As more and more clips invade news feeds, it's becoming clear that Facebook isn't kidding about focusing on videos, and now the social network's making it easier to watch them on the big screen. Facebook recently announced that users can “cast” videos from iOS devices or a web browser to an Apple TV or any other AirPlay-enabled device, as well as the Chromecast and Google Cast-enabled devices.
Soon Android devices will also be able to cast videos to Chromecast. Facebook didn’t announce a specific date for when this feature will roll out to Google-powered phones and tablets.
Why this matters: Video's becoming a central part of user activity on Facebook. That includes not only the relatively recent, and socially important, Facebook Live, but pre-recorded videos shared by users. In June, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s president for the EMEA region, said the news feed would probably be all video in five years. But people want to watch video—though not read their news feeds—on the big screen. Casting to popular devices like the Apple TV and the Chromecast, then, is a compromise. Users can still check out Facebook on mobile, but send content to the TV when they need to.
Casting Facebook videos
Using the new service is fairly straightforward and similar to how people already use AirPlay and Google Cast. When a video is playing in the news feed, tap the TV icon, choose the correct destination device from the list, and in a few seconds the video is playing on your TV.
The new video feature works with pre-recorded videos as well as Facebook Live. The Live videos will include features similar to the app including real-time reactions and comments that stream across the screen. Users can also add their reaction on the app while watching the video on their TV.