Facebook today announced that users of its mobile app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch can take advantage of some newly expanded options that let them stream any native video from Facebook to their television through devices like the Apple TV or Google’s Chromecast HDMI dongle.
Wait, haven’t we always had the ability to stream any video from an iOS device to the Apple TV or an AirPlay-enabled device via Apple’s AirPlay feature?
Yes, but this is different in that you can watch Facebook videos on the big screen while browsing the News Feed on the device you’re streaming at the same time.
When you see a video in your News Feed, tap it and then hit a new TV icon in the player’s top right to start streaming it to your telly through the Apple TV or Chromecast.
This feature is available both on Facebook’s mobile app and in the desktop interface. As I mentioned, you can still multitask in Facebook on the device you’re streaming the video from, which is awesome as you can basically catch up on other stories in the feed while the video keeps playing on the TV.
“Or you can find more videos to watch by choosing a new one from places like News Feed or your Saved tab,” said Facebook.
The feature supports Facebook Live video, too.
When one of your friends starts a live broadcast on Facebook, just tap the TV icon to send the live stream to your TV. The best thing about this feature is that you’ll see real-time reactions and comments to the live video on the TV screen and can also join in the conversation yourself by reacting or commenting, in real time.
The social networking firm promised that it will soon be rolling out the ability to cast from Android devices to the Chromecast and Google Cast, too.
Facebook’s iOS app, available for free on the App Store, was bumped this morning to version 67.0, but I couldn’t find these new video options in it. I’m guessing this feature is a staggered rollout, in which case it should be enabled for everyone in the coming days and weeks.