Tely, a California-based start-up led by Pluto TV creator Ilya Pozin, wants to offer free TV. Go to your company’s website, fill out a survey, provide personal information, and get one of his 500,000 TVs shipping later this year completely free. . Terry describes his free 55-inch 4K HDR display as “the biggest thing that’s happened to television since color.” Can a start-up afford to give away hundreds of thousands of TVs for free? If this whole story sounds sketchy, congratulations. You’re smarter than his 100,000 who have already subscribed to this ad-driven, dystopian TV nightmare.
It’s hard to believe that Terry’s free TV will cost more than $1,000 in stores, Posin said. TVs are cheaper than ever, and the ones Telly distributes aren’t all that fancy. Since this isn’t OLED and doesn’t even have smart features (a basic feature of even the cheapest TVs on the market today), the company ships a Chromecast with a screen. The soundbar is built-in, but the basic Samsung 55-inch 4K and Best Buy soundbar bundle costs just $600. But sure, for Terry’s TV he’s worth $1000. So how does the company get his $1,000 worth out of non-customers, of course ad revenue and user data?
Beneath the soundbar is a small second screen that lets you view sports scores, weather, stocks, and Subway Surfer clips while you watch movies or TV on the main screen. Of course, you will also see ads. The right edge of the display is a dedicated, always-on advertising space that allows Telly to send targeted ads based on the comprehensive demographic survey you completed when you signed up for your TV. In addition, ads are also displayed on the main display when the TV is not in use. If you want free TV, you have to put up a permanent sign in the middle of your living room.
But that’s just the beginning. Because if the product is free, everyone knows you are the product. Telly plans to collect extensive user data from her device, including all of her viewing habits, such as what shows she watches, when and how long. At the center of the soundbar is a camera that can be used for Zoom calls and exercise programs, as well as sensors that can track how many people are watching. Posin says Telly’s features are compliant with privacy regulations and the camera has a built-in cover, but that doesn’t mean there’s much benefit to having a data-collecting advertising machine in your home. I don’t feel
A non-negotiable privacy agreement that allows Telly to control user data for any purpose it sees fit. If you do not agree to the terms, you will have to return the TV or pay the exorbitant asking price. A funny suggestion, but that didn’t stop 100,000 people from signing up for this offer in her first 36 hours. Tely hopes to eventually ship millions of TVs, and it doesn’t appear to be too hard to do.
We all know why this is bad, right? Turns out that built-in screens for running commercials are the next evolution of unskippable YouTube ads. It eventually leads to an episode of Black His Mirror, where the walls are made of screens that turn red when you try to look at them, setting off an alarm. Stay away from commercials. At this point, you’re one step away from “Drink Validation Mountain Dew and Continue”. I can’t pay to have that level of invasive marketing in my life, but are people willing to do it for crappy TV?
The really dystopian part isn’t the ads, it’s the loss of user data. We must protect our privacy very carefully, but in return we are happy to give it to anyone who asks for it. I don’t know how else to say it, but you shouldn’t have cameras in your home so that companies can track your TV viewing habits and sell that information to anyone. I promise you that TV is not worth it. Second he already has a screen in his pocket that can display sports scores and stock quotes while watching TV, giving him at least some control over what happens to the data. Not a big deal, but a lot more than this hyper-capitalist nightmare on TV.
Next: ROG Ally Review: Steam Deck’s First True Competition