Published: Fri, September 20, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Facebook announces its new camera accessory for your television called Portal TV

Facebook announces its new camera accessory for your television called Portal TV

The Portal TV accessory, which can sit on top of or below your TV, brings "smart video calling to the largest screen in your home".

Despite some poor first-quarter sales this year, too, Facebook has ramped up its plans for the Portal range, expanding to Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom, while adding a Portal TV device to the family that essentially turns your television into one big smart display. Workplace by Facebook has a built-in video calling tool for employee communications.

The Portal TV will sell for $149 starting November 5. It would really have to be for the Portal TV to be a viable streaming device. You won't have to crowd in front of your TV when it's time to call grandma or grandpa.

Last year, the company launched Portal, a smaller device used purely for video chatting.

"I think that in a couple years' time if you have a smart streaming device that doesn't have a camera allowing you to video call people, you're not going to have a competitive product".

"Portal has clear and simple settings for privacy and security". But the preponderance of kid-friendly features clearly suggest that Portal's most likely customers include families separated by distance who want to stay in touch.

Would you be interested in a Facebook Portal device?

Facebook also revealed second-generation smart screen-meets-speaker-thingy, which have been redesigned to look a little more slick, comes in two sizes and supports WhatsApp.

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Well, despite privacy concerns, and many other worries about Facebook collecting personal information, the company is doubling down on their Portal line up with refreshed products, plus a new one that is like a webcam for your TV.

Facebook insists it's not listening to or watching your Portal calls.

"Hey Portal" triggers Facebook's voice assistant in US English only, and "Alexa" triggers Amazon's voice assistant, which connects directly to Amazon's servers and offers the type of services that its Echo smart speakers typical offer. "We've been happy with Portal sales, which is why we are expanding the family of products and distribution internationally." a company spokesperson said. You can also watch Facebook Watch content, including shows like Red Table Talk with the Portal TV.

The Portal TV, Portal and Portal Mini are now available for $149, $179 and $129 respectively. Think the Portal+ took up too much space? Put off by the bezel-heavy panels of the original Portal?

The updated Portal and all-new Portal Mini come with a new picture frame design.

While the device itself will not run advertising, Mr Bosworth said that some of the data collected from it "might inform the ads" that people see on Facebook.

Portal now supports video calling friends through WhatsApp, in addition to Messenger. Portal is now available to pre-order in the US, Canada and Europe from portal.facebook.com and select retail locations.

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