Facebook wants you to lean back and watch its News Feed videos on your television with a new feature that lets you stream clips via Apple TV, AirPlay devices, Google Chromecast, and Google Cast devices. The move could help Facebook generate more video ad revenue, and increase usage time by giving people the richest possible viewing experience while at home.
The feature is now available on iOS and will come to Android soon. To use it, just find a video in the feed on your phone or desktop, tap the TV button in the top right, and then select the device you want to stream through.
You can keep scrolling through the feed and using Facebook while the video continues to stream. That allows Facebook to become both the first and second screen, a strategy Periscope is pursuing differently by allowing professional content broadcasts to be piped into Periscope and Twitter via its new Producer feature.
Facebook started testing streaming to televisions from Android back in May and iOS in August. The company actually added a way to cast via AirPlay from its iPad app back in 2011, so it’s strange that it’s taken this long to come to web and mobile.
Competitors like YouTube and Periscope already have ways to stream onto televisions, and today’s launch could make sure Facebook doesn’t fall behind. YouTube lets you create a queue of videos on the fly to watch sequentially, which seems like a sensible next feature for Facebook to add.
The goal for Facebook is always ubiquity, so it’s embracing as many viewing platforms as possible. While its most popular surface and core money maker might remain mobile for a long time, VR and TVs could give Facebook an even bigger presence in our lives.