Ever since the pandemic hit our world, we all miss those movie nights with friends and family, the ones where we used to enjoy movies together and have fun. Determined not to let the lockdown take away our movie nights, my boyfriend and me, a long-distance couple, tried watching movies and videos together online 🥰. After using the “3,2,1 start” method for a while, it got pretty cumbersome, so we searched for more efficient ways to sync our videos. These are some of the apps and services we found:
Watch Together on Messenger Rooms
This is a recent feature that lets you watch Facebook videos. You can share the room link and reuse it without needing to create a new one each time. Facebook lets you watch videos together with as many as 50 people. However, note that this feature is currently available only on the Facebook mobile apps on Android and iOS, as Facebook doesn’t have a Watch Together feature on the web yet. It looks like suggestions stay the same without updating. The cherry on top is the filters and AR games. Filters help you watch with style and maybe freak out your partner and friends 😄.
Cowatch on Instagram
Cowatch on Instagram lets you watch your liked and suggested posts with up to 5 other people. There is no option to share room URLs. Like Facebook’s Watch Together, it’s currently available only on Android and iOS, as Instagram doesn’t have any video call feature on the web yet. Like Messenger, this one too got filters and AR games.
Watch Party on Amazon Prime
This is Amazon’s built-in cowatching solution for Prime Video users. Currently, Watch Party is only available to Prime and Prime Video subscribers in select regions. The maximum number of people that can be in a room is 100. However, it’s currently available only on desktop web browsers.
Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party)
Netflix doesn’t have it’s own built-in cowatch solution yet. However, there are plenty of 3rd party solutions to fill the gap, one of the most popular ones being Teleparty. Teleparty syncs video playback and adds a group chat to Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and HBO. This is a browser extension available for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera browsers and as a result, it’s available only on the desktop. Up to 50 friends can participate in the same party.
GroupWatch is a feature that lets you watch any title on Disney+ with your personal friends and family virtually through the mobile app, web or TV. Up to 7 people can watch movies together with this feature.
Watch Party is a web service that lets you cowatch Youtube videos and uploaded media files. It’s open-source and has a minimal and clean user experience. It’s got some other useful features too like screen-sharing, video chat, theatre mode, etc.
It supports videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and SoundCloud. You can create rooms without signing up, though the room expires after 24 hours. You can sign-up to keep the room from expiring. It’s available only on the web, but the website is mobile-friendly.
This is one of my favorites. Syncplay is an open source app that synchronizes media players. In my opinion, this is the best way to sync the playback of local video files. It offers a basic chat feature, but we tend to use a voice or video calling app like Google Meet parallelly. Syncplay is available as a desktop app on Windows, Linux and Mac.
Jitsi Meet is basically a video conferencing service with an extra feature of sharing Youtube videos. It’s open-source and has privacy and security-oriented features.
Rave supports cowatching content from Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, Reddit, Google Drive, Dropbox and Viki. Rave has an option to start a public rave and make a new friend. It’s available for Android and iOS.
Try these apps and services, and spend time with your loved ones. While these solutions may not be a proper replacement for watching together at the cinema or home, they let you get the best cowatch experience virtually with your family, friends or long-distance partner. Let me know of any other good cowatch app or service I missed in the comments below.
Written in collab with Rohan “HEXcube” Villoth.