Tech Corner: Facebook Is Launching Apps to a TV Near You!

June 22nd. 2017

Facebook is trying to compete with YouTube by creating TV applications as well as adding additional features to their website and current apps. Facebook wants its users to upload more videos to their pages, therefore allowing other users to watch more videos. That is why Facebook is making a couple of changes to the way they display and distribute Facebook videos. Besides these changes, Facebook’s VP of Partnerships, Dan Rose, announced at CODE Media in February that Facebook would like to also launch a series of apps for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV.

At the current moment, you are able to watch YouTube videos on your TV, including live streams from your favorite channels. The ability for Facebook to stream on televisions is just a huge step closer for the platform to be a place where more creators want to share their videos. This motion forward all started with the autoplay video ads that appear in the news feed, and the expanded introduction to live videos on Facebook and Instagram.

The first change to the videos was the audio setting. This means that if your device’s sound is set for on, the audio will play automatically. The next change was that Facebook will no longer crop vertical videos, giving it more of a Snapchat feel. The third update is that users will be able to watch a video, then pull it to the side of their feed while scrolling through their news feed, similar to YouTube. These changes are already occurring on Facebook and can be used today.

However, the big news is that you will be able to watch Facebook videos on your TV using streaming apps. Facebook has been trying very hard to get people to use and continue to use the social network and making it one of the leading platforms for online videos. If the company really wants to compete against YouTube, having an app for your TV is an important step. Facebook already had the ability to AirPlay and stream videos to Apple TV or a Chromecast. However, those features do not let you browse your newsfeed or see your friend’s postings. In this day and age, it is all about video playback and live streaming!

You will be able to see videos your friends have shared, go to certain pages and watch their videos, and even watch the videos Facebook recommends to you based on your interest.

For live videos, Facebook recommends popular live streams so that you can tune in from your TV, making viewing this video more comfortable than sitting on your computer or holding your phone/tablet.

Facebook is also signaling to move towards professionally created content, similar to original content Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube produces. According to a Reuters’ post, Facebook is even considering deals like signing with the MLB to stream one baseball game a week. This will mean Facebook is trying to ramp up exclusive live content, and what perfect way but starting with sports!

To add on to the competition, Facebook is looking into licensing music from big labels, in efforts to increase the number of videos shared on Facebook and mobile apps. This would not make them a direct competitor with Spotify or Apple Music but would help compete against YouTube, which has settings such as audio fingerprinting and ContentID tools. This would also create a huge and new revenue stream for music labels, especially given the scale of the Facebook users, which is 1.2 billion daily active user and still growing! Would be a good platform for artist to stream.

Having a platform for mobile, desktop, and now introducing TV would boost video viewership and even production. The app is currently featured on the tvOS app store on your Apple TV. Facebook Video is also on Samsung TV with more apps expected on other platforms soon!

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter! Make your comment or ask your question and Mandy, or one of our Staff Team members will discuss this with you!

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