Video is a growing component of social media. Not only can we create and share our own videos, but now we can even broadcast content live to an increasingly growing audience. This gives a lot of potential for social networks, which can connect users to videos and earn revenue by monetizing through video ads. With televisions, users have continually shown that they’ll watch more videos and for longer.
Remember Twitter for Android TV? Well the other big blue social media giant has come out with their own Android TV app. The new Facebook app is similar by simply making it easier to access the videos in your feed. You can see how everything looks and functions in our hands-on video. Our first impressions are that it seems fairly polished in terms of functionality, although the app could use some more refinement in making it run a little better.
Facebook for Android TV is available at the same Play Store listing as the regular app. You can search on the Android TV Play Store or push it from the web. To log in, you’ll need a web browser to open the device authentication page. Enter the code shown to associate the Android TV app with your account.
The homepage is divided into a few main sections. Each section contains several subdivisions. “Suggested” will show videos shared by your friends, from followed pages, and other pages that the app may think you like. “Your Videos” shows videos you may have saved, shared with others, uploaded, or even just watched previously. Of course, you can search as well.
Moving between rows and cards is a familiar similar to Leanback, but without some of the same animations, making the experience feel like it lags a bit.
The video player has a few options to toggle playback and skip. There’s several other options for users as well. You can link directly into the page that posted the content to view more. You can bookmark it for later. You can react to it. You can, of course, share it with your friends. Sharing posts it directly, without any user-provided caption.
Live video is certainly a big opportunity for Facebook, and they’re partnering with MLB to deliver live games to users. This may be a highlighted part of the app in the future, as well as any original content that comes exclusively to the app. As can be seen above, user comments will overlay on top of live video feeds like the one from NASA today. Hopefully this can be disabled in the future, as user comments aren’t always useful.
Overall, the company has tried to get in all of the expected functionality in a TV-centric app, providing us not just with videos, but with content-centric channels and plenty of controls to give us control over content. See something interesting on your phone? Bookmark it for later and watch on your TV. Like a video? Maybe you want to follow the creator as well. Love that video? Share it directly with friends.
The app has already supported Google Cast, but now this allows users to browse more freely in this environment. Additionally, users have much more capability over what they can do with videos. I do have some slight concerns over how it may work in a multi-user environment, as users would have to log out and into another account for their own recommendations. Otherwise, you’re letting others share and browse content as you. But it does seem like a big first step into the media landscape, and it will likely improve with greater focus on live content and big brands.
The Facebook app is, of course, available on Google Play. Alternatively, you can get it on APK Mirror.