You’ve heard of Amazon’s Freevee, The Roku Channel, and other free ad-supported streaming services. But what about an actual–and free–ad-supported TV, complete with a second screen just for the ads?
That might sound like a joke, but apparently it’s really happening.
According to Janko Roettgers’s Lowpass newsletter, a hardware startup headed by the co-founder of Pluto TV is developing an ad-supported television set–yes, we’re talking a physical TV here, not a streaming TV service–that won’t cost a dime.
The “decent-sized” TV would come with an integrated second screen that would display advertisements while you watch the larger main screen, and the television would “likely” employ ACR (short for “automatic content recognition”) to serve ads that are contextually relevant to whatever you’re watching, according to Roettgers’s story.
The second screen would be roughly as tall as a phone and would “stretch across the entire width” of the chassis, which would also incorporate a soundbar.
Besides ads, the secondary display could also act as a ticker, displaying local weather and news headlines from the likes of Bloomberg, CNN, and ESPN, Roettgers writes.
Teevee Corporation, headed by Pluto TV co-founder Ilya Pozin, is looking to launch its ad-supported TV later this year, according to Roettgers.
The Teevee website is being coy about its plans for now, showing simply a TV-shaped outline with a banner that reads: “Before has never been so jealous of after.”
Meanwhile, an associated “Telly”-branded website has a similar graphic along with the boast, “The biggest thing to happen to TV since color.”
As Roettgers notes, there’s nothing necessarily new about ad-supported TVs. After all, manufacturers like Vizio use the viewing data collected by ACR technology to help subsidize their low-cost TVs.
But the idea of actually giving away an ad-supported TV–particularly one with a second screen that’s mainly for ads–is somewhat novel, if not downright weird.
In any case, we’re looking forward to checking out Teevee’s new TV–all two screens of it–later this year, assuming the company’s plans pan out.