Facebook gives thumbs up to new TV app | Social TV | News | Rapid TV News
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Less than two weeks after promising to drive more business from TV and video, Facebook has announced updates it claims will make watching video on the social media platform richer, more engaging and more flexible.

facebook 15 Feb 2017The key driver for the announcement, explained Dana Sittler, product manager, and Alex Li, engineering manager, was that fundamentally people are watching and sharing more video on Facebook than ever, and therefore it is prudent for the company to focus on continuously improving the video experience. At the last results earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated that going into 2017, the biggest change that his company was likely to see was going to be much more video inventory and content.

In the first part of this move, Facebook has unveiled a new video app for TV, expanding on the capabilities it first announced in October 2016. With the upgraded app, viewers can watch videos shared by friends; Facebook pages they follow; top live videos from around the world; and recommended videos based on user interests. The app will roll out to app stores for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. Other platforms will be added in due course.

One of the other key improvements was to make vertical videos look better on mobile devices. In 2016 it began testing a larger preview of vertical videos in its news feed on mobile and, as a result of what it said was ‘positive’ feedback, the larger format is now available to everyone watching videos on iOS and Android. User feedback has also led to Facebook to deliver video with sound when the volume on users’ devices was turned on.

It is now also possible for users to minimise a video they are watching to a picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of the screen while browsing other stories in the news feed.
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