A finger tapping the IGTV app login screen on a phone.
Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock.com

Instagram TV is a recent entry in the growing video-streaming space. What is it, and how does it differ from other online video platforms? Find out here.

What Is Instagram TV?

Instagram TV (IGTV) is a service Instagram released in 2018 that allows users to upload long-form videos over 60 seconds. Along with being available as a separate app, the service is accessible via the primary Instagram app.

It was introduced as a direct competitor to dedicated video-sharing services like YouTube and Vimeo—to mixed success.

How Do I Access IGTV?

IGTV App Launch Event
Instagram

There are several ways to access IGTV. The most straightforward way is to download the standalone app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This only features Instagram users and content specifically on the video platform.

Alternatively, you can browse through IGTV creators by going to the Instagram discover page and then selecting “IGTV” at the top left under the search bar. Here, you’ll be able to view trending IGTV videos as well as search creators specifically on the platform.

Instagram TV Account Page

You can also access IGTV content on an Instagram account’s profile page. You’ll find several tabs below their description. IGTV will typically be the second tab, which looks like a small television icon. Under this tab, you’ll find the account’s videos with a title and corresponding view count sorted by most recent. Tap on one to view it.

Alternatively, if you view a clip on your feed that is longer than 60 seconds, the app will have a pop-up that reads “Keep Watching.” If you tap this, you will be redirected to IGTV to complete the rest of the video. These clips have the IGTV logo on the lower-left corner.

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IGTV versus Posts and Stories

Instagram Stories
Instagram

The most significant difference between posts or stories and IGTV videos is the potential length. Whereas a video post can be up to 60 seconds long, and an individual Instagram story or Instagram reel can be up to 15 seconds, an IGTV video can stretch up to an hour. Any video you try to upload to your feed that is longer than 60 seconds will be converted into an IGTV video instead.

Another is that IGTV content can be organized and tagged into groups called “Series.” Each series can have several episodes under it. This is very useful for professional content creators and filmmakers that can sort their work. Users can filter by series by clicking a drop-down menu at the top left of the IGTV page of an account.

Lastly, there’s the video resolution. Unlike posts, which usually are square, most IGTV videos are fullscreen-and portrait oriented. Therefore, these clips are intended to be viewed with your phone standing upright.

RELATED: What Are Instagram’s “Stories”, and How Do I Use Them?

How Do I Make an IGTV Video?

There are several ways to make an IGTV video. Suppose you have the Instagram app, head to the “Creation” menu on the bottom middle of the screen. From here, tap on a file from your gallery and select “Long fullscreenideo” when you’re about to upload it.

Short Video Long Video Instagram

You can then set a cover among the screenshots inside the clip, or upload a JPG or PNG image as a custom cover.

Instagram TV Selecting Cover

You can also customize the description, title, and series grouping of the video. An important feature of IGTV is its ability to “post a preview.” Because there are considerably fewer people actively looking for IGTV videos than standard posts, a preview will post a short clip of the video to your primary Instagram feed, along with its corresponding description. Users will then be moved to IGTV to finish it. If your Facebook account is linked to your Instagram, you can also directly upload your video from here to Facebook Watch.

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Instagram TV Captions Description

You can also do the same process from the web version of Instagram by heading to your profile and selecting the IGTV tab. From here, click “Upload A Video,” then follow the same process as above. The maximum length for videos uploaded from mobile is 15 minutes, while the maximum length of videos uploaded from the web version is 60 minutes.

Instagram TV Upload Desktop Web

To have an optimal upload, Instagram recommends that videos uploaded to IGTV meet the following specifications:

  • MP4 format
  • 9:16 aspect ratio for vertical videos, 16:9 for horizontal videos
  • Minimum resolution of 720p
  • Minimum frames-per-second of 30fps
  • Maximum file size of 3.6GB for 60-minute clips

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Should You Use Instagram TV?

Instagram TV has not yet caught on in the way Instagram has hoped. While it has acquired an audience, thanks to its integration with the existing Instagram feed, usage of the service as a dedicated video-sharing service is significantly lower than its sister application Facebook Watch or Youtube.

For now, we recommend using IGTV only if you’re integrating it into your existing Instagram Feed as visibility for these videos tends to be low. However, it has a ways to go before becoming a full-fledged competitor to the largest video websites on the internet.





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