What Is Instagram TV?

Why Instagram is offering a cable alternative and how it works

Instagram TV is Instagram's video-sharing platform designed specifically with phones in mind. It allows creators to upload long-form vertical videos meant to be viewed on smartphones. Unlike Instagram, which places a maximum length of one minute on videos, Instagram TV videos can be up to one hour long.

How Instagram TV Works

Instagram TV is available as a standalone app for your phone, but it's closely tied in with the base platform; you log in using your Instagram credentials, for example.

a woman watching IGTV on her phone by a river
Chalirmpoj Pimpisarn / EyeEm

What sets Instagram TV apart from the plain offering is its focus on long videos instead of shorts and pictures. It's also designed to make it as easy as possible to watch stuff you're interested in.

When you launch the app, it immediately starts playing a popular or trending video. Swipe to get a new video, check out videos from friends or creators you follow, or search for new creators.

How to Get Instagram TV

Before you can get Instagram TV, you need to have an Instagram account. Since Instagram TV is part of Instagram, users are all set to use the service without doing anything extra. If you're new to the social media service, create an account using either your computer or your phone.

Does Instagram TV Have Commercials or Pay Creators?

Instagram TV doesn't run commercials, so you can watch as much as you like without ever sitting through an ad. There's also no subscription fee, and you don't have to pay to download the app, so the service is free to use.

Unlike YouTube and Facebook Watch, which both have provisions in place to either share revenue with or pay creators directly, Instagram TV does not pay people who post on it. If you want to support your favorites on Instagram, your best bet is to check if they have a Patreon, sell merchandise, or have some other way to help out.

How to Find Videos and Channels on Instagram TV

IGTV is designed to automatically play a popular or trending video the moment you start the app. You can watch that video if you find it interesting, or swipe the screen to move on to a new one.

If you have something specific in mind, search for a channel or video in the Instagram TV app. Tap the magnifying-glass icon to search for specific people. When you tap a creator, their channel opens.

How to Follow Someone on Instagram TV

If you're already on the channel of a creator you want to follow, look for the little icon that looks like a person with a plus symbol next to it, and tap it. The plus will change into a checkmark, signifying you've followed them.

You can also follow someone directly from a video. This approach is handy if you're scrolling through the feed and see something you like. You don't have to leave the video, or even stop watching it, to follow the creator.

To follow someone, tap anywhere on the video to reveal the overlay. Tap the name of the creator, and then the follow icon.

  • How do I cast Instagram to my TV?

    If you have a Chromecast-enabled TV or a Chromecast, log in to Instagram from the Chrome browser on a computer, select the More icon (three lines) > Cast > choose your TV. On an Android phone, use Google Home with your TV to cast your entire display: connect both devices to the same network, open the Google Home app, select the TV to mirror to, and then tap Cast my screen > Cast screen.

  • How do I post on Instagram TV?

    From the Instagram mobile app, tap your profile icon > plus (+) sign > IGTV. Select your video > Next > add image and title > Post to IGTV. From the IGTV app, select plus (+) sign to upload a video or record and post directly from the app. On Instagram.com, select your profile > IGTV > Upload > add details > Post.

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