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article imageFacebook videos are coming to your TV

By James Walker     Feb 15, 2017 in Technology
Facebook has announced a new video app for smart TVs that's designed to let you watch content from friends, family and publishers on the big screen. The launch marks the next step in Facebook's ambition to become a video site in its own right.
Facebook said it has developed the app as an expansion of its previous efforts to get social media videos onto TVs. Last year, it introduced streaming from the Facebook app to TVs in your home, letting you transfer playback from your phone so everyone in the house can watch. Today, it's progressing further in evolving video, unveiling a native smart TV app that cuts out your phone entirely.
The app lets you watch videos from your friends and Pages directly on your TV. It doesn't need any other connection to work, seamlessly integrating into your TV and making Facebook feel more like a first-class content destination. You can browse and watch trending videos, recommended content that suits your interests and people broadcasting live from across the world.
Besides basic viewing, the app also exposes your own content so you can playback clips you've uploaded to your gallery. It integrates with Facebook's Saved for Later list too, letting you mark videos with your phone while on the go and then work through the list on your TV when you get home.
"Our video app for TV is a new way to enjoy Facebook videos on a bigger screen," said Facebook. "We look forward to seeing how people use the app to enjoy Facebook videos in a new way."
Bringing videos to your TV is a natural next step for Facebook, a company increasingly serious about becoming a video destination rivalling the likes of YouTube and Netflix. It wants people to open the app with the intention of watching a video, using Facebook as a place to find new content.
The company is interested in licensing its own exclusive material, publishing new longer shows and series designed to appeal to a broad range of users. The content will be very different to the social stunts and news clips of most current Facebook videos.
It's still unclear if users will be willing to watch video on Facebook in this way. The company will ease customers in gently though, giving them time to adjust to the idea. It is already beginning to emphasise videos above other forms of content.
As well as reaffirming its long-term ambitions, the new TV app could also provide Facebook with its first major video revenue stream. The company has so far struggled to monetise video in the News Feed, despite the feature being popular with users. Its standalone streaming app could allow it to test traditional industry advertising practices, attracting more advertisers and raising user engagement.
The as-yet unnamed TV app will launch "soon" on several major smart TV platforms. Facebook is currently keeping the timing vague. It has published only basic details and so far omitted any screenshots.
The company has confirmed the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV ranges will receive access first, followed by other providers. Complementing the new app, Facebook has also announced several new video features coming to mobile platforms, including auto-playing sound and picture-in-picture viewing.
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