Telly Launches Dual-Screen, Ad-Supported TV For Free: Here's How To Get One

TVs have changed a lot in form and function since the days of cathode tubes. They've flattened out and dropped enough weight to make Jenny Craig proud, they're sharper and more vibrant than ever, and they now offer tons of connected functionality with built-in apps and games.

But truly transformative innovation has stagnated in recent years. It's hard to iterate on the classic rectangle. Rollable OLEDs and art TVs help your home aesthetically but don't add much to the viewing experience. Telly, quietly born of leaders from top streaming giants, wants to change that with a TV that adds a screen to your screen. Even more innovative: it's yours for free, thanks to the constant ads it shows.

This dual display setup marries your typical 16:9 panel with a smaller, secondary display that runs its own apps, which are both fun and informative in nature. Telly's advertising-fueled value proposition sounds capitalistic on the surface, but there's no other way it could fully subsidize the cost. It's making money, but you aren't losing any: a win-win if you will.

"Companies are making billions of dollars from ads served on televisions, yet consumers have historically had to pay for both the TV and the content they watch. All of that changes today. When I co-founded Pluto TV, we created an entirely new model that offered amazing TV content to viewers for free. Now, with Telly, we are providing the actual television for free as well," said founder and CEO Ilya Pozin.

All Telly asks you to pay is attention

Telly offers a sleek 55-inch 4K HDR panel shoehorned with an integrated penta-driver soundbar on the TV side. You'll have 3 HDMI inputs to attach any external devices you want, including the streaming stick that comes in the box. You can stick to local channels with its built-in tuner.

Beneath the soundbar is the secondary "Smart Screen." The Smart Screen will always show an unobtrusive ad, typically sectioned off to the right based on early renders.

"Telly's Smart Screen lets viewers stay up to date with the latest news, sports scores, weather, stocks and so much more. They can gather together around the biggest screen in the home to watch Sunday football and track fantasy scores while watching the game. Movie night? Telly's artificial intelligence helps deliver reviews and content recommendations, all on one device," the company advertises.

TellyOS powers all these experiences. It also offers video calling (there's a built-in webcam), games, music, voice assistant functionality (facilitated by a built-in microphone array), and fitness programs with motion tracking. It doesn't sound like you'll be able to binge Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services without some external device, which might be a non-starter for extreme declutterers.

If interested, you can reserve a free Telly right now by signing up at the company's website. Telly promises at least 500,000 units for this first run, though there's no word on when those will begin shipping.