You’ve heard of ad-supported TV streaming, now get ready for ad-supported TV screens. Pluto TV co-founder Ilya Pozin has officially unveiled the new startup Telly, which plans to eventually give away millions of free TV sets that constantly show its viewers advertisements.
The Telly TV boasts a 55-inch, 4k HDR main screen, complete with sleek features like microphones, an HD camera, LED mood lighting, and a motion sensor for interactive games. Users can set it up with their OS of choice — whether it be Roku, Fire TV, or even old-school cable — as a rotation of ads and a sponsored news ticker appear on a separate screen at the bottom.
“For too long, consumers have not been an equal part of the advertising value exchange,” Pozin said during a demonstration last week (via The Hollywood Reporter). “Companies are making billions of dollars from ads served on televisions, yet consumers have historically had to pay for both the TV and the content they watch. All of that changes today. When I co-founded Pluto TV, we created an entirely new model that offered amazing TV content to viewers for free. Now, with Telly, we are providing the actual television for free as well.”
Pozin insisted that the Telly TV is “not a budget TV by any means whatsoever,” and that it would traditionally go for $1,000. In addition to ads, Telly will profit off of viewer data; as Pozin explained, customers will receive their TVs in exchange for information like their household demographics.
“We know who you are, we know where you live, we know your income, we know what car you’re driving, we know when your lease is up,” Pozin said. “We know what your favorite brands are. We know your favorite sports teams are so when you first bring your TV home, you scan a QR code with your phone, all the data is already there.”
Other popular smart TVs like Roku, Amazon Fire, and Google Chromecast have brought their prices down close to zero thanks to a similar tactic of selling user data to advertisers; some marketers even predicted years ago that a free TV model would be “inevitable.” The future is now, we suppose.