The Best Ways to Stream Videos With Friends Online

A girl eating popcorn while video chatting and watching Netflix with friends.
Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

Sharing TV shows and movies with friends is a wonderful experience, but it’s almost impossible to do at a distance. That is, unless you use a tool to chat with your friends and keep the videos on your computers in-sync. Here are seven websites and extensions that can line up Netflix, YouTube, or even local videos files across computers.

Before Choosing a Website or Tool

These video syncing tools have their own features and quirks and often allow for things like video chat. So before we start looking at any video syncing tools, let’s take a moment to think about what will work best for you and your friends.

  • Can Your Friends Use It?: This might be the most important thing to consider. Do your friends have their own Netflix account to integrate with these tools? Are they comfortable downloading a browser extension? Are they too lazy to make a free account on a video sharing website?
  • What Services Does it Work With?: If you want to watch Netflix or YouTube with your friends, then you have a lot of tools to choose from. But if you want to use other sources, like Hulu or a video on your hard drive, then you may have to settle between just one or two tools.
  • Video Chat or Text Chat: All of the tools in this article support text chat, but only a few of them support video chat. Keep in mind that you can use a separate video chat app while using any of these tools.
  • Syncing Local Video FilesGaze and SyncPlay allow you to sync local video files from your desktop. But they require that you and your friends have same video file on your computers. You may need to use a cloud service like Dropbox, an FTP client, or torrenting software to remote transfer your files between computers. You can also share local video by streaming your desktop over Kast, but your friends will experience a touch of lag.

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, let’s jump into it. Here are seven website and extensions to help you enjoy shows and movies with your faraway friends.

Quickly Share Netflix With Friends: Netflix Party

A screenshot of the Netflix Party website.
Netflix Party

Netflix Party is a fantastic video syncing tool that lets you quickly jump into Netflix viewing parties with your friends. The browser extension, which only works on Chrome, makes sure that everyone’s browser stays in-sync and that users can chat while watching shows and movies together.

Just know that everyone needs their own Netflix account to join a Netflix Party. And while Netflix Party doesn’t have any voice or video chatting features built-in, it can be used alongside any video chatting application.

Sync YouTube Videos and Local Files: Gaze

A screenshot of the Gaze website.
Gaze

Gaze is a straightforward video syncing tool that works with YouTube videos and local video files. It allows for voice or video chat and is fairly easy to set up. Just create a Gaze account, send a link to your friend (who also needs a Gaze account), and start watching!

The thing is, Gaze only allows for two viewers at a time. And order to watch local files on Gaze, both viewers need to have the same video file on their computer. You can transfer a copy of your favorite movie or show through a cloud storage service, like Dropbox, or through FTP and torrenting clients.

Share Anything With Friends: Kast

A screenshot of the Kast website.
Kast

The Kast video streaming tool (formerly known as Rabbit) allows you and your friends to share video from your desktop or webcam in real time. It’s an incredible piece of software, and it can be used to watch movies together, browse the web together, host a simple video chat, or livestream your PC games for friends to watch. Kast even has a built-in chatroom and can support more than 100 viewers per session.

Unlike the other tools on this list, Kast uploads your desktop for everyone to see. This means that your friends don’t need their own streaming subscriptions or copies of video files to watch shows with you. Sadly, this also means that video will be slightly out of sync across devices.

Share YouTube Without an Account: Watch2Gether

A screenshot of the Watch2Gether website.
Watch2Gether

Oh, your friends don’t want to download browser extensions or sign up for video syncing accounts? Watch2Gether is a YouTube sharing website that lets you and friends quickly jump into synchronized YouTube viewing sessions on the fly, no account required. Just make a room and share the link with your friends. Anyone can pick a video to watch or contribute to a playlist of videos for the room.

Watch2Gether has a built-in text chat, but it doesn’t have any video chatting features. Like the other items on this list, you can use it alongside your favorite video chatting software. Just make sure that everyone wears headphones if you’re watching music videos, otherwise you’ll run into annoying audio feedback.

Enjoy Music Videos Together: Plug.DJ

A screenshot of the Plug.DJ website.
Plug.dj

If your friend group likes to watch music videos together, then Plug.dj is the video syncing tool for you. Anyone can join Plug.dj, set up a room, and start queuing their favorite music videos from YouTube. Plug.dj also has public listening rooms to hang out with strangers and has customizable avatars and community features that are fun to mess around with.

Plug.dj has a built-in text chat but lacks any video chatting features. You can use it alongside your favorite video chatting tools, but you may want to wear headphones to prevent audio feedback.

Sync Local Files With Multiple Friends: SyncPlay

A screenshot of the SyncPlay app.
SyncPlay

If you and a few technically adept friends want to watch local video files together, then SyncPlay may stand as a solid alternative to Gaze or Kast. It’s a lightweight video syncing tool that allows you and your friends to sync media through MPV, VLC, MPC-HC, or MPC-BE video clients. It has text chatting built-in and works for more than two users at a time, provided that each user has a copy of the same video file.

SyncPlay is a fantastic and lightweight tool, but it may not be a comfortable option for less adept computer users. Its chatting function is pretty bare-bones, and setting up the software takes a bit of computer know-how. Still, it does its job and works with more than two users at a time.

Hang Out in a Virtual Living Room: Plex VR

A screenshot of a Plex VR chatroom.
Plex VR

Plex VR is a strange piece of software that provides you and three friends with a virtual movie theater. It connects to your Plex media server, so you can watch whatever movies and shows you like. And while it’s a bit difficult to set up, the Plex VR app is a lot of fun once everything up and running.

Of course, Plex VR isn’t a viable option for most people. Everyone in your friend group needs to own an Oculus Go, Samsung Gear VR, or Daydream View headset (the Daydream View is the cheapest option), and at least one person in your group needs to have their own Plex media server set up at home.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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