Best way to watch streamed movies with others.
June 7, 2020 11:32 AM   Subscribe

I would like to watch a streamed movie together with my father several states away, and I would like us to be able to voice chat with each other while the movie is running as if we were sitting in the same room. What is the least complicated way to do this without compromising audio?

I understand that this is sort of media sharing is natural and obvious to technical people and Kids Today! But I need someone to walk me through this situation as if I have just been teleported here from 1978.

I am most confused by the audio situation -- it seems like I cannot have both the audio input from our microphones and the audio from the streamed movie running at the same time. When I tried to simulate "voices in a room with a movie running" on Discord, it seemed like the only way to accomplish this was to have an open voice channel on which one person streamed the movie with the sound on so it came through their voice microphone. That can't be the way to do it!

We are both Amazon Prime members and are happy to watch Amazon Prime content. It seems like Twitch supports Watch Party for exactly our situation -- but again, it seems like the voice chat can't be overlaid on the content audio.
posted by apparently to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Can you just sync up when you hit 'play' on the movie and then be on a videocall through your phones?
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:45 AM on June 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

I’ve done this with relative success on zoom; one person can share their screen with the movie playing and still be on video chat with everyone else.

Edited to add that I think there’s a setting for “sharing audio” as well, so it doesn’t just run through the mic, for the “host” of the meeting sharing the video. I was not that host so I’m not sure exactly where that option is.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 11:53 AM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I host a watch party with some friends on Discord, and I followed the instructions on this page to get it to stream from my media player: How to Use Discord to Game and Watch TV with Friends

The audio for the media needs to come through headphones, not computer speakers, otherwise whatever mic you're using to chat will pick up the audio from the stream. I'm not 100% sure I can speak to the issue of simultaneous voice chat and media audio, but I've definitely heard my friends react to what's happening on screen during these watch parties. We mostly save the chatter for before or after the show.
posted by invokeuse at 11:55 AM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've been using twoseven to do this a bunch lately. It doesn't attempt to stream the content from one computer, but rather, syncs up the playback from the original source on several computers. You can do video, audio, and text chat all on the same page as the player is embedded in.

I've been using it with Prime Video specifically, and it does work, but can be tricky to get everyone looking at the same video and initially synced up.
posted by FishBike at 11:57 AM on June 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

yeah you can call him on the phone and do a three-two-one countdown to pressing Play at the same time. it worked 20 years ago and it works today.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:07 PM on June 7, 2020 [14 favorites]

Best answer: I did it via ZOOM, twice. Menu - Share screen - select the app you want to share - check the boxes for "share computer audio" and "optimize for video sharing" - click "share".

It worked great, we were able to talk throughout the movie(s).

Let me know if you need help setting up zoom, I have taught several coworkers and friends how to use it.
posted by M. at 12:09 PM on June 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Plex supports this if you happen to know someone with a plex server with the content you want (

Watch Together itself is an option, it currently supports YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion and SoundCloud.

There's also something called Scener, which I have not tried, but seems to support any video site while giving you a video chat at the same time.
posted by tiamat at 12:28 PM on June 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Last but not least, I've heard good things about Netflix Party
posted by tiamat at 2:34 PM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Netflix Party works, and has a chat window which is fun, but obviously only works on Netflix and only if everyone has Netflix and only on a computer. But it works.
posted by phunniemee at 3:22 PM on June 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Netflix watch party. Works really well. Use your phone for the voice part.
posted by amanda at 3:45 PM on June 7, 2020

Best answer: I have researched several options for this and run synchronised movies every Monday for ten weeks now with 5-15 households attending.

First things, don't even think about screen sharing unless you have fibre upload speeds. Depending on whether you're using Zoom or Meet or Jitsi it will either have shocking compression artefacts, unwatchable framerate, major lag or all three.

Of the half dozen webapps I've tested, the best are Syncplay, Watch2Gether and Metastream. Metastream works the best and it'd easy to put it on big screens or projectors although all users must install a browser plugin.

If it's only two or three of you, the low tech method of a WhatsApp group call and going 1, 2, 3... Play! is often actually the best.
posted by turkeyphant at 3:47 PM on June 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I too have looked into this during the Great Quarantine!

After trying several other options including Zoom and Google Meet, we have settled on Kast as the best option. Really the only one that worked even close to satisfactorily.

Use their desktop app, not the web app... temping as it may be to not install anything, we found that their desktop app works a lot better. (They are continuously improving it, though, so some of the problems we had a few weeks ago may be OBE now.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:31 PM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I accidentally just did this with a group. We started in Zoom, and when everyone was ready I posted the Netflix Party URL and we headed over there. We meant to text chat in the Netflix Party window while we were using it, but a few people forgot to mute their Zoom windows and we could all hear what they were saying in the background.

Netflix Party requires a Netflix login, and people have to be using Chrome on a laptop or desktop computer.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:13 AM on June 8, 2020

I have used 27, but I don't think it's simple. You need to install an extension and then watch on a computer, so relatively low audio quality. If you can cast it to a large external screen, the AV quality is great. Treating my TV as a second monitor and linking my laptop via USB-C/HDMI cable gives just as good of AV quality as streaming directly to the TV from a Roku. It has embedded chat and video features which are quite nice. I've done this 5-6 times with my sisters and it generally works quite well, but it has taken ~1/2 hour to get going each time, so I don't know if it will function well with an older relative.
posted by profanon at 8:15 PM on June 10, 2020

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