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Telly offers free dual-screen TV but with continuous ads

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Telly, a start-up led by Ilya Pozin, one of the co-founders of Pluto TV, is entering the TV market with its latest and bizarre offering — a dual-screen TV for free. But there’s a catch, there will be a constant streaming of ads on the second, smaller screen.

This display is called the ‘Smart Display’ by the company and is separated from the main TV by a soundbar. In addition to showing ads, it is also capable of displaying widgets, including sports scores, a news ticker, weather, and stock prices, among others. The ads will pop up on the right side of the Smart Display or in the form of a sponsored news feed on the left side of the screen.

Telly’s chief strategy officer, Dallas Lawrence, explains that ads might use both displays when the TV is not in use. He also states that Telly is working on Telly Rewards program that will reward users with a gift card to services like Netflix or Starbucks for participating in things like on-screen polls. “When the Theatre display (top screen) is not in use, the ad unit could come to life in a fun way connecting both,” Lawrence told The Verge.

The TV comes with a 55-inch 4K HDR panel linked to the secondary display through the company’s operating system — Telly OS. However, Telly OS does not currently support third-party streaming apps like Netflix.

To compensate for this, Telly comes bundled with a few 4K Android TV dongles that can be used to watch whatever streaming service you want. It is also compatible with other streaming devices, including Roku, the Amazon Fire Stick, and Apple TV.

The TV comes with an in-built camera in the middle of the soundbar that enables ‘free advanced motion-tracking fitness programs’ and Zoom integration. For the more privacy-focused users, it has privacy shutters so that they can open and close when required.

The TV has 40 different games, and users can play music from popular music services. It even has an AI-driven voice assistant that answers to Hey Kelly along the lines of Hi Alexa and others.

Before launching Telly, Ilya made a bet on free TV in the past with Pluto TV, one of the most successful free ad-supported streaming TV services, and will likely use the knowledge and experience to the TV as well. The company plans to ship 500,000 free TVs this summer. You can head to freetelly.com to reserve your TV.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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