over Bluetooth, the track sounded thin and even a bit tinny. I found this was true of all Bluetooth streams regardless of the source. Chromecast introduced a big bump in quality, and I could hear the full range of the song. AirPlay actually sounded better still. But the most satisfying version was the Dolby Atmos Music mix, which took full advantage of the soundbar’s immersive capabilities.

When chilling on the couch listening to your favorite tunes, it’s hard to beat a Dolby Atmos mix.

Our take

The JBL Bar 5.0 is well-priced and has a great set of useful features. It lacks the ability to adjust its EQ, and it can’t compete with systems that have dedicated subwoofers, but I think most people will love the way it adds an extra dimension to their movies and music, especially when presented in Dolby Atmos.

Is there a better alternative?

If you want a more thrilling Dolby Atmos experience, the Vizio M-Series 5.1 multi-speaker soundbar is worth a look. It’s the same price ($350) as the JBL, but it has several components to place around your room, making it a little less convenient. It also lacks Chromecast, AirPlay, and Alexa compatibility.

If Dolby Atmos isn’t as important to you, the slightly more expensive Bose Smart Soundbar 300 offers higher-quality sound, especially for music, and has the added benefit of working as an Alexa or Google Assistant smart speaker.

But if you want the simplicity of a single speaker with many of the benefits that Dolby Atmos offers (and a wealth of connection options) ,we have yet to find a soundbar that can deliver what the Bar 5.0 Multibeam offers at the same price.

How long will it last?

JBL makes a quality product, and I expect the Bar 5.0 Multibeam will last as long as you need it to. The ability to update its firmware is also a good indicator that JBL will keep its smart features alive for many years to come.

Should you buy it?

Yes. As a simple solution for much better TV sound for small-to-medium-sized rooms, the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is a very solid choice.

Editors’ Recommendations

Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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Technology

iOS 14.7.1 now available with fix for Apple Watch unlock bug

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Apple rolled out iOS 14.7.1 to the public on Monday — exactly one week after iOS 14.7 debuted. This is a minor update that addresses a bug that was introduced in iOS 14.7. As Apple noted, iOS 14.7 “affects the ability of iPhone models with Touch ID to unlock Apple Watch.” Once the update has been applied, this issue should be resolved, and everything should unlock correctly.

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Which devices work with iOS 14.7.1?

If you’re wondering whether or not your device is compatible with iOS 14.7.1 or iPadOS 14.7.1, here’s a full list below with every compatible device. If your device is there, you’re good to go:

  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

Here is Apple’s full list of release notes for iOS 14.7:

  • MagSafe Battery Pack support for iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Apple Card Family adds the option to combine credit limits and share one co-owned account with an existing Apple Card user
  • Home app adds the ability to manage timers on HomePod
  • Air quality information is now available in Weather and Maps for Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, South Korea, and Spain
  • Podcasts library allows you to choose to see all shows or only followed shows
  • Share playlist menu option missing in Apple Music
  • Dolby Atmos and Apple Music lossless audio playback may unexpectedly stop
  • Battery service message that may have disappeared after reboot on some iPhone 11 models is restored
  • Braille displays could show invalid information while composing Mail messages

How to download and install iOS 14.7.1

Installing a new update on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is an incredibly simple process. Navigate to Settings > General > Software Update and then tap “Download and Install” at the bottom of that page. If you prefer, you can also install the update through iTunes by connecting your iOS device to a computer. Whichever method you choose, just make sure to back up your device before installing an update so that you don’t risk losing any of your data during the procedure.

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This pro-grade 4K camera drone is $430 at Amazon, and it beats $800+ rivals

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If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on
our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.

Do you want a professional-grade quadcopter drone from a big-name brand? Sadly, it can easily set you back $1,000 or even more. At best, you’re going to spend $800 if you want decent features and a 3-axis gimbal. That’s one of several reasons why we’re such big fans of the Potensic Dreamer Pro. It’s a relatively new model from a popular brand with a 4K camera and a 3-axis gimbal. Plus, it can easily go toe-to-toe with drones in the $800-$1,000+ range. But instead of having to pay $1,000 or more, this quadcopter retails for a fraction of that sky-high price.

That’s especially true right now, thanks to a surprisingly good deal you can take advantage of for a limited time. Amazon has a coupon you can clip today that will slash the Dreamer Pro from $460 to $429.99. That’s about half what you’ll pay for a comparable drone from the top brand in the quadcopter market. How awesome is that?!

Anyone who knows anything at all about drones can probably name the go-to pro-grade quadcopter drone for amateurs and professionals on a budget. You also know that it costs $800 minimum. It’s a high-quality quadcopter with pretty much all the key features you need. That includes a 4K camera that captures stunning video. Plus, you get a 3-axis gimbal that stabilizes video and still images captured during flight. On top of that, intelligent software and flight features round out the experience.

