Facebook is reportedly working on a TV camera that would offer video chatting through one’s television and allow users to stream content from Facebook Watch.
Facebook recently made a foray into the hardware world with its upcoming Portal products, a pair of Alexa-powered smart devices that specialize in video calling. Now, it looks like the social media giant could be prepping a camera-equipped device that connects to televisions to allow video chat and media content viewing.
According to a new report from Cheddar, the device is reportedly referred to internally by the codename “Ripley.” The device, according to the report, would essentially do a lot of what Portal already do, but from a small device with a camera on it that connects to a TV. This means it will offer video calling and the ability to stream videos from Facebook Watch, with the possibility of more streaming outlets, like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, down the line.
While Facebook‘s upcoming Portal devices include a display and are meant to sit on a desk or countertop, the “Ripley” device could be a much cheaper camera addition to complement displays that users may already have. This could make “Ripley” a more affordable alternative to Portal, given that the latter will start at $199 USD when it begins shipping in November. Portal+, which has a larger screen that can be rotated but is otherwise the same device, will cost $349 USD.
While the company has dabbled with some hardware products, like its Oculus Rift VR headset, it typically makes most of its money from software, mostly advertising. This opens up a new revenue stream for the company — hardware sales — but it will also increase engagement to Facebook-owned apps, which are linked to the devices.