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10 Best Apps and Sites for Watching Movies Together Online While Long Distance

Photo: Getty Images/F.J. Jimenez"
I think about When Harry Met Sally a lot. To be clear, I've always thought about the film a lot, but now that I'm trying to ideate new ways to feel closer to people with whom I can't share physical space, learning how to watch movies together online feels particularly apt.

Watching a film long distance isn't a new innovation, per se, as evidenced by When Harry Met Sally. As the two protagonists demonstrate, being able to watch movies together online (well, depending on how you define "online") simply requires two telephones and Casablanca on channel 11 in order to work. But it's not 1989 anymore, and streaming services and extensions are plentiful, so we blessedly have more options for being able to watch movies together long-distance. On the flip side, now that streaming services and extensions are plentiful, we have more options—and the last thing anyone needs right now is unnecessary exposure to decision fatigue.

Whether you're aiming to have a digital dinner-and-a-movie date with a friend or planning a long-distance date night with someone special, there are several different ways to accomplish it. Below you'll find 10 stellar ways to watch movies together online, broken down by the best ways to use each, whether you're in a long-distance relationship, casually dating via apps and FaceTime, or miss connecting with your cross-country friends.

How To Watch Movies and Shows With Someone While Long Distance

Picking out the virtual watch party site for your group depends on a few factors, including your preferred browser, what special features you'd like included (live chat, for example), and which streaming service you want to use. Check out our list below, where we get into the pros and cons of each site.

1. Teleparty

Teleparty quickly picked up steam as a popular tool that allows for watching movies together online. And, it's simple enough to use: Just download it as a Chrome extension, open a video or show (on Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, or Amazon Prime), click the "TP" icon in the right hand corner, and share the link with the friends you want to invite in order to get the party started. That party, to be clear, looks like a little chat room on the side of your video window.

Pros: It's a simple and clean interface that's easy to use and is perfect for introverts who spent much of their adolescence in chat rooms (ahem, not that I know from experience). Teleparty is great for watching movies together for sure, but it's perfect if you've been meaning to rewatch all of Community or finally check out the latest season of Stranger Things in a way that lets you share your reactions in real time.

Cons: Teleparty requires a Google Chrome extension, so if you have a friend who's married to Safari or Firefox, this option won't work optimally for your movie night.

2. TwoSeven

TwoSeven allows for group streaming from a multitude of streaming subscription services including Netflix, HBO Max, Vimeo, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, Apple TV, your personal videos, and more. You can also stream Hulu and Disney+ if you pony up for the paid feature as a premium version.

Pros: TwoSeven allows for extreme versatility of content. It's also webcam-friendly, which is great if you actually like seeing people's reactions.

Cons: It costs $3 a month and requires logging in for every viewing, which is an issue for me. (I'm just very low-commitment right now, and feel I'm probably not alone.) It's also worth noting that TwoSeven detects third-party videos by scanning your websites, so be mindful of what you're pulling up.

3. Scener

Scener is very similar to Teleparty, but it's a bit more souped up: It allows you to video chat with your friends and keep tabs in a chat room while watching movies together online. It also has a cute and whimsical layout, IMHO.

Pros: This is similar to Teleparty, but is more suited for extroverts. (So, it shares a lot of the same pros with Teleparty.) Plus, it also has a mobile app option; however, it only syncs with Roku streaming devices.

Cons: Likewise, it shares a lot of Teleparty’s cons, namely that it requires a Chrome extension.

4. Metastream

Metastream is a cozy jack-of-all-trades platform that allows you to get creative with media. It's an extension that works with both Chrome and Firefox (according to its FAQ, the latter is recommended), and it showcases three tabs: one with users, one that doubles as a watch list, and a third that's for chatting.

Pros: It has a sleek interface, is compatible with many platforms and services, and lets you build an actual queue of what you want to watch.

Cons: It is a little bit buggy, which isn't surprising given that it's still in beta. Developers are currently working out the kinks, but definitely keep Metastream as an option for watching movies online with friends in the future.

5. Gaze

Gaze is a YouTube-specific service that I can tell immediately has a really straightforward, user-friendly interface, which is a big win for me. For whatever reason, though, it wouldn't grant me video and audio access when I tried using it, even after I manually gave it permission. But it does have video and audio access, so you can theoretically see your viewing companion and the video at the same time.

