telly homepage may 2023

Pluto TV Wants You To Have a Free TV… But There Is A Big Catch

Most consumers think that buying a TV is easy, but once you start looking for one, you’ll find it’s a little more difficult than you thought. Not only are consumers confronted with an abundance of features (smart features, 4K UHD resolution, HDR), the various technologies used in TVs these days are downright confusing when you have to sort LED/LCD, OLED and QD-OLED. For many, there are simply too many options.

So what if you could just get rid of all those hassles of buying a TV and just get it for free? No, this is not part of some fancy socialist paradise that many would love to see, but a very capitalist idea originally reported by Janko Rettgers of Lowpass.

Also read: Telly Offers Free 55-inch 4K TV, So What’s the Catch? [Updated]

Free TV could be in your future

Ilya Pozin, the founder of Pluto TV, one of the most popular free and ad-supported streaming services, is seriously thinking about offering consumers just such an opportunity. However, as you can imagine, this is a big catch: more ads than you can imagine.

Pluto TV free streaming app on many devices
Pluto TV, a Paramount company, is a free-to-air TV streaming service that provides hundreds of linear live channels and thousands of on-demand titles.

Building on the success of Pluto TV, Pozin founded a new company: TeeVee Corporation.

The TV concept is a set that includes three main elements:

  • Main screenwhere you watch your movies and shows is the same as any TV.
  • A Second screen it is a separate display that occupies the width of the TV either above or below the main TV screen (think of a soundbar-width video display). The second screen will broadcast primarily display ads related to what is displayed on the home screen, but will also display information such as the weather, news headlines, and sports scores. Think of the ticker that usually runs at the bottom of the cable news and sports screen but is displayed on a separate screen.
  • A Built-in soundbar for audio.

Tip: A remote control and/or a mobile app is likely to be enabled to enable configuration and access/control of additional functions.

The TV will also be a smart TV or come bundled with an additional play-and-play dongle to access streaming content.

Many of these details may change before the company releases the final product. The official TeeVee website ( only consists of a splash screen with no details other than the brand name “Telly”, “coming out in 2023” and a statement that it will be “the biggest thing to happen to television since colored.” ?

For those who think this plan is a lot of smoke and mirrors, the company’s staff (under the name “Stealth Startup”) includes several big players: former G4 president and CEO Neil Tile, former Vizio vice president of product management John Hwang and former Vizio Vice President of Software Engineering Eric Loes, and other former employees of Vizio, Paramount and Pluto TV.

Can TeeVee’s Market Strategy Be Successful?

Since the key to this concept is to provide consumers with a free TV, TeeVeee’s main goal is to raise enough advertising dollars to pay for the cost of producing and distributing actual physical TVs.

This means that any potential advertisers should see the value of paying those costs. The value question for advertisers is whether viewers will actually watch their ads, or whether they will be so annoyed by them that they will return the TV.

As I see it, there are two problems here:

  1. Although the ads will be shown on the second screen of the TV, do the viewers want to be distracted by the ads shown during the show or movie (we’re talking continuous ads, not ad breaks)?
  1. In addition to all the promotional material, another issue is the actual TV. If you’re talking about a free TV, what screen sizes will it offer, what features will it have, and what actual display and/or backlight technology will it use? – probably not OLED, miniLED or QLED. For me, the only “good” part at the moment is the planned inclusion of a built-in soundbar system.

Free TV sounds great, but the trade-off may not be worth it. If ads are too intrusive, features are lackluster, and display technology is inefficient, the road to success will be difficult except for the most desperate consumers.

This is definitely a continuation of the story. Presumably this product will be available by the end of 2023, but I have a feeling it will be shown at CES in January 2024 for maximum press coverage before release (I’m curious to see what this TV will physically look like with its second screen) .

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