Facebook Watch Review

What is Facebook Watch?

In August 2017, Facebook announced its very own streaming platform: Facebook Watch. But some are still unaware the free service exists. It’s true Facebook Watch doesn’t offer traditional network channels, but it does host a ton of original content with plenty of famous faces.

Facebook Watch’s entire focus is on creating viral videos. So whether it’s a daring show made by survivalist Bear Grylls or a must-watch discussion with Jada Pinkett Smith and her family, each episode should have you gripped from beginning to end. (Plus, they only last around 30 minutes.)

As well as creating its own shows, Facebook Watch is a place for creators, from news channels to comedians, to upload their own shareable videos. In November 2018, the service partnered with 20th Century Fox Television to stream three shows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. Facebook live streams certain sports too, including Major League Baseball (MLB) games and premier soccer matches. 

Although still an under-the-radar part of the social media platform, Facebook Watch sees 75 million people use the service for around 20 minutes each day. Here’s a rundown of how to use it and what kind of shows lie in store.

Facebook Watch plans and pricing

As Facebook Watch is free, there’s no such thing as a subscription plan. But here’s what you can expect to find:

 

Facebook Watch
Price Free
Number of titles 50+
Offline downloads No
Streaming quality HD
Original content Yes
Live streaming Yes

 

Facebook Watch supported devices

Pretty much every device works with Facebook Watch. Certain ones, like iOS and Android products, only require you to log into Facebook. But for TVs, you’ll need to download a special Facebook Watch app. (You’ll need to have a Facebook account for this.) 

Here are all the devices that currently support Facebook Watch:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android devices
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV (4th generation or newer)
  • Google Chromecast
  • iOS devices
  • Oculus TV
  • Portal TV
  • Samsung Smart TV (2015 or newer)
  • Xbox One
  • Web browsers

Roku doesn’t have an official Facebook Watch app. But Roku users can use any of the above devices to stream videos onto their TV screen.

What to watch on Facebook Watch

With only three categories available, Facebook Watch couldn’t be easier to navigate. Here’s what they’re called:

  • Shows
  • Live
  • Saved videos

Head straight to the Shows tab for all the service’s original content. Live lets you jump in on a live stream, and Saved Videos is where you’ll find any shows or videos you’ve saved to catch up on later.

Within the Shows tab, you’ll find a few separate sub-categories:

  • Following
  • Shows that friends are following
  • Facebook originals

There, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off, see what your Facebook friends are into, and browse through every original show Facebook Watch has to offer.

In terms of what to watch, there’s a pretty decent choice. Several of the service’s series have received rave reviews. There’s SKAM Austin, a social media-filled show following an intense teen romance, Strangers, a comedic look at what happens when a woman leaves her husband for another woman, and Sacred Lies, a tale of the sole survivor of a cult. 

Big names pop up now and again. Sorry For Your Loss stars Elizabeth Moss as a recently widowed woman and Star Wars‘ Kelly Marie Tran as her adopted sister. Will Smith’s Bucket List sees the actor take on terrifying pursuits, while three generations of the Smith family — Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter, and her mom — grill celebrities on hard-hitting topics in Red Table Talk.

The show is one of the most popular on Facebook Watch, with more than seven million followers and five million views per episode. Plus, it’s just been renewed until the end of 2022. (If talk shows are your thing, you’ll want to stick around. Recent reports have said that Facebook is planning to invest more in this area.)

Sports also make an appearance on the platform. So far, Facebook Watch has live streamed MLB games and WWE matchups. It’s even shown college football and golf action. In the soccer world, it streamed the Champions League final and recently had exclusive access to two FA Cup matches. To top it all off, there are a bunch of documentary-style shows exploring everything from sneakers to architecture.

Facebook Watch features

As Facebook Watch is a completely free, social media-driven service, it doesn’t come with a long list of features. But it does offer a community vibe.

There’s the ability to talk to fans of shows and even watch them together. (Just start a Watch party to see any video in sync with friends and family — you can even chat with them in real-time. 

Each Facebook Watch show also comes with its own page. Not only can you quickly see what it’s about and what people think, you can hit the follow button to be notified when new episodes are ready.

There’s some element of personalization to the service too. Facebook uses an algorithm to recommend content, so you should see a list that’s unique to you. 

The final cut

For a free streaming platform, it’s surprising how many hours of entertainment Facebook Watch provides users. And, with relatively short episodes, it’s ideal for those who want a quick taste of TV. 

Although there are over 50 shows and countless videos to browse, Facebook Watch probably won’t be the only TV service you’ll use — but at least trying it won’t hurt your bank balance.

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