There's a New Way to Enjoy Movies with Faraway Friends

George Hancock Jr.

Last Updated: February 24th, 2020

Imagine being away from a loved one for weeks or even months. You talk on the phone a lot but it would be nice to experience your usual activities together, wouldn't it? Well, now you can do at least one together. Not together physically, but together in a sense. There's an easy way to watch movies "together." It's a Chrome extension that syncs your Netflix controls with those of your loved one. So, when he or she is in Singapore and clicks pause, your movie is paused at the same time. The extension is called Showgoers.

You need three things to before you can use it:

1. A Netflix Account (and one for each of  your buddies/loved ones)

2. Google Chrome

3. The Showgoers Chrome Extension

After you've installed the extension, open Netflix and click a show or movie. In the upper right-hand area of Chrome, you'll see a little icon that looks like a pair of 3D glasses. Click it and then click "Start a Sync Session." You'll then get a link that you can share with anyone who's going to watch your video with you. When someone in the group pauses, rewinds or fast-forwards, it's as if everyone does the same thing at exactly the same time! You shouldn't end up watching different parts of the movie, but it could get a little annoying if too many in the group click too many buttons too often. There's a chat box where you can express your frustration about that.

The extension is currently in beta, so don't be surprised if your long-distance group movie watching experience doesn't go as planned the first time. If you use Firefox or Safari, there's an extension for you in the works, says Showgoers creator Alan Jones.

This is definitely the easiest way I know of to watch movies with someone far from you (in terms of physical distance). There's no need to worry about bandwidth for screen sharing, usually no troubleshooting sound issues, and no feeling guilty about duplicating a copyrighted movie. Showgoers is easy to install, too. The only potential problem is Netflix account access. For now, if your friend or loved one uses Hulu, Amazon Prime or any other streaming service and doesn't also use Netflix, you're out of luck. In other words, the extension doesn't work with all streaming video platforms, just with Netflix.

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