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This free Chrome extension lets you watch HBO with your friends

Published May 14th, 2020 4:05PM EDT
HBO Watch Party
Image: Scener

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  • Scener is a free extension for Google Chrome that turns your browser into a virtual theater and lets you watch shows and movies while chatting with your friends remotely.
  • Scener previously only supported Netflix, but added support for HBO Go and HBO Now this week.
  • In order to watch shows and movies on HBO with Scener, everyone needs to have an account.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

One of the most distressing side effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been our inability to spend time with family and friends. As a result, people have been finding clever ways to virtually meet up, from Zoom game nights to online watch parties facilitated by apps and extensions that let us watch shows and movies together. One of the apps that makes these watch parties possible is called Scener, and as of this week, it now supports HBO.

Scener is a free browser extension for Chrome that initially only supported Netflix, but can now be used with HBO Go and HBO Now. Once you install the extension, you can synchronize playback on any show or movie on the supported platforms and watch in sync with your friends as you chat over audio, video, or text.

According to The Verge, WarnerMedia reached out to Scener shortly after stay-at-home orders started being issued throughout the US. The two companies started working together in March, and in addition to adding support for HBO Go and HBO Now, Scener also updated its website and the app itself. The app update resolved some major stability issues, making it run better on Chrome than it had in the past.

“To take part, every member of the theater will need to log in to the service you are watching together, i.e. Netflix or HBO NOW/HBO GO (HBO NOW users can watch together with HBO GO users),” the Scener team explains on their Chrome Web Store page. “Each viewer must (1) have an authorized account, in good standing, with the participating streaming services provider, (2) be logged in to their authorized account, and (3) otherwise be in compliance with the applicable streaming services provider’s Terms of Use.”

In other words, you can’t start streaming Game of Thrones on your laptop and share it with a group of friends that are not subscribed to HBO Go or HBO Now. It’s also worth noting that while Scener plans to expand to more platforms in the future, they “don’t have specifics to share today regarding HBO Max.”

“There are watershed moments in history where black swan events change human behavior; that couldn’t be more true for America right now,” Scener co-founder Joe Braidwood told The Verge. “This is one of the first milestones that starts tracking the new path of co-viewing becoming more than just a trend. We think the sky’s the limit.”

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.