On September 18, Facebook unveiled the latest update to its range of Portal video chatting devices, including a new product, Portal TV.
In recent years, a number of data-sharing scandals have tarnished Facebook’s reputation and eroded user trust. This has prompted the company to try and diversify its product portfolio and move towards more private modes of communication.
The question is whether Facebook’s new product can hold its own within the highly competitive space of TV-streaming services
Facebook first launched Portal in 2018 as a video-chat device. Its new line of devices includes a TV box that will enable users to watch programmes together, remotely. The launch marks the social media giant’s first venture into TV streaming hardware.
Facebook hopes that the social aspect of its product will give it a competitive edge over other TV services. Portal is also the only Facebook product built on hardware owned by the company, rather than by Google or Amazon. By selling hardware and personal devices, the firm will be able to tap into the smart home market, which is predicted to be worth $144bn by 2025.
The question is whether Facebook’s new product can hold its own within the highly competitive space of TV-streaming services. While the social nature of its product may be a selling point, Portal TV has only a few music apps and limited options for TV programming. As a result, it may struggle to divert customers away from content-focused rivals like Apple TV and Netflix.
Launching a device for the home could be considered a bold move for the company at a time when public sentiment seems largely negative. A recent poll found that two thirds of Americans are in favour of breaking up big tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google. However, this does not necessarily translate into fewer people using these platforms – in fact, there is evidence that the number of Facebook users continues to grow. Despite their disapproval of its parent company, people may be quite content to welcome Portal TV into their living rooms.