Some ex-Googlers think viewing TV on a phone in portrait mode is a good idea


  • A startup company called Dreams has launched with a different take on the smartphone video trend.
  • The Dreams app offers TV shows that can be viewed vertically while the phone is in portrait mode.
  • The startup, founded by ex-Google and Instagram team members, has raised $5 million so far.

Watching video on a smartphone, even one with a big screen, usually involves flipping the phone from the vertical (portrait) mode to watch content in horizontal (landscape) mode. However, most of the time, smartphone owners use it in portrait mode with one hand for tasks like messaging, shopping and even playing some games. So why not watch videos in portrait mode as well?

That’s the thinking behind the formation of Dreams, a recently launched startup company that was formed by ex-employees of Google and Instagram. Their goal, according to Business Insider, is to change the way phone owners view video and TV shows. The team has created an app that converts that experience to one that can be watch comfortably in vertical portrait mode.

Read more: Best video streaming apps

According to Dreams co-founder Tom Bender, the company’s research found that most people don’t like turning their phones to watch them in landscape mode, even thought it has a more familiar aspect ratio for videos similar to current flatscreen TVs. Bender and the other Dreams creators believe that watching videos in portrait mode will become the true future when watching TV on phones.

The company has already launched the Dreams app for iOS and Android. It offers a number of TV shows from networks like HGTV, Food Network, Animal Planet, Bloomberg, and others. However, the team at Dreams has reformatted the show’s videos so that they can be watched vertically. Some of the shows are formatted ahead of when they air, while others, such as the Bloomberg news channel, are reformatted in real time.

Of course, the change in ratio also means that much of the original video’s content is lost. While that may be fine for short form videos posted on YouTube and Snapchat, that may be a more difficult sell for people if they want to watch, for example, an episode of Game of Thrones in portrait mode.

Dreams believes that the smartphone, and its support for vertical video, is the future of TV. So far the company has received $5 million in funding to help in its efforts from a number of investors. It’s possible that one of the big tech companies, including Google, could acquire Dreams for its technology if it takes off.

What do you think of watching long-form videos in portrait mode on your phone? Is it really the future, or will it end before it begins?



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