May 15, 2023 Update: Telly is a new 55-inch 4K HDR TV that is being offered for Free. Yes, you read that correctly. The first 500,000 free units will begin shipping to consumers this summer. Sign-up at www.freetelly.com to get one.
Telly is poised to disrupt the TV industry by enabling advertisers to fully subsidize the cost of the TV itself for the consumer, and deliver it completely for free.
Viewers can watch anything on Telly, from their cable or satellite TV provider to their favorite streaming app, by connecting through one of three HDMI ports built into the television or through the built-in TV tuner. Telly ships with a 4K Android TV streaming stick. Users are also able to connect their favorite streaming service or device (Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV and more) to take maximum control over their TV viewing experience.
Free TV is Coming
Ilya Pozin is the founder of TeeVee Corporation the company behind the new free TV offering. He’s also the founder of one of the most popular free ad-supported streaming services, Pluto TV.
“Telly is the biggest innovation in television since color.” Ilya Pozin, Founder of TeeVee Corporation and Pluto TV
Despite Telly’s “too good to be true” offering, it does appear to be a real product with high level industry players behind the project including: Former G4 president and CEO Neal Tiles, former Vizio VP of Product Management John Hwang, and former Vizio VP of Software Engineering Eric Loes, as well as other former Vizio, Paramount, and Pluto TV staffers.
However, as you can imagine there must be a big catch: It’s likely to mean more advertising than you can possibly imagine.
The concept for the TV appears to be a set that includes three main elements within its frame:
- The Main Screen, which is where you watch your movies and shows – is just the same as any TV.
- A Second Screen that is a separate display that runs the width of the TV either above or below the main TV screen (think of a video display with the width of a soundbar). The second screen will broadcast primarily display ads that relate to what is showing on the main screen, but will also display info such as weather, news headlines, and sports scores. Think of the ticker that normally runs across the bottom of the screen on cable news and sports channels, but displayed on a separate screen.
- A Built-in Soundbar for the audio.
Tip: A remote control and/or mobile app will probably be included to provide setup and access/control of additional features.
- Smart Screen: Telly’s Smart Screen lets viewers stay up to date with the latest news, sports scores, weather, stocks and so much more. They can gather together around the biggest screen in the home to watch Sunday football and track fantasy scores while watching the game. Movie night? Telly’s artificial intelligence helps deliver reviews and content recommendations, all on one device.
- Video Calling: Video calls will never be the same again as consumers can connect with friends, family and work colleagues from the biggest screen in the house. Viewers can even watch their favorite movie or sports teams together with friends and family across the county.
- Video Games: Telly’s Game Room is bringing the family back together for game night, packed with more than 40 video games, from arcade classics to immersive multiplayer experiences.
- Music: Play songs from popular music services on Telly’s stunning built-in five-driver sound bar.
- Voice Assistant: “Hey Telly” connects living room experiences like nothing before with an innovative AI-driven voice assistant.
- Fitness: Telly turns the family room into a fitness studio with free advanced motion-tracking fitness programs designed for every lifestyle.
Can The TeeVee Market Strategy Succeed?
Since the key of this concept is to provide consumers with a free TV, the major task of TeeVeee is to attract enough advertising dollars to pay for the cost of manufacturing and distributing the actual physical TVs.
This means that any potential advertisers need to see the value of paying those costs. The value question for advertisers is whether TV viewers will actually watch their ads, or just get so annoyed by them that they return the TV.
Four Big Issues
- Although the ads will be displayed on the TV’s second screen, do TV viewers want to be distracted by ads being shown during a show or movie? These ads will run throughout every program without pause.
- Is there any chance ads get displayed onto the main screen during regular viewing? If so, we could imagine people throwing things at their “Free TV” in disgust.
- What’s to prevent Telly owners from covering up the second screen with masking tape?
- We don’t yet know the specifications of Telly. However, it doesn’t appear to be the highest quality TV, but will it be good enough that consumers won’t care?
There are no shortage of 55-inch 4K TVs available on the market. The lowest priced model we could find on Amazon is the new TCL S4 4K TV for $299.01. It’s actually a 2023 model, while some previous year’s models are even lower.
Ultimately is $300 worth the distraction of ads?
Need Help TV Shopping?
Most consumers think that buying a TV is easy, but once you start looking for one you find out that it is a little more complicated than you thought. Not only are consumers faced with an abundance of capabilities (smart features, 4K UHD resolution, HDR) but the different technologies used in TVs these days are downright confusing when you have to sort through LED/LCD, OLED and QD-OLED. For many, there are just too many choices.
Update 5/26/2023: For a limited time (end date TBD), those that sign up for the DIRECTV STREAM service can receive priority access to the Telly waiting list.
Tip: The offer appears to not be applicable for current DIRECTV STREAM subscribers.
From Vikash Sharma, General Manager, DIRECTV STREAM: “DIRECTV has disrupted the pay-TV industry since our founding nearly 30 years ago, and this collaboration with Telly allows us to continue that focus while providing additional value to first-time DIRECTV STREAM customers looking for new low-cost ways to enjoy their entertainment”
DIRECTV STREAM is a subscription streaming service that offers DirecTV satellite channels and other content via the Internet. Several packages are available ranging from $64.99 to $99.99 per month. A Spanish-speaking service is also available for $64.99 per month.
May 8, 2023 at 5:28 pm
What is to prevent the consumer from blocking the second screen so they don’t have to watch the ads? (Duct Tape: 1002 uses!)
May 8, 2023 at 6:24 pm
Was thinking the same. It sounds like they’ve over-complicated things and if people see it as one more thing to figure out, it may flop. I’m obviously not the target market as I want the best monitor within reason, and then I’ll decide what media will be shown on it.
That being said, I did buy an inexpensive, smaller Roku TV for my better half when she was laid up for a few weeks just to make life easier to get access to all the things she watched in one screen with one remote. I now use it as a computer monitor for an iPad/PC and occasionally watch it using some of the native apps available on it.
TANSTAFL applies to this as always.
May 15, 2023 at 7:59 pm
Depending on the specs this could be something pretty cool. I reserved one just to see what it’s all about plus it’s got some really good people behind it. Could it be awesome… Yes… Could it be a dud.. Also yes… Only one way to find out..
May 15, 2023 at 9:52 pm
Did you have to download the app to make the reservation? We have some questions about that.
May 15, 2023 at 11:41 pm
I did… It just ask you some questions about what you watch and your online shopping habits are… No different than any other survey (hell, it’s stuff Google and Amazon already collect in droves anyway). It asked about travel as well but I said I don’t travel much and it skipped over that entire section. It didn’t take me long. I just like trying stuff out.
May 21, 2023 at 3:44 am
The crucial question is, if Telly goes bankrupt, will its creditors send vans full of burly goons to your house to grab the TV back?
If not, then I’m liking my odds.
May 21, 2023 at 1:43 pm
500,000 folks will move on the same day. Good luck getting those sets back.