New startup wants to give you a free 55″ Smart TV in exchange for always displaying ads on a second screen

Telly, a new hardware startup from the co-founder of streaming service Pluto TV, envisions a world where TVs are free if you’re willing to live with perpetual advertising. The first smart TV model revealed today has a 55-inch primary screen with a separate secondary screen below a soundbar that connects the two displays. While the secondary screen can display helpful information like sports scores, news tickers, weather, and stock prices, its main purpose is to always display ads that pay for the free TV.

Details about the product are scarce, but the press images show at least a perpetual ad on the right of the secondary screen. While the company says ads won’t interrupt what you’re watching on the main display, they are able to utilize both the top and bottom screens. The TV, which is capable of 4K HDR, is running a proprietary operating called TellyOS that won’t support third-party streaming services. Instead, the TV will include some sort of Android TV-based streaming dongle but it’s also compatible with other HDMI devices, like Fire TVs.

The TV also includes a camera, which can be covered by an included shutter, and microphones, so kiss your privacy goodbye if you let this thing into your home. The company’s privacy policy explicitly states that they may collect information about what you’re viewing, the duration of your viewing sessions, what you search for, what buttons you press, and even the physical presence of people in the room. If you opt-out of sharing this information, you will be charged $500 and I expect that clause also kicks in if you try to block the ads in any way.

If you’re interested, Telly is taking reservations for the first 500,000 free devices that will start shipping this summer. Be aware that, just to get your name on the list, you have to provide your name, email, phone number, address, and install the company’s mobile app with notifications enabled.

  1. Jeff says:

    Great, just put a mirror in front of that camera and a speaker with music on the front of that mike!

    • Manabi says:

      And drape a sheet over the lower screen.

      This reminds me of the free iPod thing from several years back. You could get one free from it, but most people couldn’t pull off doing enough offers to get them free without paying a lot of money. This waw especially true for the ones that required referrals. It was all the rage for a while, then vanished as people figured out it really was too good to be true.

    • joe blow says:

      In soviet America, TV watches you!

  2. Zeric says:

    The TOS says it must be your primary television, must be kept connected to internet, and you can’t have ad blocking system on your network. If you stop using it or it’s disconnected from the internet, they will request you to return it, or charge your credit card.

    No doubt returning it will be an expensive proposition, most people will pay a lot to ship a big TV box somewhere. I didn’t see any information on how much they will charge your credit card if you stop using it and don’t return it.

    I also didn’t see how equipment failures are handled. Who pays to get it fixed and how is that accomplished?

    At some point, say 10 years from now, the tech will be obsolete. What happens then, do you still have to ship it back 10 years from now or buy yourself out of the contract? How much will they charge to buy out the contract if the equipment is obsolete?

    I certainly wouldn’t rush into this.

  3. Tj says:

    If this works, would that mean much cheaper prices for Smart TVs all around? They all shove ads down our throat, whether we want them or not.

    • Ujn Hunter says:

      How much cheaper do you need Smart TVs to get? This isn’t worth it… I got my 55″ for like $299 years ago… which is probably the cheapest (best) TV I’d bought in my lifetime…

  4. Nick says:

    No need for 55in even if it were free

  5. bigbrother says:

    Interesting concept. We as consumers should be compensated more when it comes to all the advertising we consume. That said, the harvesting and TOS is far too restrictive here and swings the pendulum the wrong direction. I’d love to have an outside the box TV like this to experiment with but you’re not allowed to. All sorts of fun things you could do with a HTPC and two displays like that. Oh well.

  6. Jim says:

    Rememember FreePC(dotCom)? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

  7. Danner says:

    Not sure why you wouldn’t solve this problem with software on the main screen.

    Also, when I read the title, I thought the remote was a tablet with ads on it, which seems like a better idea than the solution described.

  8. EmoBrianEno says:

    I would do it if i had a place of my own to put a tv front and center. The privacy concerns imho are on par with that of Alexa devices and Amazon sidewalk.

  9. Mark says:

    Hmmm…Nooooo! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Not to say that setup is downright FUGLY!

    • Anthony Rossetti says:

      just get it and wait for them to go under then mayeb you can hack it and bend the bottom screen 90 degrees and use it as a keyboard with mac book style bar and stream deck shortcuts,use it as monitor and keyboard

  10. Robert Frano says:

    I Don’t Think So!

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