Facebook Announces a New Streaming Player Called Portal TV

Today, the long-rumored Facebook streaming player is here. Portal TV will let you stream your favorite shows and video chat with family and friends through Facebook. Portal TV is now available for pre-order in the US and Canada, starting at $149 USD. Devices begin shipping on November 5th. You can also bundle two Portal devices together and take $50 off of the total price.

With Portal, you will be able to watch shows and movies from SHOWTIME, CBS All Access, Starz, Pluto TV, and Red Bull TV. You will also be able to listen to music from Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. With the device, you can easily video call friends and family using What’s App and Facebook Messenger, even if they don’t have a Portal. Portal’s smart camera will automatically adjust to keep everyone in the frame during calls, even while you move around the room.

If the person you’re calling does have a Portal, you can also use the Watch Together feature. This allows both of you to view Facebook Watch videos at the same time while chatting, through picture-in-picture. While this currently only works for Facebook originals through Facebook Watch, the company is reportedly working on making it available with other apps as well.

Portal also comes with Alexa built-in so you can use Alexa to access music, check the news, and search. When you’re ready to wake the device up, just say “Hey Portal” to get started.

Facebook does understand that many may be concerned about privacy, so they have added several privacy features into the device. “Portal has clear and simple settings for privacy and security. You can disable the camera and microphone with a single tap or a sliding switch. A red light next to the lens indicates the camera and microphone are off and there’s an integrated camera cover if you want to physically block the camera lens.” Facebook said in a statement on their website.

For now, Portal TV’s lineup of supported streaming services is limited but look for more services to be added soon.

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