Telly, a trailblazing company in the television industry, has initiated the distribution of its innovative, ad-supported TVs to the first group of customers. This unique venture kicked off in May when Telly opened its waitlist. The company ambitiously aims to deliver 500,000 free TVs by the end of 2023, with plans to expand to several million units in 2024.
Setting Telly’s 55-inch 4K TV apart is an additional, slimmer screen positioned below the main display, separated by a soundbar. This extra screen is specifically designed to showcase advertisements, forming the cornerstone of Telly’s business strategy.
The Telly dual-screen TV offers a glimpse into a potentially revolutionary future in television. To utilize this device, users must agree to share their viewing data with advertisers. The secondary screen isn’t just for ads, though; it also displays useful widgets like sports scores, news tickers, weather updates, and more. The TV is also equipped with a camera (complete with a privacy shutter) for interactive fitness sessions and a variety of inbuilt games.
In a move to enhance advertising efficiency, Telly is collaborating with Nielsen to gather and analyze unique viewership and advertising effectiveness data. Partnerships with Microsoft, Magnite, and MNTN are also in place to bolster the TV’s advertising capabilities. Notably, Microsoft was selected as the advertising partner for Netflix’s new ad-supported tier last year.
While the exact number of customers in this initial distribution phase remains undisclosed, those receiving the TVs will be part of Telly’s public beta program. This access includes a suite of launch features, such as integrations with Spotify, LiveOne, and Zoom. Although Telly’s system doesn’t support the installation of streaming apps, it compensates by including a Google TV dongle, and is compatible with Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, and Apple TV.
Ilya Pozin, CEO and founder of Telly, expressed excitement about shipping what he considers the “smartest television ever built.” He highlighted the company’s disruptive ad-supported model that allows consumers to enjoy the TV for free and emphasized the technological advancements enabling continuous improvements through updates.
Despite the privacy trade-off, the allure of a free TV is undeniable. A month after the waitlist opened, 250,000 people had already registered, a number that is likely higher now. The introduction of Telly’s unique TV model might just redefine the future of television viewing and advertising.