A Free 55″ 4K HDR TV? Yes, But There’s a Catch
The only truly free thing in life is a mother's love, and even that comes with strings attached. There's an old adage in the media world: "If the product or service is free, YOU are the product." Fancy HDTV sets have come down in cost almost exponentially - you can pick up a respectable television now for a few hundred bucks. You don't have to pay stupid money to have a decent TV hanging on your family room wall.
But there's something intriguing about the word free. Telly is a new service that is offering up a free 55" 4K HD television worth over $1,000, and you can reserve one right now, IF you are willing to put up with a continuous stream of advertising on a smaller 9" second screen below the main screen - a TV within a TV that streams news, sports and weather headlines, along with a steady diet of commercials.
That'll do wonders for my short attention span. Oh look - another shiny object!
If something sounds too good to be true it usually is. Exhibit A is a free-ish 55" HDTV. But Telly (the start-up company) is up-front with their offer and business plan. They are providing consumers with a no-cost television, delivering eyeballs to advertisers willing to pay a premium to reach consumers on a dedicated platform, viewers who will see ads anytime they watch that big, beautiful 55" screen.
According to Variety: Critically, Telly’s second screen features a dedicated space on the right-hand side that will display advertising — ads you can’t skip past and ads that stay on the screen the whole time you’re watching TV… and even when you’re not. “Telly is giving away the device completely free,” said Ilya Pozin, the company’s founder and CEO. “The business will be entirely supported by advertising and affiliate revenue.”
You can reserve a free television now, but first you need to download the Telly app and answer a few questions. Does everyone who wants a free TV get a free TV? Great question. As always, your results may vary - there are no guarantees. You have to answer questions on their app to qualify. But if you can put up with continuous ads, and sensors that even know when you're in the room watching - it might be a good deal.
The TV comes complete with a voice assistant. According to Telly: "Just say “Hey Telly” and you’re in control. Complete everyday tasks with your voice powered by innovative AI. Set timers, snooze an alarm, you can even ask about the 35th President...it’s JFK." Now I'm wondering if JFK would have ordered a free television in exchange for being an advertising-watching-machine? Not sure.
According to Telly the 55" TV comes with a soundbar, gaming capabilities, and video calling, taking full advantage of Zoom. Pretty cool. No streaming, but Telly comes with free Chromecast with a Google TV adapter.
I'm still skeptical, but a little intrigued, wondering if this might work in our cabin. I don't mind being an advertising guinea pig, in return for a thousand bucks off a fairly robust 55" TV experience.
Telly will begin shipping the first 500,000 free TVs to qualifying U.S. consumers this summer, with millions more available, depending on demand. First come first serve. I am suspending my disbelief until I see this for myself.
Check it out for yourself and see if it could work for you.