Since the pandemic started, I have learned so many ways to connect with friends and watch our favorite shows together. It used to be that we would need to visit to watch stuff, and thus I watched shows with friends rarely. Another consequence of this was that when we did get together, we usually watched movies, because the commitment to watching a whole season of anything just wasn’t there.
I watch The Dragon Prince with my best friend on Wednesdays. I watch Fairy Tail with another friend on Thursdays. Also on Thursdays, I watch Call the Midwife with my grandma. On the same day, I watch Demon Slayer with a third friend. With a fourth friend, I watch Avatar: The Last Airbender on Tuesdays and Fridays. With a fifth friend, I watch Code Geass on Saturdays. Occasionally, I watch movies and shows with my friend Ashley Ostrowski, who runs the blog The Perusing Muse.
As you can see, watching various shows and movies with my friends and family has become a huge part of my social life. I wouldn’t say it has replaced in-person interactions. I still vastly prefer those. But they are not always possible. My best friend, for example, lives in the UAE, which is basically on the other side of the planet. Visiting her would be great but not feasible at this time.
There are three basic ways I have watched stuff with friends. Keep in mind that all these require that ALL people involved have a subscription to the streaming service and to be logged in.
#1: Teleparty and Youtube Party
Neither of these are my go-to option, but when I first discovered them, I was enamored. Watching stuff in sync with people while messaging back and forth? Neat!
Teleparty helped me to watch Once Upon A Time with my best friend and my suitemate while I was in quarantine. Quarantine really sucked, so Teleparty improved my mood significantly and helped me get through it.
Youtube Party was great when I was watching RWBY with a friend. It was a bit glitchy when commercials came on, but it definitely could be worse.
Both Teleparty and Youtube Party are free Chrome extensions, and they are very easy to use.
Scener is the best. It’s my favorite way to sync video. Having video chat and normal chat functions is great. I can see the expressions on my friends’ faces at all the best parts. Or we can turn the video chat off. The only thing is that we have to mute ourselves when we are not speaking to avoid the echo from the slightly imperfectly synced audio of the show or movie. Scener is a Chrome Extension as well.
I only use Zoom because for one friend, Scener just doesn’t work. We count to three and start our show at the same time and then mute ourselves except when we want to talk about the show. It works fine unless you are planning a watch party with more than one other person. Then Zoom will limit you to 40 minute sessions, which is just inconvenient for a watch party. Zoom works with most browsers and several kinds of devices.
Try these options! And let me know how you have been watching things with your friends and family.