AV NIRVANA Exclusive: XCINEX is Close to Launching VENUE, the Most Radical Streaming Device Ever

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(April 16, 2021) XCINEX's founder Cihan Fuat Atkin isn't looking to disrupt the status quo; he wants to smash it, altering the way we access premium media content at home. His tool of choice isn't a rehash of currently available streaming services, nor is it backed by exclusive rights to a studio's back catalog. It’s a novel device that gives content creators pinpoint control over market access while placing a virtual ticket window in homes across the country. Think of it as a camera-based version of Alexa, with a bit of YouTube and Netflix mixed together, topped off with security protocols and a healthy dose of live entertainment and new release films.

Interesting? Definitely.

Uncomfortably foreign? If you're older than 40, probably!

Before passing judgment and professing a hard-stop ‘nope, not in my home,’ let the concepts and core functionalities behind XCINEX's VENUE platform marinate for a bit. Considering more than 25-percent of American homes have at least one smart speaker, and billions of humans have risked privacy for access to social media platforms, there's a decent chance that a camera-based gadget like VENUE can wiggle itself into our everyday lives.

To start, let's cover the basics. VENUE is a subscription-free platform that’s designed to turn your living room into a hub of exclusive entertainment, granting access to premium content after viewers pay a visit to the system’s virtual box office. Using a camera and nifty artificial intelligence, VENUE will stream a movie or event to your TV as long as everyone in the room has a ticket.

Say, for example, you'd like to watch Conor McGregor’s next UFC fight, but you’d rather get punched in the face than absorb an exorbitant pay-per-view fee. If the fight were on VENUE, you’d only have to pay for yourself – which technically should be less. And what if four friends decide to join? VENUE would know, pausing the event until all four have paid for tickets.

Simple, right?

Given current global conditions, VENUE appears to be a high-tech response to COVID's impact on the entertainment industry, but it’s not. During an exclusive interview with AV NIRVANA, Atkin said the idea was born in 2012 and became a full-fledged business four years later. "I knew if I was thinking about it, there was a good chance others were too," explained Atkin, who raced to secure patents. "We actually beat Microsoft to a patent, which let me know we weren't the only player in the game."

Atkin and his team created the first VENUE prototype device in 2016, and XCINEX (pronounced see-nex) is currently testing 350 pre-production units with consumers and various industry players. If all goes well, VENUE will go live during Q4 2021, shedding any doubts and concerns presented by the pandemic.

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Hollywood's reaction to COVID-induced cinema doldrums has been twofold. Some films have been shelved and given new release dates, while others have premiered through services like HBO MAX. If anything, Atkin contends, studios have found that streaming services aren’t the answer. "These [attempts] have not been a good replication of the theatrical business in the home," he said, highlighting issues with internet video piracy and the challenges of sharing subscription revenues across multiple major motion pictures.

So, in an odd twist of fate, VENUE might become Hollywood’s ultimate COVID lifeline.

VENUE will initially launch as an app (VENUE app) that can be downloaded to participating camera-equipped TVs, quickly followed by two hardware devices that perch on top of a TV. VENUE Lite is a simple USB optical sensor, while VENUEx is a full-fledged camera/streaming device that connects to your TV.

Quality-wise, VENUE can be configured to stream in 720p, 1080p, and 4K resolutions, with support for 3D. It also accommodates Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio.

XCINEX's approach is both consumer- and industry-friendly, providing intriguing value propositions to both parties. The entertainment industry can use VENUE as a versatile market access tool, pinpointing when and where content is made available, even adjusting ticket prices for specific markets. For example, a studio might block a film on VENUE in the New York City market, driving customers to commercial cinemas, while making it available in rural Iowa and Oregon. And Iowans might pay $3 less per ticket as compared to customers living in Portland.

VENUE is also designed to be a lucrative source of revenue, offering studios an 80/20 split on tickets while concurrently serving as an e-commerce platform. Atkin says e-commerce will initially be introduced to viewers following a film or event, but XCINEX is exploring scene-specific purchasing opportunities where consumers can select and buy items in real-time.

