Portal TV : Facebook's smart video chat accessory

Facebook just announced a smart home device to project a wide-angle of chats to a giant screen. Portal Tv is the name of the accessory and will begin shipping November 5th for almost $150. This is one of the three smart devices that were announced. Portal Plus is a larger model of the accessory is still on sale.

How it works

You plug Portal into your TV using HDMI and sign in into your Facebook account. It provides a better experience when making video calls using the WhatsApp and Messanger app. The devices apply Facebook's smart camera technology to zoom so people in the call can move around freely in the room. The camera and microphone can be disabled via a single tap at the front of the device. Facebook has human reviewers to listen with the aim of improving the service. You can opt-out from this using an in-app setting for access more privacy options. Just say "Hey Portal" to wake the device. When you are ready to call, you mention the name of the person you want to call. You can also apply augmented reality effects to your voice and face, which is carried into the device's "Storytime" feature - this can be handy when you want to narrate children's books in a variety of virtual costumes

More features

It also provides you streaming services like Amazon Prime Video through the Portal TV. If you are someone who enjoys video chatting friends, this could be worth a look. The camera frame is impressive and allows you to talk to a larger crowd. The new Portals have improved speakers and they sound good from an experience at the launch event. One feature that only Portal TV has is Watch Together. It's a feature that lets you and another Portal TV owner watch the same shows together during a video call.

Unlike Facebook's software products, hardware products have been able to dodge privacy concerns. But can they rival Amazon, Google and Apple? Portal TV is not a new technology, but whether it will succeed for Facebook or not, we live to see. You can pre-order the Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV starting today. The Portal and Portal Mini will start shipping on October 15th,  while the Portal TV begins shipping November 5th. You can bundle any two Portal devices for $50 off.

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