Facebook's $149 Portal TV brings video calling to the living room
Facebook's $149 Portal TV brings video calling to the living room
Facebook unveils new models of Portal video chatting devices
19 September, 2019, 13:20
After its first-ever hardware device got slammed by critics as a potential spying device previous year, Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a new generation of its "Portal" video chatting devices.
A hot potato: Facebook's biggest hurdle with Portal TV will be itself - that is, convincing users that it is safe to bring into their home.
Portal's Superframe can display your favorite photos, videos and birthday reminders so you always feel a little more connected to your family and friends.
As the company notes in its press release, all WhatsApp calls on Portal will be end-to-end encrypted. If you're someone who is more Privacy minded, the company has added a sliding cover which can disable camera and microphone.
Portal TV includes other features such as the ability to view Facebook Watch programs together. They can also stream video from Facebook Watch. Pre-orders have begun for USA residents from portal.facebook.com and select retail locations, and the Portal ($179) and Portal Mini ($129) both start shipping on October 15.
The new Portal devices, on the other hand, are much smaller.
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The Portal TV accessory costs $149 / £149, making it cheaper than the $179 / £169 Portal smart display, but a tad more expensive than the $129 / £129 Portal Mini. Soon, Facebook willadd Amazon Prime TV and augmented reality games to the Portal TV homescreen. Portal TV features a 12.5-megapixel camera with 120-degree field of view that pans and zooms automatically to keep everyone in the frame.
So what does the Portal TV do, and do you want it clipped to the top of your TV?
Standard models of the Portal, which ship on October 15, will come in $129 and $179 versions.
The Portal TV differs considerably from the rest of the Portal range in its appearance, given it doesn't ship with a screen of its own - relying instead on a television to display calls and the Portal interface.
Portal has other intelligence to make video calling more interesting. Portal will send voice commands to Facebook's servers where a human might listen to them in the name of improving voice recognition, but you're able to delete your voice history within your Facebook Activity Log. Facebook says it designed both devices to look like picture frames so they would blend in.
Facebook said it had chose to relaunch the process for Portal after adding the ability for users to opt out of having any audio reviewed. All these devices are now going to be in the U.S. and Canada, as well as being available in the UK, France, Space, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.
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