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Telly begins shipping its first batch of free TV sets

Telly says some customers will soon receive its first batch of 55-inch smart TV sets.

The television screen displays a football game.

A company that is offering television fans free access to a 55-inch smart TV that is subsidized through advertisements has started shipping its first batch of the new device.

On Thursday, executives at Telly said it is still on track to ship 500,000 of its smart TV sets across the country and has selected a “diverse cross-section of the U.S. population” to be among the first to get them.

Telly didn’t say how many of the smart TV sets were shipping this week, nor did it reveal the approximate locations of those first lucky customers. 

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Image: Telly

The Telly device contains a main 55-inch screen that will allow television watchers to stream content from a supplied Android TV dongle or a different device like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV stick, or game console.

A sound bar located directly below the main screen includes a six-driver system that is engineered by Harman Kardon, and just below that is a supplemental screen that will include advertisements.

In a statement, Telly CEO Ilya Pozin said:

“Our disruptive ad-supported business model makes the television completely free to consumers, but the most exciting thing about Telly is the technology that enables our dual-screen television to get better with every update. We can’t wait for customers to see what a truly smart TV can do, as we continue to surprise and delight Telly households for years to come.”

Telly is hoping to differentiate itself in the television hardware market by making its TV sets available without cost to customers.

The company makes money through the advertisements that appear on the secondary screen — and it imposes several requirements on customers to ensure those ads are delivered.

Among other things, Telly requires customers to connect their TV sets to the Internet and not use any technology that prevents the blocking of their advertisements.

Customers also can’t sell or otherwise give their Telly TV set to another person, must agree to use Telly as their primary TV set, have to notify the company if they change their address, and can’t “attach peripheral devices” without Telly’s express consent.

Read the fine print

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Image: Telly

Telly says it reserves the right to ask customers to return their TV sets if the company finds that they aren’t using them in line with their terms of service.

If the TV set isn’t returned, Telly says it will charge a credit card on file as much as $1,000 (an earlier version of its terms of service said the charge was only $500; it isn’t clear when the amount was updated).

Those demands haven’t deterred TV fans from signing up for Telly: More than 250,000 households registered for a device within the first week after Telly was announced.

Of those who have registered, Telly says around two-thirds represent younger consumers in the “Millennial” and “Generation Z” camp, which are increasingly attractive to advertisers but tend to be hard to reach.

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Matthew Keys is an award-winning freelance journalist who covers the intersection of media, technology and journalism. He is the publisher of and a contributor to KnowTechie, StreamTV Insider (formerly Fierce Video) and Digital Content Next. Matthew is based in Northern California.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar for George Rose

    George Rose

    July 14, 2023 at 5:23 pm

    My wife & I would sure like to Participate in your committed advertising program for your Smart Television experience. We rather enjoy the commercial interaction. Could you let us know if we can be included? Thank you!

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