A company will give away 500k+ 55-inch televisions this summer.
The catch? Well, that’d be the attached 9-inch-tall secondary screen displaying weather, scores, stocks, and… lots and lots of ads.
Omnipresent ads in your home…
… Worth it for a free 4K TV? Telly, Pluto TV founder Ilya Pozin’s latest venture, bets you’ll say yes.
Pozin plans to ship millions of TVs, and his ability to scale shouldn’t be doubted — free streamer Pluto TV has 80m+ monthly users.
Telly will essentially trade TVs for customers’ data, then charge advertisers for the Holy Grail of marketing real estate: non-skippable, targeted living room ad space.
Oh, and that other wrinkle…
The “If the service is free, you are the product” adage can be overused — but it can’t be used enough for Telly.
- It’ll know everything users watch and click, and share those insights with “data partners.”
- It also has a camera. And a microphone. And a baked-in AI voice assistant always listening for “Hey Telly.”
- And this deserves its own bullet: Telly’s sensors monitor for the “physical presence of you and any other individuals using the TV at any given time.”
Users can’t opt out of any of this without returning the TV or paying for it.
If Telly’s gonna blab about us…
… we can talk about its flaws out in the open, right?
- Telly underestimates humanity — hackers will hack and resale markets will pop up like weeds.
- Privacy concerns need more than vague assurances; offering a “privacy shutter” will only assuage so many fears.
Speaking of which, perhaps they’ve heard of… fabric? Congrats in advance to every Etsy shop that sells gobs of cute sleeves designed to block out Telly’s second-screen ads.
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