TECHNOLOGY

Facebook Is Launching a TV App for Videos

The company made a few more video-related announcements on Tuesday.

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BY Alex Heath - 15 Feb 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Facebook is coming to your TV.

The world's largest social network will release a standalone app for televisions soon, the company announced on Tuesday.

The new app will let Facebook users watch videos from their friends and their "liked" pages on TV, as well as watching the top live videos. Facebook also said that it will recommend videos based on ones you've already watched. The app's existence was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook also announced a few more videos updates on Tuesday:

- Videos will play with the sound on by default in the News Feed, as long as your phone's sound is on. If your phone is on silent, videos will still be muted until you tap into them. This change comes after Facebook tested videos with the sound on by default in recent months and received "positive feedback."

- Vertical videos will automatically expand to fill the full screen, like they do on Snapchat. This is change is likely meant to encourage people to shoot and upload videos from their phones.

- Videos can keep playing in a little thumbnail at the bottom of your screen while you browse the News Feed.Facebook has already tested this feature with a subset of its users, but now it's rolling out to everyone.

- Facebook's TV app will be available "soon" on the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TVs, with more devices to follow.

All of these updates enforce Facebook's increased effort to be a destination for people to watch longer and more premium videos. Aside from letting content creators show mid-roll ads in their videos, Facebook is working on funding its own scripted video shows.

Facebook intends for its TV app to be a compliment to watching videos on mobile phones and not a Netflix killer, the company's VP of Partnerships, Dan Rose, said onstage at the Code Media conference Tuesday.

"A lot of people when they're watching video in News Feed during the day will save it for later, because they don't have time to watch," he said. "Now it's easy to watch on your TV if you want to do that. We want people to be able to consume content wherever they are - whether it's on their phone, whether it's on their computer -- and TV is just another screen for that. But we're a mobile-first company, so the products we build will always be oriented around the experience you have on a mobile device when you're watching video."

Mark Zuckerberg recently described video as a "mega-trend" similar to how mobile phones contributed to Facebook's early growth. Facebook's thinking is that, if it can get people to watch more videos, it can further tap into the $70 billion brand advertising budgets that are normally reserved for TV shows.