A New Startup Wants to Give You a Free TV, But There’s a Catch

Telly's TVs will include a second screen devoted to displaying ads

Telly's second screen will continuously display ads.
Telly's second screen will continuously display ads.

Pluto TV co-founder Ilya Pozin is back with a new startup venture, and he wants to kick it off by giving you a new TV free of charge. As Variety reports, the new company Telly wants to ship out 500,000 (and “eventually millions,” per the publication) of free 4K HDTVs, which Pozin claims would normally cost more than $1,000 apiece at retail.

Of course, there’s a catch: The 55-inch main screen is a regular TV panel, but the unit also comes with a 9-inch high second screen affixed to the bottom of it. The left-hand side of that screen will be used to display news, sports scores, stock market information and weather forecasts, while the right side will be dedicated to displaying ads. The ads will remain on that screen the whole time you’re watching TV, and you won’t be able to skip past them.

If you’re able to tolerate (or at least ignore) a second screen displaying non-stop ads, you’ll be able to watch anything on your Telly TV — including cable, satellite TV or streaming services, through the device’s included Chromecast or any Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV player you may already have. The TV also includes three HDMI inputs, an over-the-air tuner and an integrated soundbar, as well as a voice assistant for navigation and control, built-in Zoom calling, a webcam and access to over 40 video games that range from “arcade classics to immersive multiplayer experiences,” according to the company.

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“Telly is giving away the device completely free,” Pozin said in a statement. “The business will be entirely supported by advertising and affiliate revenue.” He added that Telly TVs are upgradable via over-the-air software updates, so the company can continue to add new features.

If that all sounds good to you, you can check out Telly’s reservation system at freetelly.com. The company says it will begin shipping the first 500,000 free TVs to qualifying U.S. consumers this summer. When you sign up, you’ll be asked for specific demographic and lifestyle info, which, according to Variety, “the company will use to target addressable ads to individual households.”

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