When Facebook launched its first hardware products last year, the portal and smart displays, the company mostly touted its video calling features.
But Facebook also had an interesting feature that mostly flew under the radar. The portal devices were also capable of augmented reality, with spark AR, the platform responsible for mobile augmented reality experiences on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, supplying the virtual effects.
Roughly a year later, with a former Google engineer leading the Portal team, Facebook has expanded the portal family.
In addition to last year's portal + (now $ 279), Facebook now offers a redesigned portal ($ 179 ), which now resembles a Google / Nest Home Hub, the similarly-designed-just-smaller Portal Mini ($ 129), and a brand new form factor, the Portal TV ($ 149).
The devices are available for purchase via the Amazon website, and Best Buy in US and Canada. Customers who opt to buy any two devices will enjoy a $ 50 discount on their purchase. Facebook has also expanded its sales territory for the portal collection of devices, with customers in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and New Zealand now ready to purchase the hardware.
For our purposes here, we are focusing on Portal TV, because it achieves a rather unique milestone: it brings augmented reality to your television.
Measuring in at 7.48 inches by 1.18 inches by 2.24 inches and weighing in at 0.68 pounds, the Portal TV device comes in any color as long as it's black.
Portal TV's central hardware feature is its camera, a 12.5 MP sensor with 120 degrees field of view. The device also includes a full-range speaker for audio output and far-field array of eight omnidirectional microphones for voice input.
Spark AR on the portal
Portal has four augmented reality categories for users to choose from, one that is familiar to Facebook Messenger users, one is still in the oven.  First, the portal offers the same AR effects that are available on the messenger mobile app. These AR effects work on calls between portal users as well as in calls between portal and mobile messenger users.
Second, there's Storytime, which works for portal users calling other portal users or messenger users on mobile or desktop. As the name implies, the feature assists users in telling children's stories.
Storytime works much like a traditional book, with virtual frames visible to the audience and captions visible to the reader. Readers advance each "page" with the handheld remote.