Facebook, further expanding the reach of its video tentacles, has launched on the fourth-generation Apple TV — letting users watch live and on-demand videos on their big-screen HDTVs.
The free Facebook app for Apple TV will let users watch videos from their friends and Pages they follow. It also will display recommended videos based on your interests, as well as top live videos that are trending on Facebook at any given time.
Earlier this week, Facebook’s video app launched on Samsung Electronics’ Smart TVs, including its 2017 QLED TV lineup and all of its 2015, 2016 and 2017 connected-TV models. Samsung is the only TV manufacturer that will support the Facebook app initially.
Facebook, which announced the connected-TV plans last month, said it’s also developing an app for Amazon Fire TV with support for other platforms in the pipeline.
Last fall, Facebook introduced a way to “cast” videos from iOS or Android devices to Apple TVs and Google Chromecast dongles by tapping the TV icon in the Facebook app for smartphones or tablets. The new apps will let users access Facebook video directly from connected-TV devices.
Initially, Facebook videos streamed on Apple TV and other devices apps will not carry advertising, but the ultimate goal is to provide a lean-back experience that will let the social giant sell TV-targeted ads. The company recently announced the launch of a test of mid-roll ads for premium video on mobile and desktop, and expanded live ad breaks in the U.S. for Facebook Live.
On a parallel track, Facebook is currently looking to acquire or fund original programming — including scripted and unscripted formats — from media companies and individual digital stars. Last month Facebook cut a deal with Univision to live-stream 46 soccer matches from Mexican league Liga MX this year, and is in talks with Major League Baseball to live-stream one free game per week.
Industry consultant and Variety contributor Jan Dawson posted images on Twitter of the Apple TV home screen featuring the Facebook app: