Movie theaters around the world are closing to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. It’s the right, responsible move, but it’s one more reminder things aren’t normal right now. But we only have to practice physical social distancing. You can still hang out with your friends virtually. And you can still watch a film with them. These services will let you host an online movie night with your loved ones.
The free “online hangout” Kast acquired the popular viewing service Rabbit in 2019. Kast lets users share videos with others in real-time, including movies, videos, live streams, or webcams, while holding a group text chat. You can also share documents and other media. It’s currently available to download for Macs and PCs. Video services are “coming soon” to its Chrome desktop web app, and also its iOS and Android apps.
–Works with all streaming sites, like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+, etc
–Choose the browser tab you want to share without having to close the rest of your tabs
–Screen capture, voice, text, and video chat technology
–Host watch parties with up to 100 people
–Live-cast your video games
–Set up live conference feed chats with webcams
–Party chat area lets you talk with friends during video sharing
–All users must either use the Chrome web app or download the desktop app and create an account
–Numerous streaming options can be hard to navigate
–Kast Premium, which features higher video rates and no ads, costs $4.99 per month (or $49.99 for a year)
Obviously “Netflix and chill by yourself” isn’t a winning slogan or an ideal night. But you can still virtually watch the streaming site with all your friends even while in quarantine thanks to the free service Netflix Party. The browser extension for Google Chrome is ideal for Netflix users to create a watch party. It offers a fully synched viewing experience with group chat, perfect for a movie night.
–Completely synced HD video play
–Synchronized fast forward and rewind
–Real-time text chat
–User friendly format
–Free (Though you can support the service through the service’s Patreon)
–Only works for Netflix
–Must start a new session for all new shows or movies
–Must disable ad-blockers
–Can only use with Google Chrome
–All viewers must have the extension and a Netflix account
–No video or audio chat
Watch movies, hang out, play games, or hold a card session with friends or strangers with Kosmi‘s virtual room system. It can run real-time applications and synced videos. Also, its emulators mean you can play NES, SNES, and other games with people. And you don’t have to download anything to use the cost-free service.
–Browser screen sharing means you can stream any site, like Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, etc.
–No signup, installation, or downloads
–Live In-room chat
–Webcam and microphone support
–Easy URL invite for friends
–Public lobby lets you search for rooms of strangers
–Difficult to navigate on phone web browsers
If you and your friends want to watch media you already own you can use Syncplay. The open source, free software system can be downloaded to either your laptop or PC. It lets you invite friends to watch media you own in a custom room, where it’s synced up so you can watch your videos or music at the same time.
–Supports most video formats
–Free to use
–Synchronized pausing, fast forward, and rewind
–Invites for private viewings
–Public viewing parties
–Late comers can join where the media is currently playing
–“Each user must have their own copy of the media to be played”
–Can’t be used with streaming sites like Hulu or Amazon Video
–No mobile app
–All viewers must download and install the software
–“Might be flagged as suspicious by some anti-malware systems”
–No voice chat
But those are just some of the options we recommend for your virtual movie nights. Which ones are your favorites. Share them with us in the comments below. Because even if the theaters are closed we still want to hang out with friends and watch our favorite films.