The platform doesn't collect user-specific information, but it does provide content creators with general "probability-based" audience demographic data. That means studios and acts can access information about an audience's average age or gender, for example. It can also capture moment-specific data, like a reaction to a joke or a scene in a film. "It can provide granular data,” said Atkin. “For instance, did people laugh or cry during a scene? It’s all general data though, not specific to a person."

It's hard to argue against VENUE’s merits from an industry perspective. Studios are empowered with content control and take a much healthier cut of ticket sales. They also gain a new channel to interact with and understand consumers. Oh, and let’s not forget about content security protections built-in to the VENUE platform. Not too shabby.

For us, the consumer, VENUE is a gateway to films and events that otherwise require a visit to a live venue, subscription to a streaming service, or pay-per-view fees. And Atkin says VENUE will ultimately offer experiences that go beyond the ordinary. "We want to create an experience you can't have in a movie theater," he explained, adding that VENUE’s target audience is the Gen Alpha, Gen Z, and millennial crowds.

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One planned experience is the ability to use movie screenshots as backdrops for personal photos that can be shared with friends. Just imagine placing yourself beneath the jaws of a raging T-Rex in Jurassic Park. Users will also be able to pause or leave an event, only to pick it up later using another VENUE capable device. Of course, many more experiential features are in the works, but you get the picture.

I asked Atkin to address privacy concerns and he assured me that personal data is strictly protected. "To consumers that are sensitive," he explained, "we have a magnetic cover for the camera and a halo light that comes on when the camera is active." As for those people that still aren't comfortable? "Don't get it," Atkin responded. "Those folks can still go to a movie theater or a live show."

As Atkin points out, people have willingly opened their doors and pockets to devices with cameras and microphones. There are also generational factors at work, with tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings freely sharing personal moments on social media platforms without hesitation. Convenience, access, and new social norms have led billions to accept potentially invasive devices and services into their lives. VENUE – if it takes off – will have received a similar pass.

Not convinced?

Can you imagine telling your kid they can't attend a VENUE concert with friends because of the device's camera? I have to admit - I can't. How about turning down a chance to watch a new hit film with friends because you don't have a VENUE account? Again, it's tough to see a scenario where I'd say no.

While VENUE is still a work in progress, and XCINEX continues to secure industry relationships and polish its product, the platform’s biggest hurdle will likely be quality of content. Can it secure agreements with the Taylor Swifts and Dave Chappelles of the world? Will it host massive blockbuster hits like Top Gun: Maverick? Ultimately, big names will drive big interest, and big interest creates demand.

If you're intrigued by XCINEX and its VENUE technology, you can become an investor of sorts. The company is currently hosting a funding venture on wefunder.com. The campaign, which has raised nearly $400,000, allows investors to buy convertible notes in increments of $100. So, if you’d like to throw your weight behind some flashy new tech, then click here and roll the dice. Who knows, your investment might help save Hollywood.
 
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thrillcat

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Not for movies. They’d have to offer some pretty special “Special Events” to convince me to add this. And I mean exponentially better than the typical, weak Fathom Events content, which ends up on blu-ray two months later.
The one thing that could potentially convince me is some sort of “rental in release window includes a disc-quality Kaleidescape-level download when it’s out on disc” business model.
 

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I’m curious to see what the content front looks like. Could end up being a solid home gateway for films that are simultaneously released in theaters.
 

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Not today...Not tomorrow...Not ever. That’s my thoughts.
You’re not the first person to say that to me. What are the specifics behind your feelings? Do you have any smart speakers?

We have a Google enabled smart speaker that’s in our kitchen. My wife is not a fan from a privacy perspective. The majority of the time it sits idle, with the microphone off. But, I have to admit, I’m not sure if it’s off or on right now!

I’d imagine that a device like venue would need to be unplugged in our home. But, if would fly if used for a special ocassion.
 

