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Facebook Wants To Bring Streaming Services to Reported New Streaming Media Player

Stephanie Sengwe

According to a report by The Information, Facebook has approached Netflix, Disney, Hulu, HBO and Amazon about putting their streaming services on a new Facebook device for making video calls from televisions.

The device, which is currently code-named, Catalina, will launch this fall and will come with a physical remote and streaming video services similar to other television boxes like Apple TV. According to people close to the project, Catalina will use the same video-calling technology that is in Facebook’s camera-equipped smart speaker, called Portal, which has a screen of its own and is designed to sit on kitchen counters and desks. Portal—a chat and streaming device—allows users to Facebook Live, meaning they can broadcast their own live shows to their friends or those in Facebook Groups directly from the device.

While offering video streaming services could give Facebook a new way to sell video advertising, Catalina will primarily be a tool for allowing Messenger and WhatsApp users to conduct video chats with each other.

Facebook, of course hasn’t been without its troubles. The company was recently ordered to churn out a record $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission over privacy issues. When they first launched Portal back in November last year, the device was met with mixed feelings as consumers were impressed with its video-calling capabilities, but questioned Facebook’s past history with protecting user data.

With the recent fines looming over Facebook’s head as they try to gain their reputation back, we’ll have to see if any of the streaming services will give the social media giant the benefit of the doubt. All companies reported to have been approached by Facebook are yet to give a comment, according to The Information. Netflix and Hulu declined to comment, while Disney and Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for HBO said the company was “having no discussions” with Facebook and didn’t elaborate.

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