You can get great joy from sharing a YouTube video with friends. However, what’s even better is being able to watch it with them.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible, especially if you live apart. So, in this article, we have compiled a list of ways to watch YouTube together with your friends.
As well as helping you watch YouTube together, these services help you sync playback so that you and your friends are watching the same thing at the same time.
Watch2Gether is an excellent way to watch YouTube with others because it doesn’t require you to register for an account. You simply create a room and can then send the URL out so your friends can join.
Use the search function at the top to find a video or paste in a specific YouTube link. You can also use the chat function to talk to everyone, which is helpful to keep the viewing and talking in one place.
SyncTube has a simple interface, but it works perfectly for group watching YouTube videos. Create a room and you can immediately start watching YouTube videos. Search for a video or paste in a URL using the bar at the top. Any new video will automatically be added to the room’s playlist.
You can also control the room’s privacy and set user permissions; this means you can stop random people joining and do things like stop your friends accidentally skipping videos.
Sync Video puts you in control of your own room, which you can invite others to by sharing the link. Simply pop a YouTube URL in the field on the right and click Play to begin. Any videos added after will be placed into a playlist.
A great feature of Sync Video is that you can enable Pause on buffering, which pauses the stream for everyone if anyone’s internet connection is causing their video to lag.
In order to use twoseven, you and your friends need to create a free account, but doing so is well worth it.
As well as being able to sync a YouTube video for everyone in the room, twoseven also has the ability for everyone to share their webcam and microphone. This means that you can all watch a video simultaneously and see and hear everyone at the same time. This is wonderful for keeping that personal connection even over long distances.
&chill offers something unique compared to other services that let you watch YouTube together. It boasts all the usual features you would expect—private rooms, the ability to paste YouTube URLs in to add them to a playlist, a text chat—but it has an interesting user interface.
You choose your seat in a virtual cinema and it re-positions the video based on that. Don’t worry, you can still set the video to full screen if that sounds lame. Also, you can chat to your friends via microphone.
To get started with myCircle.tv, just pop a YouTube URL into the field on the homepage and the site will create a room. The interface is separated into tabs where you can see users, past videos played, and upcoming videos. You’ll have a YouTube watch party up and running in no time.
There’s a chat box for written conversation, but perhaps more useful for friends is the ability for audio chats. Watching long YouTube movies with your friends and chatting at the same time is almost as good as having them over for a watch party. Handily, you can also see how much of the video others have preloaded to help overcome any buffering issues.
Metastream offers a modern design that is easy to get to grips with. You don’t even need to leave the site or miss whatever is playing when you want to add a video to the playlist, since you can browse YouTube from within Metastream itself.
Apart from the sidebar that features a user list, playlist rundown, and text chat, the video takes up all the screen, which is especially great for when you want to watch cinematic YouTube videos with friends.
The only downside to Metastream is that you need to install a browser extension, but doing so is quick, easy, and free.
So far, these services have all been created with the purpose of watching YouTube videos together in sync with friends.
However, you could also use a video conferencing tool with screen sharing abilities to get the job done. In this scenario, you and your friends would join a virtual meeting. Then one person would share their screen to the group so that everyone can watch.
Unlike the other services that play the video locally for each individual, this solution means that only one person is playing the video—ideally whoever has the strongest internet connection.
You can find suitable software for this in our round-up of free screen-sharing tools.
Troubleshooting Common Video Sync Issues
Although your YouTube viewing party should go off without a hitch, you might suffer some technical issues.
First, try refreshing the page. You’ll miss a couple of seconds of the video, but a lot of the time a simple refresh can clear up any problems. Don’t worry, it won’t interrupt the stream for everyone else in the room.
If your video is constantly stuttering or buffering, lower the quality of the stream. This will reduce the resolution, so the video might appear more pixelated. However, that’s better than the video constantly stopping in order to load more.
Also, if the service supports webcams and microphones, you could try disabling one or both of them. This is because webcams and mics use up bandwidth which could be better served on the YouTube video itself.
Finally, ad-blockers can cause problems with synchronization. Some services won’t work at all if you run one, so disable any you have running. Also, many YouTube videos will be supported by mid-roll ads. If you have an ad-blocker and your friend doesn’t, the stream will be out of sync after the ad has played.
How to Watch Videos With Friends Far Away
As you can see above, there are plenty of services designed to let you watch YouTube videos with your friends. Give them all a quick try to see which you like the most. As a bonus, they are all free to use. So your preference will boil down to which UI and features you prefer.
If you want to stream a movie rather than a YouTube video, many streaming services like Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix have official and third-party group watch features, so you can enjoy movies in sync with your friends.
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