Facebook’s Portal TV brings chat to the big screen

Portal TV

Using neat new technologies like Facetime and Skype beg the greater question, which is – why can’t we chat on our TVs? The screens are bigger…

Now, Facebook is announcing Portal TV, a new accessory that will help make videoconferencing streaming easy on your flat-screen.

Facebook will start to offer Portal TV in November for $149 a month; some bundling discounts will apply.

Other smart video chat devices include Portal and Portal Mini, both with HD displays of 1,280 x 800, but the Portal TV option utilizes an HDMI port to get your Messenger calls and other functionality onto your TV screen.

The program utilizes Facebook’s smart camera technology and is also voice-responsive, and has many of those neat dress-up features that are so popular for profile pics.

In addition, Portal TV allows for watching streaming video services including Amazon Prime Video, Showtime and more. Adaptive Display technology will help with brightness for those who want to tone down the glare of the bigger field of vision. A toggle feature will allow users to turn the camera on and off.

Although Portal TV functionality may be impressive, the tech move has been met with mixed responses from the consumer world.

“Facebook’s sketchy reputation on privacy dampened their reception, however, as did the company’s confusing messaging on whether the devices collect data (surprise: they do),” writes Nicole Lee at Engadget. “Yet, those issues have not deterred the company, as Facebook is announcing not one, not two, but three new Portal models today.”

Look for more news on this new technology as video chat moves toward the big screen. This may finally be the culmination of those 1980s science-fiction depictions of big screen video chat a la classic spy tv shows.