Pluto TV co-founder Ilya Pozin wants to give away free TVs with ads – yes, you read that right. This is evident from a report by Janko Roettgers in his Low pass newsletter, which says the free television will come with a second, built-in screen dedicated solely to advertising and a soundbar.
Sources tell Roettgers that the built-in screen would be about the same height as a smartphone and would span the entire width of the screen. In addition to displaying ads, Roettgers says the built-in screen will also come with several widgets that show the weather, news headlines and sports scores from the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.
The TV also reportedly won’t be a smart TV and will instead be bundled into existing streaming dongles, such as those from Roku and Amazon. It’s not clear how far along this product, which could be called “Telly,” according to a fictitious company name statement spotted by Roettgers. However, a presumptive website for the device is coming, saying “the biggest thing to happen to TV since color” in 2023, while a Teevee site similarly states that something is “coming later this year”.
The fact that this project is rumored to be in the works is a testament to the trend of ad and streaming bundling. As my colleague David Pierce pointed out last month, ads are the future of streaming. As more people turn to free ad-supported streaming TV services (FAST) to offset the cost of paid streaming subscriptions, Pozin, who is a co-founder of one of the most popular FAST services on the market, would may be ready to take advantage of that shift.