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Facebook approaches broadcasters & streaming services for new TV chat device: Reports

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MUMBAI: Facebook has approached broadcasters and streaming services like Netflix, Disney, Hulu and HBO for a new TV chat device for making video calls from TVs. The platform is also planning to launch its own TV streaming service.

According to a report in ‘The Information’, the Facebook TV chat device will use the same technology currently available in the company's video-calling 'Portal' devices. The platform is planning to launch an updated version of its video chat device 'Portal' later this year.

Facebook's Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) vice president Andrew Bosworth has confirmed that the company has a lot more to unveil later this year related to Portal.

The report also informed that the new device, code-named Catalina, will also come with a physical remote and a streaming video service similar to other television boxes like Apple TV.

Portal was launched in November 2018. While the smaller device was priced at $199, the larger "Portal Plus" was made available for $349 with a 10-inch display and 15-inch display, respectively.

The smart camera-enabled device is also powered by Amazon's voice assistant Alexa and comes with front cameras. Facebook Portal has a 10-inch display, while there is a 15-inch display on the Portal+. The devices offer hands-free voice control and allow users to start a video call simply by saying "Hey Portal". It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recognise people in the frame and follow them as they move throughout a room.

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