Is Facebook Portal TV the next big thing? | What to Know

Is Facebook Portal TV the next big thing?

/ 09:01 AM April 22, 2021

Launching its Facebook Portal TV in 2019, Facebook has vastly expanded the dynamics of technology by taking over your Television screen.

This innovative technology has transitioned the functionality of the Television. From primarily being a one-way physical source of communication sitting in your living room or bedroom, you can now virtually connect and interact with other people around.

A feature you might just have experienced in board meetings has finally found its way into your homes, offering numerous other innovative biggest screen benefits that we’ll be discussing shortly. With the new Portal TV, you can hang out with friends or family and even co-watch content together, converting your living room into a virtual socializing space.


What is the Facebook Portal TV?

What is the Facebook Portal TV?

Photo Credit: Best Buy

The inconspicuous, sleek little device is astutely designed to clip onto the top of your TV. Connecting to your smart TV device with simply an HDMI cable, your TV screen is ready for a chilling session with your pals on video calls.

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Tapping into this product category, Facebook intended at capturing a solid foothold in the smart devices market by inventing its Operating system and Hardware. Facebook employed the genius tactic of designing the Portal TV as a connecting device with an already available screen at home.

This makes the hardware cheaper, and people would inherently prefer to purchase to add great features to their already redundant TV screen.

Setting up the device is a straightforward process, requiring the users to have either an active Facebook or WhatsApp account or both.

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Is the Facebook Portal TV intruding on your Privacy?

One of the significant concerns that Portal TV faced at the time of its launch was Facebook’s potential to have an eye inside the premises of people’s homes. People considered it suspicious to bring Facebook surveillance systems into their homes, allowing Facebook to have much greater access and control over their personal lives.

However, Facebook was quick to respond to this query by countering the privacy concerns. You can switch off the portal Tv from the remote when not in use. Manually turn off the microphone and the camera with a single switch along with the lens cap to mollify any doubts on the invasion of privacy.

Specs of Portal TV

Specs of Portal TV

A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Smart Video Calling on your TV screen

You do not fit in the compact camera cover frame when celebrating your grandfather’s birthday on the other side of the screen? Well, we’ve all been there!


The Portal TV’s smart camera wide angle can include everyone in the room in the frame. With its peculiar pan and Zoom camera and microphone feature, the Portal allows to keep up with action. Move and walk around freely as the camera follows you and adjusts accordingly, so you stay in the frame.

This way, you wouldn’t have to restrict yourself on the couch when being on a video chat, call, or carry your device all around the place with you.

The Smart sound of Portal TV targets the speaker and enhances their sound while minimizing background noise, so you wouldn’t have to stand in too close proximity to the microphone when speaking.

Sometimes, the camera’s constant movement can be a little irritating when you’re having a video call conversation while other members of the family are moving around. Portal devices are designed to detect all the faces in the room.

To deal with this, double tap on your face twice. A square would enclose your face, so Portal would know you’re the subject and would always follow you.

Amid a call, you can even add more friends or family members to the conversation and enjoy an impeccable experience. Tap the screen as the multiple options pop up and click on add friends.

A messenger and Whatsapp call allow you to add up to seven participants while connecting with up to three people on a WhatsApp call.

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Tweak calls and notification settings

Facebook Portal TV takes care of your convenience, allowing you to adjust your calls and notifications the way you want. You may wish to Portal to take calls only when you’re at home, so change the settings accordingly. Portal TV will then only accept the ring if it finds you around, or else it will be forwarded to your phone.

You might also want to make a list of friends and family you interact with quite often. Portal would notify you whenever these people are actively using Facebook, hinting that this might be the time to video call and connect with them.

Watching together with friends using Portal TV

Watching together with friends using Portal TV

The Facebook logo is displayed on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken December 2, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Illustration

Besides just video calling friends, the social aspect of Portal also lets you watch videos. The unique benefit it offers? You can run a live stream with a group of up to seven people and watch videos together on the Facebook Watch TV menu.

The Portal TV offers this exclusive perk that any other brand has yet to offer. Watch content online distantly while at the same time staying connected.

Not just narrate the story, act the story!

Facebook Portal TV brings about intellectual learning for children by illuminating the experience of storytelling.

The Portal TV Story Time gives an added vigor to your kid’s favorite story tales. Narrate the story by becoming the characters and enhancing the stories with music, animations, and filters.

By detecting your face, the Portal can enable relevant filters and masks, so now even grandparents and family living away can have the opportunity to entertain their kids virtually from a distance by reading out acting out – their favorite stories.

The enticing Augmented Reality effects also allow you to impose various filters on your face. Sometimes you might want to entertain someone on the video calls with many masks and products.

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Portal TV Built-in Alexa

If you’ve been using Amazon Alexa before, you know how this voice assistant has made life so much easier. Meet Alexa on the Facebook portal TV, and use the power of speaking to control your smart home. Fortunately, you can connect Alexa with the numerous smart portable devices in your home, and the highly efficient Alexa would perform the task for you.

Have any questions? Just ask Alexa and get the know-how. Whether you’re looking for early morning weather updates, or the latest news, the sports score, or want to listen to your favorite song, tell Alexa.

However, apart from Alexa, Facebook Portal mini also has its voice assistant. Activate it by saying ‘Hey Portal!’ and get your job done – hands-free. Although its capacities are limited, it performs most of the activities related to the Portal TV.

You can instruct it to call a contact, connect to a browser or manage brightness. Try saying ‘ Hey Portal, Good Morning’ to receive the morning updates such as weather, news, and your scheduled events.

Portal Apps

The socially focused device not just provides you access to seamless video calls and constant Facebook account updates. Still, you can also make use of the numerous apps available on the Portal devices interface.

Among the wide selection of Apps on Portal, you can find Spotify and Pandora, Amazon Prime Video streaming services, Food Network, and multiple News stations.

An eminent app is the Portal TV watch. Download the app to play a variety of games and stream video content.

Furthermore, if you want to browse websites online, there are quick links to browsers as well. Well, you might be wondering if it would be practical to browse content on a large screen using simply the touch controls.

The Bluetooth-compatible Portal eases the job. So you can connect a mouse and keyboard and continue with your browsing on a large screen.


With its clever panning and zooming video call features, intelligent displays, Alexa services, and the potential to be a central computer for the whole family, the Portal TV set it uniquely apart from the other gadgets. After years, Facebook has generated a product, which can be a valuable asset for the users.

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