It should go without saying that not everyone has an extra $800 lying around. Especially not that they’re willing to spend on a drone, no matter how great it is. If you’re looking for a terrific alternative that checks all the same main boxes for much less money, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

Potensic’s Dreamer Pro offers professional-grade quality and features at a fraction of what you’d pay for a comparable model from other companies. You get 28 minutes of flight time per charge, plus a stunning 4K camera with a high-quality Sony sensor. Additionally, you’ll get a 3-axis gimbal for outstanding video and image stabilization. On top of all that, the Dreamer Pro is packed full of smart features that will help with any content you might be shooting. One example is a “follow me” mode that tracks moving objects and people. There’s also a circle mode that flies in a perfect circle around any center point. Path mode lets you draw out a flight pattern the drone will fly on its own. Also, this drone has an impressive 2-kilometer transmission range and so much more.

This excellent Potensic drone is absolutely on par with the market leader and other quadcopters that fall into the $800 – $1,200 price range, yet the Potensic Dreamer Pro 4K camera drone with 3-axis gimbal retails for just $460. That’s about half the price of comparable models from leading brands. Head over to Amazon and pick one up now, however, and you can save an extra $30 thanks to the clippable coupon. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this great deal.

Potensic Dreamer Pro 4K camera drone with 3-axis gimbal Price:$429.99 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Here are the main takeaways you need to know about:

  • The 4K camera with a 1/3-inch SONY CMOS sensor and the 3-axis gimbal combine capture stunning video that is stable and free from shakes and jitters
  • Capture and record aerial footage or stream live to your smartphone with a transmission range of up to 1.24 miles
  • Potensic’s exclusive PowerAC dynamic system creates bursts of 3x power that are great for tricks
  • Advanced stabilization system makes it easy to fly smoothly in still conditions or with a light breeze
  • Includes a 32GB SD card and a special carrying case

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Go here to see this month’s best deals on Amazon!


Follow @BGRDeals on Twitter to keep up with the latest and greatest deals we find around the web. Prices subject to change without notice and any coupons mentioned above may be available in limited supply.

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This stimulus program gets you up to $25,000, but no one seems to know about it

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One of many extraordinary steps the federal government took to combat the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to approving billions of dollars in direct cash payments to Americans, was a temporary ban on the eviction of renters. Additionally, more than one emergency coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress included billions in stimulus rental assistance. Unfortunately, though, there’s evidence that enough Americans still don’t seem to be aware of that fact.

For example, both the stimulus bill that President Biden signed in March and the one President Trump signed in December set aside a total of $46.6 billion in emergency rental assistance stimulus aid. However, a mere $1.5 billion of that was reportedly paid out in June. The stimulus checks certainly have sky-high awareness among members of the public. But let’s take a closer look at this effort which too few people still seem to know about.

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Stimulus rental assistance

First, we should note that the national ban on evictions is set to end on July 31. Meaning, they can resume as normal after that.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition maintains a list of a few hundred rental assistance programs around the country that can help get a chunk of the federal rental assistance stimulus money to people who need it. Generally, you have to be a renter who’s having a hard time paying your rent and/or your utility bills because of the pandemic. Perhaps, for example, the pandemic caused you to lose your job.

The way this funding is supposed to work is that it’s distributed to people in need by over 400 local and state agencies. The problem, however, is that while the problem may be uniform, the response isn’t. For example, all of those agencies in charge of parceling out the stimulus rental assistance have different technology. Many of them also have different staffing levels.

And it’s not clear who ought to be doing a better job of alerting renters to the aid that’s available. Although, what is clear is that someone needs to do so. Because it’s not happening really at all at the moment. Per the Census Bureau, around 7 million households were behind on their rent as of late May. But between April and June, only 550,000 people had received any of this stimulus rental aid.

Additional details

“There is still much further work to do to ensure tenants and landlords take advantage of the historic funding available to help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes,” the US Treasury department said in a recent news release.

Here are some examples of the kind of stimulus rental assistance that’s available. Be aware that things are pretty different from one state to the next. And your local or state housing agency should be consulted from benefits that apply in your area. In Illinois, the state’s Housing Developing Authority is overseeing the administration of $1.5 billion in rental assistance. There, tenants and landlords can apply for grants of up to $25,000 to cover as many as 15 months of rent payments between June of last year through August of this year.

Texas, meanwhile, has been offering help with unpaid rent and utilities going as far back as March 13, 2020. Use the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website to start a search for the housing authority nearest you. That’s where you’ll apply for this funding.

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