Pluto TV Wants You To Have a Free TV… But There Is A Big Catch


Most consumers think that buying a TV is easy, but once you start looking for one you find out that it is a little more complicated than you thought. Not only are consumers faced with an abundance of capabilities (smart features, 4K UHD resolution, HDR) but the different technologies used in TVs these days are downright confusing when you have to sort through LED/LCD, OLED and QD-OLED. For many, there are just too many choices.

So, what if you could just eliminate all of that TV buying hassle and just get one for free? No, it’s not part of some bizarre socialist paradise many would like to see, but a very capitalist idea as initially reported by Janko Roettgers of Lowpass.

A Free TV May Be In Your Future

Ilya Pozin, founder of one of the most popular free ad-supported streaming services, Pluto TV, is seriously thinking about offering consumers that very option. However, as you can imagine that is a big catch: More advertising than you can possibly imagine.

Pluto TV, a Paramount Company, is a free streaming television service delivering hundreds of live linear channels and thousands of titles on-demand.

Building off the success of Pluto TV, Pozin has established a new company: TeeVee Corporation.

The concept for the TV appears to be a set that includes three main elements within its frame:

  • The Main Screen, which is where you watch your movies and shows – is just the same as any TV.
  • A Second Screen that is a separate display that runs the width of the TV either above or below the main TV screen (think of a video display with the width of a soundbar). The second screen will broadcast primarily display ads that relate to what is showing on the main screen, but will also display info such as weather, news headlines, and sports scores. Think of the ticker that normally runs across the bottom of the screen on cable news and sports channels, but displayed on a separate screen.
  • A Built-in Soundbar for the audio.

Tip: A remote control and/or mobile app will probably be included to provide setup and access/control of additional features. 

The TV will also be a smart TV or come bundled with an extra play-and-play dongle for accessing streaming content. 

Many of these details could change before the company announces a final product. TeeVee’s official website (freetelly.com) only consists of a splash page with no details, except for the brand name “Telly”, “coming in 2023”, and the declaration it will be “the biggest thing to happen to TV since color”?

For those that think this plan is a lot of smoke and mirrors the company staff (under the name “Stealth Startup”)  includes some serious players: Former G4 president and CEO Neal Tiles, former Vizio VP of Product Management John Hwang, and former Vizio VP of Software Engineering Eric Loes, as well as other former Vizio, Paramount, and Pluto TV staffers.

Can The TeeVee Market Strategy Succeed?

Since the key of this concept is to provide consumers with a free TV, the major task of TeeVeee is to attract enough advertising dollars to pay for the cost of manufacturing and distributing the actual physical TVs. 

This means that any potential advertisers need to see the value of paying those costs. The value question for advertisers is whether TV viewers will actually watch their ads, or just get so annoyed by them that they return the TV. 

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As I see it there are two issues here: 

  1. Although the ads will be displayed on the TV’s second screen, do TV viewers want to be distracted by ads being shown during a show or movie (we are talking continuing ad display, not commercial breaks)? 
  1. In addition to all the ad stuff, the other issue is the actual TV. If you are talking about a free TV, what screen size(s) will be offered, what features will it have, and what actual display and/or backlighting technology will be used? – probably not OLED, miniLED, or QLED. For me, the only “good’ part so far is the planned inclusion of a built-in soundbar system.

A free TV sounds great, but the trade-off may not be worth it. If the ads are too intrusive, the features are lackluster, and low-performance display technology is used it will be a tough road to success except for the most desperate consumers. 

This is definitely a continuing story. Supposedly this product will be available by the end of 2023, but I have a feeling it will be shown at CES in January 2024 for maximum press exposure before release (I am curious to see what this TV will physically look like with its second screen). 

Regardless of the product availability timeline, when the announcement of an actual TV and how to get it are made, eCoustics will be on the story. 



Credit : Source Post

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