Sky TV and Netflix face new rival with a feature they cannot match


You could soon be able to watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters from the comfort of your sofa – at the same time as films debut in cinemas. While multiplexes across the country have now re-opened, not everyone will be ready to don a mask and head out to watch a movie on the silver screen – that’s where a new gadget from US start-up Xcinex comes in, which is likely to cause a serious headache for the likes of Sky TV’s Sky Cinema offering and Netflix.

Dubbed Venue, the latest device from Xcinex is designed to bring the latest films to your home at the same time as they launch in cinemas worldwide. That means you’ll be able to watch the latest Academy Award nominees, bombastic summer blockbusters, heartfelt family animations, superhero popcorn thrills, and hilarious rom-coms before they appear on the likes of Sky Cinema, or streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Where Venue differs from previous attempts to bring the cinema into the living room is in its ability to charge tickets to everyone watching. Just like a cinema, if there are four people on your sofa hoping to watch the latest bloodcurdling horror movie, you’ll need to buy four tickets. That’s something that Hollywood film companies like a lot.

There’s no subscription fee for Venue. You will only need to pay for the entertainment you watch.

However, you’ll need to work out exactly who wants to watch whatever you’re hoping to stream as Venue will pause as soon as it detects more people in the room than tickets purchased – so you can’t hide your flatmates in the cupboards and enjoy the latest Christopher Nolan movie on a single ticket. Quite how this technology will work in an open layout home remains to be seen …after alll, you don’t want the film pausing every time your mum pops in to make a cuppa in the background.

As for pay-per-person ticket prices, Xcinex (pronounced “scene ex” we’re reliably informed) doesn’t have any information to share on those right now. That’s because the start-up will allow the companies which use the platform to distribute their content decide on prices. This could mean that tickets to a movie from one studio are more expensive than one from a rival movie-maker. Boxing matches and other sporting fixture could also command higher or lower prices.

Ticket prices will only be good for a one-time viewing, although the Venue set-top box is capable of pausing whenever you need to take a bathroom break, the FAQ reveals. According to Xcinex, it hopes to launch in the coming months.

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