Almost a year after launching its own video chat device, social media giant Facebook has introduced Portal TV that converts your television having an HDMI connection into a large video chat device. In other words, this device will convert your television set into a large-scale video calling gadget. Portal TV, whose shipping will begin from November 5, is one of the three smart video chat devices announced by Facebook. This device can be purchased at USD 149. However, the tech giant is giving a discount of USD 50 if you bundle two devices together.
Talking about the functionality, the Portal TV apparently controls speaker and screen of your television to turn it into a smart display. To do so, simply clip the device on the top of your flatscreen TV and then plug the device using the HDMI port. Now sign in to your Facebook account and start making calls through Messenger and WhatsApp. Integrated speakers of the device allow users to speak with Portal smart assistant or an Alexa even when your television set is switched off. There is another feature called Watch Together which synchronizes Facebook Watch shows over calls.
The Portal TV uses Facebook’s Smart Camera technology to pan or zoom when people in the call move around. This technology is useful especially for families with kids, who very often dip in and out of frame during video calls. When not in use, you can disable the camera and microphone of the Portal TV via a sliding cover at the front of the device. When you want to make a video call, you just need to say ‘Hey Portal’ to wake up the device. You can seek the help of the device to call a person in your friend list. There’s a feature that allows you to apply augmented reality effects to your face during the live call. Calls made through instant messaging app WhatsApp to any other Whatsapp-installed device are encrypted end to end, which gives complete privacy to people.