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Not for movies. They’d have to offer some pretty special “Special Events” to convince me to add this. And I mean exponentially better than the typical, weak Fathom Events content, which ends up on blu-ray two months later.
The one thing that could potentially convince me is some sort of “rental in release window includes a disc-quality Kaleidescape-level download when it’s out on disc” business model.
I was thinking along those lines too... our level of pickiness isn’t representative of the masses. But, for hardcore enthusiasts, the compressed audio and video is going to be a stumbling block. Likely, more so on the audio side. Streaming 4K is pretty impressive...
 

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Not today...Not tomorrow...Not ever. That’s my thoughts.
Ditto!

You’re not the first person to say that to me. What are the specifics behind your feelings? Do you have any smart speakers?
We don't do Alexa or any smart speaker type thingy here. I have used Siri on my phone once or twice, but it's rare, mainly because I don't remember to use it.

I don't like the smart speakers because I already say "huh" to my wife all the time and her response, "I was talking to Gracie" (our cat). My wife also talks to the TV all the time. A smart speaker in our house would be dumb.

A camera... NOT gonna happen.
 

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My wife loves Alexa, but I have no intentions of getting this. We lose enough privacy without a video camera in our house. My wife and I have both noticed something you might have experienced too. Have you ever been talking in the privacy of your home and went to google something and it auto completes the search to something you were talking about?
Also Alexa starts listening as soon as you set it up and say its name, so your privacy is out the window as soon as you install it unless you unplug it when you are not using it.
 

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My wife loves Alexa, but I have no intentions of getting this. We lose enough privacy without a video camera in our house. My wife and I have both noticed something you might have experienced too. Have you ever been talking in the privacy of your home and went to google something and it auto completes the search to something you were talking about?
Also Alexa starts listening as soon as you set it up and say its name, so your privacy is out the window as soon as you install it unless you unplug it when you are not using it.
It’s your smartphone... and yes, I’ve noticed it. Go through all of your apps and disable each ones ability to access things like your microphone and camera. It’s astonishing how many things are tracking your location, etc.

It’s forecast that roughly 60% of US homes will have a smart TV by 2022. These TVs track viewing habits and can have constant voice detection happening, which can be captured and shared to third parties. It’s really no different than a smartphone... or using Gmail... or any of these services that gather data for marketing and development purposes.

VENUE really isn’t a stretch beyond that, IMO. Especially with the number of computers and smart TVs that have a camera built-in.

I also think it truly is defined by a generational comfort zone - Gen Xers and Boomers are probably far less likely to feel comfortable with it.
 

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I’ve built my home around Apple’s HomeKit and Siri. They seem to be better about privacy than most. Not perfect, but at least their entire business model isn’t built around selling user data, like Google, and to a similar extent Amazon.
 

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You’re not the first person to say that to me. What are the specifics behind your feelings? Do you have any smart speakers?

We have a Google enabled smart speaker that’s in our kitchen. My wife is not a fan from a privacy perspective. The majority of the time it sits idle, with the microphone off. But, I have to admit, I’m not sure if it’s off or on right now!

I’d imagine that a device like venue would need to be unplugged in our home. But, if would fly if used for a special ocassion.
I am a tech kind of guy. Automation is neat and convenient. Yes I do have some Amazon dots around the house. They are kept in “mute” mode per the “manual”. Sigh Consumer product developers no longer believe they are selling you a product, they believe they are selling you a product to use on their terms, terms that change constantly, and a product that can be revoked at will.
Frankly due to the unfettered over reach of corporations, and politicalization....de-tech-ing is my future path.
 

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Apple is definitely more consumer friendly when it comes to smart tech.

The best one, from my understanding, is Josh.ai.

But that’s super expensive... not within the reach of the typically consumer.
 

