Facebook videos are heading to your TV with new app

You know the drill: Facebook is big on video, releasing near-constant updates and features to get more eyeballs on moving pictures in the News Feed. 

Now, the social network took it one step further, announcing its biggest move in quite a while: a new Facebook video app for TV. 

With the new app, you can watch videos shared by your pals and Pages you follow, tune into top Live videos and view recommended videos right on your big screen. You can also watch videos you've saved for later, plus rewatch clips you've already seen, shared or uploaded yourself. 

Previously, you could stream videos from the Facebook app on your phone or tablet to your TV, but the new app creates a native experience, removing the need for a secondary device and putting Facebook videos directly into your television set. Facebook's app is similar to the Netflix app, just filled with videos from your friends' timelines.

Facebook video moves to the TV

Facebook video moves to the TV

Facebook's video app will roll out to the respective app stores for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV soon, and more platforms will be added down the road, Facebook said in a blog post.

News of the app comes as Facebook moves into creating original content - including recently hiring a former MTV executive - and embracing longer videos, all with the aim of increasing viewer numbers and time spent watching videos.

Could you one day curl up on the couch, open the Facebook video app on your TV and watch an original Facebook show from start to finish? It certainly sounds like that's where CEO Mark Zuckerberg and co. want the service to go, and fast.

Sound on, all the time

In addition to the Facebook video app for TV, Facebook is also rolling out a few tweaks to enhance the viewing experience on mobile.

For starters, audio for Facebook videos will now play automatically if the sound on your phone is turned on. If it's set to silent, you won't hear a peep.

This eliminates the need to tap a video to make the sound audible. Noise will fade in and out as you scroll through your Feed to more videos. If you're content to keep videos muted, head into Settings and switch "Videos in News Feed Start With Sound" to the off position. 

Facebook is also improving how we watch vertical videos, introducing a larger format that expands the view to take up more of your phone screen. This is rolling out to everyone on iOS and Android. 

Finally, for those multi-taskers who want to watch a clip while simultaneously flipping through their News Feed, there's now a picture-in-picture view that shrinks a video and sticks it in the corner of your screen so you can keep it rolling as you scroll.

Android users can even take the miniature view outside of the Facebook app, continuing their watch party while jumping around their phone. 

In addition to developing its own shows, the biggest question surrounding Facebook video is how the social network can make money off of user- and partner-generated content. 

This is an ongoing conundrum for the social network, but introducing a new platform - the TV - into the mix may be a strong selling point Facebook can use to woo advertisers. 

We'll see how this all unfolds as the app becomes available and new features take hold, but Facebook isn't hitting pause on its video plans any time soon, that's for sure.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.