Start-up Offering Free Dual-Screen TV To Consumers, In Exchange For Non-Stop Ads

May 16, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Via Display Daily (pay wall)

A start-up has started taking reservations for a free 55-inch 4K TV that has a second ribbon LCD below it that will run ads and information complementary to what’s playing on the primary display.

The service – called Telly – is aimed at consumers, but the concept will probably be intriguing to some digital OOH media network operators who use TVs and set-top boxes in places like sports bars.

Telly‘s dual screen smart pairs a “normal” TV with a second “bar-type” display right below it, with the two sync’d up and running off a proprietary OS, called TellyOS. The big TV has an HDMI stick as the smarts, as opposed to a built-in system on chip.

The company says it intends to ship the first of 500,000 free units of Telly to consumers this summer, with the substantial capital cost of the venture subsidized (and ideally covered off) by brand advertisers. What those advertisers get is detailed metrics on viewing habits, and presumably the ability to tightly target ads to different viewer personas.

The pitch: Now, all smart TVs come with ads. But you still pay for the TV. All of that changes today. During the signup process we ask questions about you and your household to optimize your ad experience. Brands in turn, pay for the non-intrusive ad on the Smart Screen. That’s how you get Telly free. Plain and simple. It’s time you got cut in on the deal.

The units also come with a sound bar and a camera that enables video calling.

This is a consumer product, not commercial, but there are lots and lots of venues like bars and fast casual restaurants that have a lot of TVs showing games. If you wanted to run ads on those screens, you were doing reverse L-bars to squeeze the broadcast signal (which brings some broadcast rights issues into play).

But … if you could leave the big 55-inch 4K screen alone and not shrink its size for ads – and instead show adds on a second screen below it – that might be kind of interesting.

Telly’s founder and CEO has a background in TV and particularly streaming. He co-founded Pluto TV, an ad-supported streaming service that was acquired by ViacomCBS in 2019.

  1. Wes Dixon says:

    Seems to me that the “new” aspect ratio is 4:3 again. Why have a separate screen?

  2. Jeremy Gavin says:

    Cool form factor for digital signage use I suppose. For their sake I hope they have added some tech that can sense if someone just puts cardboard in front of the ad bar as I imagine most users may do that.

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