Facebook’s new video app hits Samsung Smart TVs

Facebook’s new video app is now available on Samsung Smart TVs – which makes Samsung the first platform to feature the social network’s latest application. Facebook had announced earlier this month that it was soon releasing a video app aimed at connected TVs and other media players, like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, but didn’t unveil a specific launch date for any of those platforms.

According to Samsung, the Facebook video app for TV is now available on Samsung Smart TVs, including its 2017 QLED TV lineup and all of its 2015, 2016, 2017 Smart TV models. Samsung is the only TV manufacturer that’s supporting the Facebook app at launch, the company also notes.

The app itself allows users to sign into their own Facebook accounts, then view the videos shared by friends or Pages they follow, as well as top videos and others recommended to them based on their interests.

You only have to authenticate with Facebook one time – after installing the app and launching it for the first time, says Samsung.

News of Facebook’s app for the TV’s big screen was originally detailed by Facebook’s VP of Partnerships Dan Rose at the CODE Media conference. The move represents Facebook’s attempt to better compete with video-sharing rival YouTube as a place where creators want to upload and share their work, as well as place where those videos can be more easily discoverable.

The company also said at the time that videos in the News Feed would now play with the sound on, unless your device was set to silent. And the company said that it would no longer crop vertical video, to better compete with Snapchat. A picture-in-picture mode was introduced, as well, allowing you to watch a video by pulling it out to the side of your feed, as you continued to scroll.

More recently, Facebook announced it would test ads in the middle of videos – something that could help publishers make more money from their Facebook videos. This is an area where Facebook is still challenged, as compared with YouTube.

Combined, these changes are designed to make video a more central part of Facebook’s social network, which is often still used more for things like text updates, sharing links, and posting photos. But Facebook’s focus on video has been expanding, thanks to its launch of live streaming, and other advanced video tools. This includes those that allow creators more control over how their content is shared, such as Rights Manager, its version of YouTube’s Content ID, introduced at last year’s Facebook F8 conference.

With an app for watching video on TVs, Facebook gains another means of capturing users’ attention, not to mention ad dollars.

The company has not yet said when the video app will launch on Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, but given Samsung’s news, that may not be far off.

Facebook’s video app is available now via the Samsung Smart Hub