A hardware startup offering free, fully ad-supported smart TVs to Americans in Delhi says 250,000 people signed up in the first two weeks of its launch. In the first 36 hours of its launch, more than 100,000 people signed up, according to Tele.
The figure is a clear indication that customers are willing to give up their data to get free TV, which the company says is worth $1,000 each. TechCrunch. Android TV streaming device on TV comes at no extra cost.
“These are savvy consumers who understand that we’re bringing them the smartest TV in the market and that we’re disrupting the traditional way it’s sold,” said Delhi CEO Ilya Posin.
The free TV offer is only possible for ads shown on the second smallest screen below a 55-inch 4K TV. Telly requires the User Company to provide detailed information about themselves, such as name, age, gender, home address and ethnicity, as well as viewing habits and purchasing behaviors.
Notably, Gen Z and millennial consumers — who are known to resist ad-supported services — accounted for two-thirds of Delhi’s signatures, the company said.
“[Gen Z și Millennials] They are largely inaccessible… 66% of this population does not have cable television. “They don’t follow ad-supported streaming,” said chief strategy officer Dallas Lawrence. He noted that many younger consumers are “second screen” users — viewers who watch TV while using a secondary device at the same time. In total, 80 percent of Americans use a second screen regularly, according to Nielsen.
Telly’s second, smaller screen doesn’t just show ads, it also acts as a control center, allowing users to change channels, adjust brightness, increase volume, and more — all without pausing the movie or show. While users can’t turn off the bottom screen, thankfully they can control the brightness, so it’s not annoying when looking at the main screen in a dark room.
Users can also access third-party apps like Zoom, games and music, and add widgets like sports scores, weather, stocks and news.
“Ads are a small part…obviously they’re there because they’re paying for TV, but a lot of it is dedicated to promoting what you’re doing. When you use it, you’ll notice that it’s not really distracting,” Bossin said.
Ads appear 24/7 in the right corner. Another ad format is a scrolling news ticker at the bottom. Additionally, the ads are interactive, so users can interact with them using a remote control.
“They’re not just clickable, they’re completely transactional,” Bosin added. “Let’s say you see a Pizza Hut ad during a game, you can order a pizza…you can pick up the remote and click on the ad, engage with it and take action there.”
Some have wondered what prevents them from hiding the bottom screen or mounting the TV in a hidden manner. Dele pondered this possibility, he writes on the edge, and the TV’s software interface made this idea impractical. TellyOS places important items at the bottom, including HDMI inputs, volume information, other settings, and the app bar.
Operating the TV in any situation where the bottom screen is hidden can quickly become awkward. “If you hide it, you can’t actually go to the main screen,” Pozin explained. Comparing the secondary screen to a car’s dashboard, he hopes people will come to appreciate and personalize it without trying to hide it somehow.
Pozin revealed future plans for the product. For example, Telly will one day be compatible with other connected devices in the home, such as security cameras and thermostats. Telly will continue to release software updates and initiate new partnerships with third-party applications.
To book free TV, consumers have to download Delhi’s mobile app, which asks them to complete a lengthy survey that takes five or six minutes. The poll asks respondents specific questions about their household income, activities they enjoy if they are registered to vote, such as sports, video games, arts and crafts, cooking and more. Deli even asks what kind of food they like to eat at home, be it Italian, Japanese, Chinese or American.
The collected data serves as anonymous information that Telly uses to deliver targeted advertisements to consumers. They are also sold to third parties such as advertising networks, data brokers, marketing providers and media companies.
In most states, ad networks can collect, share, and sell large amounts of data without informing the user. However, Delhi says it is one of the few companies that asks consumers for permission and that the data it collects is transparent.
Plus, Delhi users are actually “compensating for it,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence told us that if a user tries to modify the software — like using an ad blocker — Delhi TV can be disabled.
Delhi has a built-in camera that allows users to video chat, enjoy fitness programs with motion tracking, and play arcade games. The camera has a built-in physical shutter so the user can choose to close the camera. The company said it does not store “images, recordings or biometric information” on servers in Delhi.
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