While you stay indoors to work from home, finding new ways to spend quality time with friends is no longer challenging. Besides playing online and multi-player games with friends, you can watch movies and TV shows with them simultaneously. While that requires employing some workarounds, apps, and services, you and your friends can easily stream to watch the same movies and shows.
You can create virtual rooms for watch parties and invite your friends. You can text each other in that room, decide on what you want to watch, and begin streaming it. The same content will be available to everyone in the room. And that’s the idea, to watch the same video stream together.
The first group video watching app on the list is Scener. It claims to allow users to host watch parties for up to a million guests. Well, we had our eyes set on a smaller number, like 20 maybe? Scener supports popular streaming platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Prime, among others.
You can not only watch movies/shows online together but also text and video chat with friends. Watch your friends’ reactions in real-time as the plot unfolds. That would require a fast internet connection for a lag-free experience though. You can use the Scener extension in the Chrome browser. That means it could work with Chromium-powered Edge or Brave.
Scener is free but the host ‘reserves the right’ to require watchers to pay for tickets or movie rental from a partner service.
The primary difference between Kast and other watch party apps that let users view videos online together is that it is not limited to videos. Kast essentially shares your browser so you can use it to share anything and not just video content. Some examples could be games or articles. It works more like a screen-sharing app that works on browser, and has dedicated apps for all popular desktop and mobile platforms.
The mobile apps are view-only, so you can’t host watch parties yet. There is a limit of 100 people per hosted room, which should be enough for most users. The Kast Base plan will cost only $9.99 per year and allow sharing animated reactions while sharing screen. Kast Premium will cost you $4.99 per month but will improve video quality, remove ads, and allow sharing screen and webcam simultaneously.
Millions are familiar with Zoom and use it for meetings and online lessons while working from home. You can get a bit creative and use Zoom for streaming and watching movies/shows with friends. Zoom allows you to share your computer’s screen while audio/video chatting with friends.
Zoom is meant for video and audio calling. That said, you can watch videos and stream online content with friends. As such, it has some other interesting features that you wouldn’t find in dedicated video sharing apps like the ability to record screen, block users, or waiting rooms for invitees.
The free version of Zoom allows up to 100 participants but limits the video time to 40 minutes. After that, you will have to begin again. Think of it as a short break or upgrade to the premium plan to remove limits. Zoom works on all popular browsers, desktop, and mobile platforms.
Previously known as Netflix Party, Teleparty is a Chrome extension that will sync Netflix content on multiple computer screens. They all need to have the extension installed with an active Netflix subscription. The process is dead simple. Just install the extension, open Netflix, and start streaming. As the streaming begins, pause the video, click on the extension to create a shareable link. Anyone who clicks on the link will join your room and watch what you are viewing.
Teleparty is free but has limited features. You can send text messages to each other, but can’t video chat. There are no advanced security features either. Well, it’s a free extension after all.
While Teleparty started as an extension for Netflix exclusively, version 2.0 brings support for other popular streaming services like Hulu, Hotstar, HBO, and more.
Syncplay supports many desktop operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, and BSD. Sadly, mobile users can’t join in on the fun as there are no mobile apps. It doesn’t support popular streaming services like Netflix or YouTube. So, what does it support?
Instead, you can play media files stored on your local computer. However, everyone needs to have the file on their separate HDD/SSD to join the room. There are several cloud storage and file sharing websites to upload and share media files, though. The app is free to download and use.
Live Life in Sync
These are tough times, and it is important to spend time with near and dear ones, but it is equally important to be safe and healthy. Watching movies and other content online with friends opens up a whole new world of possibilities. It’s as good as watching a good movie in the theater. So, grab your popcorn and something to drink, relax on the couch, and watch something online together.
Next up: Don’t know what to stream? How about war documentaries? Here are some of the best war documentaries that are available to stream on Netflix.
Last updated on 13 July, 2021
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