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I am a tech kind of guy. Automation is neat and convenient. Yes I do have some Amazon dots around the house. They are kept in “mute” mode per the “manual”. Sigh Consumer product developers no longer believe they are selling you a product, they believe they are selling you a product to use on their terms, terms that change constantly, and a product that can be revoked at will.
Frankly due to the unfettered over reach of corporations, and politicalization....de-tech-ing is my future path.
Would you consider using VENUE it were something you set up and used for a single event or movie, then unplugged and put away?
 

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Just how much privacy are the masses willingly giving up, to big tech fronting for government agencies, for their instant gratification access to goods and services... What with FaceBook, Google, Twitter and Amazon along with things like 23andMe, it makes me wonder just what are we being tracked, bagged and tagged for...

It always makes for some interesting reading when researching the provenances of these tech companies...
 
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Just how much privacy are the masses willingly giving up, to big tech fronting for government agencies, for their instant gratification access to goods and services... What with FaceBook, Google, Twitter and Amazon along with things like 23andMe, it makes me wonder just what are we being tracked, bagged and tagged for...

It always makes for some interesting reading when researching the provenances of these tech companies...
That’s why I have been eliminating them from my life. Duck Duck Go is a good browser...at least for now.

I wish company’s like Lutron would make voice control devices. The issue is that all these automation company’s are passing off the automation control too google, amazon etc.
 

phillihp23

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Also why would people want to pay multiple “tickets” to watch something. If they wanted to do that they would go to the theater....hence theaters dying the slow death.
 

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Lots of my sentiments expressed above. Don't know why I'd want something with a camera on it sitting above my TV.

Thanks, but no thanks!

Oh wait! It adds 3D!! When are the studios going to wake up and realize that 3D is dead. Period. A few thousand people (I'm just throwing this out there - I really have no idea how small the number is, I just know that it is small, very small) left does not make it worth the cost. Let me guess, it'll cost 25% more to watch the 3D version. :rolleyesno:
 

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LuminU1 Mini Streamer/Transport
Streaming Subscriptions
Roon & QoBuz Studio Premier, Amazon Prime & Netflix
Other Equipment
ThrowRug, SaddleBlankets, WideBand & BaseTraps...
Lots of my sentiments expressed above. Don't know why I'd want something with a camera on it sitting above my TV.

Thanks, but no thanks!

Oh wait! It adds 3D!! When are the studios going to wake up and realize that 3D is dead. Period. A few thousand people (I'm just throwing this out there - I really have no idea how small the number is, I just know that it is small, very small) left does not make it worth the cost. Let me guess, it'll cost 25% more to watch the 3D version. :rolleyesno:
Hey, wait... I still have my red/blue glasses waiting for the comeback... :cool: I even have some Holmes Stereo Views around here somewhere...:nerd:

And it should really cost double... Left Eye View + Right Eye View...:ponder:
 

Todd Anderson

Editor / Senior Admin
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
6,738
Location
Balt/Wash Metro
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
StormAudio ISP.24 MK2
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
Denon X8500H
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-203, Panasonic UB9000
Front Speakers
GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R
Center Channel Speaker
GoldenEar Technology SuperCenter Reference
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
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dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC NX7
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Streaming Subscriptions
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
The Samsung TVs
Also why would people want to pay multiple “tickets” to watch something. If they wanted to do that they would go to the theater....hence theaters dying the slow death.
Depends on how many people are watching. Could be cheaper... could be more expensive.
 

Mike-48

Member
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
84
Location
Portland, Oregon, USA
That thing creeps me out. Yes, I'm old (72), and no, I don't use any doodads that listen all the time. My phone won't listen (or so Google claims) unless I'm using navigation or I press a button first.

I have closed my Facebook and Instagram accounts (not solely for privacy reasons) and removed my email from Google. Does G still track my location? Yes, I find that useful enough, and I do delete the records from time to time. Do I think G penalizes users who turn this off? Yes, but can't do much about that.

I unplug my Webcam and microphone when not in use.

I do not want some corporation's camera watching me in my living room, thank you. I know some Americans won't care, while simultaneously griping about the government's desire to know anything to help it do its job better.
 
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