- Rob Price/Business Insider
- Facebook is courting companies including Netflix, Disney, and Amazon to let it include their streaming services on an upcoming video-chat device which plugs into your TV, according to The Information.
- The device will reportedly go on sale in October, which tallies with a previous announcement from Facebook exec Andrew Bosworth.
- An analyst told The Information that Facebook’s Portal video-chat device has performed underwhelmingly.
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Facebook is courting major media companies including Netflix, Disney, and Amazon to let it put their streaming services on its upcoming video-chat device, The Information reports.
The new device will feature a camera and plug into TVs, and was first reported on by Cheddar last year. It follows on from Facebook’s video-chat device Portal, which went on the market in November. Two sources told The Information that the new device will use the same video-calling technology.
Facebook has reportedly approached Netflix, Disney, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon about putting their streaming services on the device, giving it a capability similar to Amazon’s Fire Stick or Roku Streaming Stick.
According to the Information, Facebook plans to start selling the device – codenamed “Catalina” – in October, although it notes this could be subject to change. This squares with an announcement Facebook’s head of AR and VR Andrew Bosworth made in June that the company would bring out new “form factors” of the Portal this autumn.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has used “Catalina” as a codename. Business Insider’s Rob Price reported that Facebook had explored and subsequently abandoned a project building bird-sized drones to bring data to parts of the world with poor internet connection, also codenamed “Catalina.”
Although it’s hard to get a read on how well Facebook’s Portal devices are selling because the company hasn’t disclosed any sales figures, an analyst at technology research firm IDC told The Information that its impact has been underwhelming.
Analyst Adam Wright said Facebook has shipped an estimated 54,100 Portal devices since launch. Facebook refuted the figure to The Information, but provided no further detail.
When the Portal launched, some critics lambasted it as a new and invasive way for Facebook to harvest data about users for ad-targeting. In January of this year, Facebook employees were caught leaving 5-star reviews for the Portal on Amazon, and were forced to take them down.
Facebook was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Business Insider. It declined to comment when contacted by The Information. Amazon declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.