Most people prefer to use virtual browsers to watch movies and TV shows together with friends online because they're more reliable than video sync apps or screenshare, they allow any authorized users to take control, and they require the least hassle to set up and use.
If you’re looking to try out virtual browsing for your next watch party, then we recommend giving Tutturu’s free virtual browsers a try!
Watching movies and TV shows together with friends online is something more and more people have been looking to do as social distancing restrictions continue and work becomes more remote than ever before.
So how do you host the best watch parties possible with all the options available today? Let’s take a look at the most popular options for hosting watch parties and see why most people prefer to use virtual browsers to watch stuff together online.
Video Sync Apps
Who’s it for? Friends that primarily just want to watch a few short videos together on a popular site.
First up on the list are video sync websites and extensions. These applications require everyone to open up the same video in their own browsers, and then the app synchronizes the video players by overriding everyone’s video controls. You can think of it as an automated alternative to counting down from three and then pressing play.
Video sync applications can be great for quickly sharing a short video with a friend, or when all you plan to do is watch a public video on a popular site like YouTube. They’re also relatively simple to build, so you can typically expect to use them for free. However, video sync applications do have a few downfalls as well:
- Restrictive - They require everyone to have access to the content being streamed.
- Inflexible - They typically only sync content on a few specific websites.
- Unpredicable performance - Differing internet connections and personal computing can lead to video players pausing sporadically to re-synchronize everyone. Depending on the platform, you might fall out of sync without even knowing.
All in all, if you’re looking for a quick way to share short videos on popular sites, then video sync applications may be the way to go. However, if you’re looking to do more, then read on to learn about even better options that are available.
Who’s it for? Hosts who aren’t concerned about privacy, and have a very reliable internet connection.
Ah, good ol’ screen share. Screen share requires the host to access the video on their own computer and then upload a stream to everyone else in the party. While screen share is used in a variety of applications nowadays, some people figured out they could also use it to host watch parties!
Screen sharing can be a great option for watch parties when you want to stream videos that are stored locally on your computer, or when the host has a very good internet connection and a fast computer. However, as many people have probably experienced at some point—screen sharing does have its fair share of issues:
- Host-dependent - Screen sharing is never fun when the host has a poor internet connection—nobody likes a blurry and laggy stream. Since the entire watch party relies on them to stream the video this can lead to a variety of issues, as well as stress for the host!
- No multi-control - Sometimes your friend wants to take control of the screen to show you something, or maybe you need to run to the restroom. Most screen share applications lack multi-control support which means no restroom breaks!
- Lack of privacy - Ever leave an embarrassing tab open by mistake? Or maybe you forgot to turn off desktop notifications? Screen share streams everything from your monitor to everyone else in the party, so say bye bye to privacy during your watch party.
Overall, screen sharing apps can certainly get the job done—but a lot of the experience depends on the host and the quality of their internet connection and computer. For those that want the best experience possible, however, read on to learn about the next big thing when it comes to watch parties—Virtual Browsers.
Who’s it for? Anyone that wants the most dependable, interactive, and hassle-free watch party experience available today.
Lo and behold—the holy grail of watch party technology. Virtual browsers have become all the rage when it comes to hosting watch parties as they’re easy to use, they offer very precise video synchronization, and they let you pass around control of the browser.
Virtual browsers are essentially internet browsers that run on powerful remote servers that all members of the party can connect to. The server then uses its resources to stream the video in unison to every member of the party. The party host accidentally disconnects? No problem. Virtual browsers keep working, making them the most dependable watch party solution available today.
Because virtual browsers are...well...browsers, they’re capable of syncing any website. Want to watch TV shows? Check. Movies? Check. The big game? Check. Anything you can think of, virtual browsers have you covered.
Finally, you might be thinking that given all of the benefits of virtual browsers that they’re probably difficult to set up and use—but that isn’t the case! On the contrary, virtual browsers provide one of the easiest ways to host watch parties today.
So what’s the catch? While virtual browsers can provide a great watch party experience, the need for remote servers means that they can be expensive for the website owner to run. However, some virtual browsing services such as Tutturu provide free virtual browsers, along with a premium subscription if users want access to extra features. If you want to know what you’re missing out on, we highly recommend giving Tutturu's free tier a try.
Nowadays, watching movies and TV shows with friends online can be a super fun way to just kick back and chill, or even spend some quality time with loved ones while apart. To get the most out of your experience though, it’s important to know what watch party tech exists, and what type is best for you. While we may be a bit biased at Tutturu, it’s really a no-brainer to us and our hundreds of thousands of users—virtual browsing is the way to go.