Facebook to Launch a TV Chat Device This Year, Might Include Support for Streaming Netflix: Report

Facebook’s Portal device

  • The new device has been code-named Catalina
  • It will come with physical remote
  • Device would allow customers to attach a camera to the top of their TVs

Facebook is launching its own TV streaming service this fall and has reportedly approached Netflix, Disney, Hulu, HBO, and other media companies for a new TV chat device for making video calls from TVs.

According to a report in The Information late Wednesday, the Facebook TV chat device will use the same technology currently available in the company’s video-calling ‘Portal’ devices.

The social networking giant is set to launch an updated version of its video chat device ‘Portal’ later this year.

Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of Facebook’s Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) has confirmed that the company has a lot more to unveil later this fall related to Portal.

According to Bosworth, Facebook would also reveal some new form factor that Portal would be shipped with.

“The new device, code-named Catalina, will also come with physical remote and streaming video services similar to other television boxes like Apple TV,” said the report.

According to Cheddar, the device would allow customers to attach a camera to the top of their TV sets which would eliminate the need of a dedicated video chatting device.

Portal was launched in November 2018. While the smaller device was priced at $199 (roughly Rs. 13,800), the larger “Portal Plus” was made available for $349 (roughly Rs. 24,100) with a 10-inch display and 15-inch display, respectively.

The smart camera-enabled device is also powered by Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa and comes with front cameras.

The Facebook Portal has a 10-inch display, while there is a 15-inch display on the Portal+.

The devices offer hands-free voice control and allow users to start a video call simply by saying “Hey Portal”.

It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recognise people in the frame and follow them as they move throughout a room.