Facebook is releasing a gadget that allows people to use their TV to make video calls, the company announced Wednesday on its website. Users can place the Portal TV, as the device is called, on or under their TV to make video calls via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
The camera of the Portal TV can move to follow the subject, so that people can walk around or move freely during video calling, according to Facebook. The lens is also equipped with a sliding mechanism to block the camera.
Users can also switch off the camera, as well as the microphone on the device, digitally. In the United States and Canada, users can also use the "Hey Portal" command to activate a built-in voice assistant.
It was also announced on Wednesday that audio recorded after the 'Hey Portal' command could be listened to by people. Facebook also mentions this practice in the announcement of the Portal TV.
Earlier there was a fuss because companies, including Facebook, did not make it clear that people could listen to the recordings. This also turned out to be the case with Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, without the companies having made this explicitly clear to users.
Just like other Facebook Portal products, the TV gadget is not for sale in the Netherlands. It is unclear whether Facebook has plans to introduce the product line in the Netherlands.