Pros: It's a simple interface that's good for one-on-ones and virtual dates.

Cons: Well, stress on watching companion, no plural. You can only watch with one person at a time. And while I do love me some YouTube, it's kind of rare that I use it as my go-to streaming service for movies.

6. Watch2Gether

At a glance, it appears that Watch2Gether has an AOL interface with Gen-Z priorities. That's because it took me a hot second to figure out how to use it. The service focuses on more short-form streaming platforms, with the toolbar allowing users to toggle between sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion.

Pros: It offers plenty of viewing options for internet-specific video sources. I can see this being useful if you just want to share YouTube videos with each other while you're chatting. And, as a bonus, it is webcam compatible, so you can see your watch companion in real time.

Cons: If you're anything like me, Watch2Gether may confuse you and make you feel old.

7. Hulu Watch Party

If you’re a Hulu fan, Hulu Watch Party is the ideal way of watching movies together online. You can stream select movies and shows from Hulu’s library. Look for the Watch Party icon on the movie or show’s details page to see if it’s available. Hulu Watch Party is currently only available as a web browser option. However, you can also use an iOS or tvOS device with SharePlay to stream movies while on a FaceTime call, which is pretty cool.

Pros: If you’re already a Hulu subscriber and know your way around the interface, you’ll have no problem using Hulu Watch party. Once you find the show or movie you want to watch on a supported web browser, click ‘Start the Party’ and select the chain icon to copy the link and send it to your watching buddies.

Cons: Every participant must have a Hulu account, and there is a max of eight participants, so it’s not ideal if you’re wanting to gather a larger group.

8. Disney+ GroupWatch

If Disney, Marvel, or Star Wars movies are more your jam, Disney+ GroupWatch may be the best streaming option for you. A total of seven people can join the party and you can share emojis in real time as you react to whatever you’re watching. Similar to Hulu Watch Party, Disney+ GroupWatch allows you to stream during a FaceTime call using SharePlay on iOS devices.

Pros: GroupWatch gives you the option of watching on a web browser or the Disney+ app. And, if you have Disney+ connected to your TV, you can also watch it on there for the ultimate moving watching experience.

Cons: All participants must have a Disney+ subscription and you need to be in the same country or region. So, unfortunately, watching a movie online with your bestie who lives on the other side of the world won’t be an option.

9. Hearo

Looking for an app to watch movies with friends? Hearo is a good option to try, which supports 35 streaming services including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, ESPN, YouTube, and more. In other words, you’ve got lots of options. It’s available to download in both the Apple and Google Play Store.

Pros: You can have up to 50 people join the watch party, so this one is great for bigger groups, or as the app calls them, “super watch parties.”

Cons: With this app, you can’t see the people you’re watching movies with, which may be a con for some. But, you can talk and text throughout.

10. Kast

Kast earns a spot on this list of best places to watch movies long-distance thanks to its versatility. You can screen share, talk, text, and video chat. You can watch on most devices including phones and desktops. You can even host public watch parties if you’re into that, but you must get verified first.

Pros: Kast is another good option for bigger groups. You can have up to 20 people share their screen or camera. Plus, another 100 folks can log on and just watch.t

Cons: The app is free to use and allows you to browse their library of content. However, the nifty features like screen sharing whatever you want to watch from any streamer, no ads, HD streaming, and picture-in-picture are only part of the paid subscriptions.

Virtual Watch Party Tips

Now that you know where and how to watch movies together long-distance with friends and family, the next goal: turn it into a full-on experience. Just because you’re hanging out virtually, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it special.

To start, come up with a theme for the occasion. Maybe you’re rewatching Game of Thrones and the virtual watch party invite encourages everyone to dress up in costumes. Or, perhaps a girl power movie or show theme like Sex and the City or 10 Things I Hate About You is more your vibe.

And don’t forget the most important element of any IRL or virtual movie watching sesh: the food and drinks. You can shop for the best popcorn maker for movie snacks, which will last for many more movie nights to come. Pro tip: try a vegan cheese popcorn recipe that’s just as addictive as the movie theater version. To drink, you can’t go wrong with a low-sugar amaro cream cocktail with Baileys-infused whipped cream. Or, if you want something non-alcoholic and a little more cozy, an extra special gold milk recipe makes for a great movie-watching companion.

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