Facebook pursues Disney, Netflix support for TV video chat device – report

Facebook Portal
Facebook's rumored new streaming device will use the same camera technology as the company's Portal devices. (Facebook)

Facebook is reportedly building its own streaming TV device that supports video chat, and the company is looking for support from major streaming video players.

According to The Information, the device (codename: Catalina) will have a remote and function similar to streaming boxes from companies such as Apple, Amazon and Roku. But, it will also incorporate a camera that uses the same technology as Facebook’s Portal devices, allowing users to make video calls from their connected televisions.

Facebook reportedly is planning a fall release for the device. The company is talking with Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO about launching their video streaming services on the device.

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Facebook’s plans for a new streaming device seem to have been in the works for a while now. Cheddar reported in October 2018 that Facebook was working on a camera-equipped device for connected TV video streaming combined with video calling.

While the device is new, the concept and functionality already exists on the Facebook Portal and Portal+. The devices come with a co-watching feature that will allow users to together remotely watch content from Facebook Watch. The devices also support co-watching on Food Network, CNN, Fox News and ABC News Live.

As Facebook prepares to potentially wade further into the world of streaming media devices, the company also is focusing on growing the audience for its Facebook Watch video platform. Earlier this month Facebook announced new monetization options for Watch, including new ad formats and payment opportunities.

In June, about one year after the company took Facebook Watch international, the company said there are more than 720 million people monthly and 140 million people daily who spend at least one minute in Watch. Daily visitors average more than 26 minutes in Watch every day.