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Facebook Approached Netflix, Disney to Support TV Chat Device

Facebook has approached Netflix, Disney and other media companies about putting their streaming services on a new Facebook device for making video calls from televisions, The Information has learned. 

The device, which Facebook is aiming to release this fall, 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, according to two people familiar with the project and documents viewed by The Information. The new device, code-named Catalina, will also come with a physical remote and streaming video services similar to other television boxes like Apple TV.    

In addition to Netflix and Disney, Facebook has approached Hulu, HBO and Amazon about making their streaming services available on the device. The news site Cheddar last year revealed Facebook’s plans to make a television-connected device, but the company’s approach to the media companies and its plans for a fall release date haven’t been previously reported. The status of the talks with the media companies couldn’t be learned.