Facebook wants to push even further into your home—the social media company is building a TV set-top box with a built-in camera, according to a new report in Cheddar.
The device, code-named Ripley, is reportedly based on some of the same technology as Facebook’s recently unveiled Portal smart display—and it will be optimised for Facebook’s burgeoning TV platform, Watch. The set-top box would let you stream Watch shows to your television, though it’s not clear if it would support content from other platforms.
If Facebook is making a play for the TV, it’ll need to shore up its support for apps. As it stands, The Portal supports Facebook Watch and music through Spotify and Pandora. That’s fine for a smart display, but it’s nowhere near the kind of content support Facebook will need to convince users to give up an HDMI port, especially when so many other options are out there.
In addition to streaming, the box would also be equipped with a camera similar to Facebook’s recently announced Portal speakers. Like Portal, Ripley would enable video calling. A set-top box would be the second piece of non-Oculus hardware to come out of Facebook. It also demonstrates how invested the social network is in ensuring the success in its streaming service, Watch. The company has been investing steadily in new programming and features that it hopes will lure creators away from YouTube.
By entering the connected TV device market, Facebook is going up against a well-established line up of competitors — Apple, Google, Roku and Amazon to name a few. But, with its current ad-targeting capabilities, Facebook could prove to be a major player in the space if its able to secure the right programming and content.
It’s not clear when Facebook would launch such a product—the company delayed its initial plans due to privacy concerns surrounding the company, but that Ripley could launch in the spring of 2019.