By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

Starting today, new customers to DIRECTV Stream who sign up for service at the streamer’s web site will get priority access to the Telly free TV waiting list.

Telly, a new company founded by the co-founder of Pluto TV, is now taking registration for 500,000 free 55-inch 4K TVs that it says will be delivered this summer. The catch: The TV has a dual screen with your Smart TV programming on the top screen and a running ticket on the bottom smaller screen that will include advertising, news and other information.

The ads will allow Telly to offset the cost of providing the free sets, but some have voiced concerns that the company’s plans to collect viewer data, including the physical presence of each viewer in the room, could be a significant privacy invasion. The TV also includes a camera, but Telly says the viewer will have the option to turn it off. (See our article, 4 Reasons Why You Should NOT Get a Telly TV.)

“DIRECTV has disrupted the pay TV industry since our founding nearly 30 years ago, and this collaboration with Telly allows us to continue that focus while providing additional value to first-time DIRECTV Stream customers looking for new low-cost ways to enjoy their entertainment,” said Vikash Sharma, General Manager of DIRECTV Stream.

“Telly is the biggest innovation in TV since color, and through our new collaboration, DIRECTV STREAM customers will be among the very first homes in America to experience the ultimate television living room upgrade,” said Ilya Pozin, Founder and CEO of Telly.

When DIRECTV Stream customers sign up for service, they will get a link that will take them to the Telly web site where they can register for the free TV. Telly says it will provide a free streaming stick so viewers can watch their favorite streaming apps, including DIRECTV Stream. (The Smart TV itself will not include those apps.)

Telly will not reveal which manufacturer is making the 500,000 TVs so the quality of the sets are uncertain.

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— Phillip Swann