Who among us hasn’t spent a weekend curled up under a duvet, tearing through Netflix shows like the world outside doesn’t exist? Indeed, in the age of streaming, binge-watching is the new movie-going, as many media consumers would rather watch new movies or content from the comfort of their own home than leave the house to do so.
If you’re an extrovert, you may assume that Netflix is the last thing someone would turn to if they hoped to engage with people more. However, though it may sound counterintuitive, binge-watchers are increasingly using the activity as a way to engage with other like-minded fans as well. While the so-called “remote watch party” isn’t a new concept, there are some new tools that are making the experience of watching something alone—but together with friends on the internet—even more engaging.
As Mashable writes about the early beginnings of the remote watch party: “The ability to watch videos online in real time with friends and family has been around for years now, and programs like Watch2Gether make it easy to discuss the action on the screen. However, with chat rooms being the main way to communicate during a watch party, the process has always felt less like hanging out with friends and more like continuously checking Slack to make sure you’re not missing important work messages.”
But new tools mean the remote watch party is a more seamless experience.
Whether you want to watch a Netflix movie with your friend who happens to be in a different time zone, or you want to tune in with hundreds of mega-fans of your favorite show who are eager to weigh in on every detail and development, these are the tools you want to be using:
Let’s Watch It: Released earlier in April, this app launches in iMessage, and makes use of your forward-facing camera and microphone in your phone to chart your reaction to shows you’re watching with your friends or fellow super-fans. As its co-founder said, “We wanted it to approximate the shared experience that’s common for watching TV, movies, and other media together,” Kris McDonald, the cofounder of Let’s Watch It developer Little Labs, said. “When a football game is on, it’s more fun to have a group of friends yelling at the TV than to sit alone — we try to recreate that vibe through Let’s Watch It.”
Showgoers: If your goal is to simultaneously view a Netflix movie with friends, you don’t have to synchronize your watches so you press play at precisely the same time. Instead, Showgoers can help you create a remote viewing party. A Chrome plug-in, Showgoers allows you to start a viewing party with your friends, as long as they are all using Chrome to watch Netflix. The instructions are simple: “Open Netflix in Chrome and select what you want to watch. When you open the movie or show you’ll see the Showgoers glasses in the top right. They look like little 3D glasses. Hover over them and select “Start a Watching Party.” It also has a function which allows you to make your viewing party public, so you can invite other users you may not know into your remote viewing party.
Uptime: If YouTube is your content platform of choice, UpTime is YouTube’s answer to the live-viewing experience. The iOS-only app was launched in March and it allows “users to meet friends, share and watch YouTube videos, as well as add stickers, emojis and comments in real time, similar to Facebook Live.” With so much content and famous YouTubers to choose from, you can enjoy your favorite creators new uploads even more in the company of your internet friends.