Technology

Facebook launches Portal TV, a video chat accessory that allows users to turn televisions into real smart devices

Portal TV it is a great innovative device, but the market is still concerned about privacy issues

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  • Facebook is officially launching today their Portal TV, a camera accessory for televisions that allows users to watch TV shows during a video call with your Facebook friends
  • The device will be available for purchase on November 5th and will cost $ 149 in the US
  • The market still has some concerns about how Facebook will protect the user’s privacy while  using Portal TV

Facebook is launching today their Portal TV, a camera accessory for television that allows users to make not only video calls directly on the TV screen, but also to watch TV shows during a video call with Facebook friends, creating a “Watch Together” experience, one of the biggest features of the new device. 

The company revealed that other streaming and video services, such as Amazon Prime Video and Showtime, will also be available on the device, although in those cases, the user won’t be able to share their screen. 

Another two big improvements over Portal TV’s earlier version were announced. The first one is that now the option to make video calls between the television device and the smartphone through either Messenger or WhatsApp is available. And the second is that in addition to having its own voice assistant, the device can also be connected to Amazon’s assistant, allowing all of Alexa‘s features to be used in tandem with Portal TV. 

But the market’s opinion is divided when the issue is privacy, especially given Facebook’s bad reputation with data security. After the statement made by the company this past August in which it confessed to having heard and transcribed some the user’s audios from their products, there are concerns about how the company will use the videos made using Portal TV. 

With a high-tech camera, Portal TV can pan and zoom to have a vision of all people in the room. A great feature, undoubtedly. But if used the wrong way, it could give information about the inside of people’s homes, raising quite a few privacy problems.

Facebook’s Portal TV will be launched on November 5th and will cost $ 149 in the US, being the main competitor for Amazon’s Echo Show. The company has yet to reveal when the product will be available for other markets, such as Latin America.